by: Darren Baker [ ]
This book covering the Americans from Ardennes to VE Day is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subject mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information.
The following portion of the review is as provided by Pen and Sword:
The third and final volume of the Author’s Americans in North-west Europe series covers the historic period December 1944 to May 1945.
Launched in December 1944, the Nazis’ Ardennes offensive, known as the Battle of the Bulge, was one of the most dangerous periods of the War. During six weeks of desperate fighting, more US soldiers were killed, wounded or reported missing than in any battle in American history.
The Rhine was crossed in March 1945, first by the seizure of the railway bridge at Remagen and then by the combined American, British and Canadian ground and airborne operation codenamed Varsity. In the closing stages of the War, the western allies pushed remorselessly in the heart of Germany. Shocking evidence of Nazi atrocities was uncovered.
Berlin fell to the Russians in early May and the Allies met up on the River Elbe. In the chaos that followed, Germany was divided into four zones of occupation. The immediate tasks were ensuring the survival of the civilian population, establishing law and order, and the capture of war criminals.
In true Images of War style, this book graphically describes the magnificent role played by US forces under General Eisenhower’s overall command.
This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book titled ‘The Americans from Ardennes to VE Day' has been authored by Brooke S Blades; this offering from Brooke S Blades is the third title in this series he has authored and as I understand the last of the line covering the specific subject covering the Americans from Ardennes to VE Day. The contents of this title are provided over 256 pages of good quality semi gloss paper and 250 images.
The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – The Winter Offensive
Chapter 2 – The Ardennes Winter
Chapter 3 – Advance to the Rhine
Chapter 4 – Varsity
Chapter 5 – The Allies in Germany
Chapter 6 – Aftermath
This title as part of the Images at War series offers a mix of content which may interest you to different degrees. The battles in the Ardennes area are an aspect that I have particular interest in, where as the Varsity offensive does not really appeal to me. My point here is not that one chapter is better than another, but your personal interests will decide the value of this title to you as a whole.
The photographs are a well chosen selection of high quality considering how long ago the images were taken. I will say that a considerable number of the images are offerings I am already familiar with, but that does not bother me much as it is always helpful to have them in one place together. The captions are well written and informative regardless of whether they are covering atrocities or the lighter side of life such as a GI playing the part of Saint Nicholas.
The areas where executions are covered in the book have been tackled with consideration both as regards the civilian and American forces murders. The images do show the aftermath of these incidents but are not shock value images. Perhaps the images that will shock are those of both American and German forces that have frozen to death and like fire one of the worst ways to go. What you can say for them regardless of the side they were on they stayed at their posts in a effort to keep their mates alive.
The author has provided quite a lot of text in this offering which is unusual. The author has done a good job of covering what he intended in short order and while he has had to keep it short I found it clear, precise and informative; if I had to fault it then it would be that the need to get the information across in limited space makes it a little matter of fact in some instances. While I have concentrated on the areas I found most appealing the author has done an equally good job throughout.
This offering from Pen and Sword and authored by Brooke S Blades follows the US military through the Ardennes to the end of the war in Europe and so covers highs and lows of the war as it affected US forces. The text is worth taking the time to read if you want an idea of what was happening and when. The photographs are a mix of ones I have seen on several occasions to some I have never seen before; those showing just how much damage can be done to a Sherman would make you want to be infantry.