THE LORRAINE CAMPAIGN. By Hugh M. Cole. (1950, 1984; 657 pages, 50 maps, 67 illustrations, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 76.)
This volume narrates the operations of the U.S. Third Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., during the autumn of 1944 when that army was weakened by a lengthy pursuit and taut supply lines and faced an enemy who was rapidly recovering behind strong natural and artificial barriers. The iron hand which logistics sometimes imposes on tactical operations is in evidence throughout the narrative. Like other operational volumes dealing with the European theater, The Lorraine Campaign is organized into chapters at corps level and written primarily at division level. When action at a lower level was decisive or particularly illustrative, the narrative descends to regiment, battalion, company, and sometimes to platoon and squad level. Concurrent operations of Allied and of other U.S. armies are sketched in as necessary for a complete understanding of the Third Army's story. Companion volumes recount in full the concurrent campaigns of the First and Ninth Armies (The Siegfried Line Campaign) and of the Seventh Army (Riviera to the Rhine). The story of command and decision at levels higher than army headquarters is told only where it had a direct bearing on the fighting in Lorraine, as, for example, General Eisenhower's decision to halt the Third Army at the Meuse River at the start of September while he concentrated his strained resources in support of the First Army on another axis of advance (Ch. I).
Despite General Patton's long-lived optimism that he could gain the Rhine in one quick thrust, this volume indicates that even in early September the Germans were amassing strength sufficient to delay an overextended attacker for a long time behind such barriers as the flooded Moselle River; the historic forts ringing Metz, capital of Lorraine; and the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. This is the story of the slow, plodding operations that developed in the forests and among the rolling hills of Lorraine from early September until the Third Arrny on 18 December was turned north to assist the First Army in the Ardennes.
A parallel account from the enemy side puts the American operations in proper perspective. The volume contains also an analytical description of the decisions of commanders at army, corps, and division levels that provided the framework of the tactical operations. Historical perspective is enhanced by frequent reference to earlier campaigning over this same terrainin in 1870, 1914-18,and 1940.
1. Multiple crossings of a defended river line on an army front (Chs.
II, III, VIII).
2. Assault of a fortified city (Metz) (Chs. III, VI, VIII, IX).
3. Assaults of strongly fortified lines-Maginot (Ch. X) and Siegfried (Ch. XIII)- in the latter case a line behind a river.
4. Tank fighting:
a. Against a counterattack in force (Ch. V).
b. In an army offensive (Chs. VIII, X).
c. In the assault of a fortified line (Ch. XII).
(Note: b.and c. are examples of armor operating under adverse conditions of weather and soil trafficability
5. Street fighting (Chs. VIII, IX).
6. Air support of ground operations (see Index: "Air support").
7. German armor versus American (Ch. XIV; for German armor, see also "Panzer formations" in Index under "German units").
8. Armored task forces in limited objective attacks (see especially Ch. VII).
9. Artillery support (see Index: "Artillery").
10. Engineer (see Index: "Bridges; Engineer") and smoke generator units in support of river crossings. (For a more detailed account of the Moselle crossing at Arnaville, see Three Battles: Arnaville, Altuzzo, and Schmidt.)
11. Operations in adverse conditions of weather and soil (mud, cold, rain, and floods) (see Index: "Floods; Mud; Terrain; Weather").
12. Forest fighting (see Index: "Woods fighting").
13. Command problems: German (see Index: "OB WEST; Oberkommando der Wehrmacht [OKW]").
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