From the Normandy Beaches to the Baltic Sea: The Northwest Europe Campaign, 1944-1945

By Alan J. Levine | Go to book overview

4
The Fall Fighting on the German Frontier

The capture of Antwerp and the battle of the Mons pocket marked the high point of the Allied pursuit, which was already slowing down as September began. The day Antwerp fell marked the low point for the Germans. There was a huge hole between the nearly trapped Fifteenth Army and the bulk of Army Group B, and yet another gap yawned between Army Group B and the forces fleeing southern France. There were widespread signs of panic and disintegration. The French, Belgians, and Dutch watched with pleasure as near-hysterical Germans (mostly rear-area troops) and collaborators fled. As the German historian Walter Goerlitz later wrote, there were scenes that "no one would ever have deemed possible in the German army. Naval troops marched northward without weapons, selling their spare uniforms to the French as they went. They told people that the war was over and they were going home. Lorries loaded with officers, their mistresses and large quantities of champagne and brandy got back as far as the Rhineland." 1 At Metz, some men deserted, Nazi officials fled, and supply depots were mistakenly destroyed.

Unfortunately, this mood did not last.


THE GERMAN RECOVERY BEGINS

Quite apart from the growing shortage of supply, which allowed the Allies to advance with only part of their forces, and then in spurts, the German situation was not as bad as it looked, at least in the short run. (In the long run, to be sure, it was even worse than it seemed.) It was not just the supply situation that prevented the Allies from simply

-103-

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From the Normandy Beaches to the Baltic Sea: The Northwest Europe Campaign, 1944-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Prelude, Planning, Preparation 1
  • 2 - The Normandy Beachhead 51
  • 3 - The Liberation of Western Europe 77
  • 4 - The Fall Fighting on the German Frontier 103
  • 5 - The German Counteroffensives in the Ardennes and Alsace 145
  • 6 - The March to Victory, January-May 1945 169
  • Notes 205
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 225
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