General Jacob Devers: World War II's Forgotten Four Star

By John A. Adams | Go to book overview

THIRTEEN
Cross the Rhine?

DWIGHT EISENHOWER WAS NOT IMPRESSED BY THE RESULTS that the 6th Army Group posted in October 1944. From 15 August to the end of September, the Seventh Army had advanced 400 miles, from St. Tropez to Rambervillers. Total advance for October and early November amounted to only 15 miles.1 Operation Dogface, the attack into the Vosges toward Saint-Dié, was a clever tactical move. At the operational level, as far as SHAEF was concerned, it was an attack in the wrong direction, but that really didn’t matter. Eisenhower wanted the Seventh Army to advance west of the Vosges from Sarrebourg north toward the Siegfried Line in close support of George Patton’s attack. Thus, it is a wonder that SHAEF approved Dogface, an attack east into the Vosges Mountains. Apparently Eisenhower wrote it off as a tactical move designed to anchor the Seventh Army’s right flank in the Vosges and tie down some Germans. Jacob Devers and Sandy Patch had done little to support Patton’s efforts in Lorraine since clearing the Parroy Forest on the Third Army’s southern flank near Baccarat. Fixated on the Rhine, Devers did not fully recognize the gap between his vision and SHAEF’s limited approval. The official history states that Eisenhower doubted that Devers’s command could make any major contribution to the Allied advance in November.2 This frame of mind is important in understanding Devers’s motivation in several significant, subsequent decisions.

Perhaps Eisenhower’s eye was too jaundiced. The main theater effort up north around Aachen and in the Hürtgen Forest mounted by Courtney Hodges under Omar Bradley’s close supervision resulted in bloody deadlock. Horrible losses were incurred there with virtually no

-233-

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General Jacob Devers: World War II's Forgotten Four Star
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue 3
  • One - Early Years 5
  • Two - The Interwar Years 21
  • Three - Marshall Recognizes Devers 35
  • Four - Chief of Armored Force 52
  • Five - The Debate over Doctrine 72
  • Six - Commander, Eto 94
  • Seven - Deputy Supreme Commander, Mto 118
  • Eight - The French and a Southern Front 140
  • Nine - Dragooned 157
  • Ten - Up the Rhône Valley 176
  • Eleven - An End to Champagne 193
  • Twelve - Into the Cold Vosges 216
  • Thirteen - Cross the Rhine? 233
  • Fourteen - Throw Down at Vittel and Its Aftermath 261
  • Fifteen - Nordwind Strikes Devers 290
  • Sixteen - The Colmar Pocket Finally Collapses 315
  • Seventeen - Undertone to Austria 334
  • Eighteen - Postwar 372
  • Epilogue 390
  • Notes 395
  • Bibliography 419
  • Index 425
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