Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possibleby John C. McManus
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In December 1944, when the Germans launched their last-ditch offensive now known as theBattle of the Bulge, they badly needed to capture the Belgian city of Bastogne as a communicationscenter, supply depot, and springboard for their drive to Antwerp. The city's defense by the 101st Airborne is often cited as the battle's most desperate and dramatic episode, but these heroics never could have happened if notfor the unsung efforts of a ragtag, batteredcollection of American soldiers who absorbed the brunt of the German offensive first along the Ardennes frontier east of Bastogne.
Alamo in the Ardennes tells the powerful,poignant, yet little-known story of the bloody delaying action fought by the 28th InfantryDivision, elements of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions, and other, smaller units. Outnumbered at times by as much as ten to one,outgunned by Hitler's dreaded panzers, and with no hope of reinforcement, they bore the full fury of the Nazi onslaught for five days, making the Germans pay for every icy inch of ground they gained.
Author John McManus reveals that the original German battle plan allowed only two days for the capture of Bastogne. Had the Germans achieved their objective on time, Hitler would have gained a vital foothold in his quest to split the Allied armies in two.
This stirring narrative follows three distinct groups of American soldiers who held up the Germans during those five brutal days. From December 16 through December 18,the 28th Infantry Division fought ferociouslyin a series of little Luxembourg towns. On December 19, the soldiers of Combat Command R of the 9th Armored Division sacrificed themselves at several small, but important, road junctions less than ten miles from Bastogne. They did this to buy a few hours for American commanders to reinforce the outskirts of Bastogne. Then, on December 19 and 20, soldiers from the 101st AirborneDivision and Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division successfully held off the powerful German attempts to capture the city.
An appalling number of the soldiers who destroyed the German battle plan were themselves destroyed in the furious struggle. But their gallant efforts stalled the advance long enough to allow the 101st Airborne to reach and fully occupy Bastogne and prepare for the ferocious attack to come.
Featuring numerous helpful maps and a complete list of the soldiers, local civilians, and German commanders whose actions it recounts, Alamo in the Ardennes provides a compelling, day-by-day account of this pivotal moment in America's greatest war.
- Turner Publishing Company
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- First Edition
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- 6.48(w) x 9.53(h) x 1.18(d)
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What People are saying about this
--Alex Kershaw, author of The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon
"John McManus has deftly woven a wide range of previously untapped sources into a dramatic and finely detailed account of events that set the stage for the successful defense of Bastogne during the Ardennes Counteroffensive. In doing so, McManus pays a long overdue and heartfelt tribute to the brave men of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Combat Command R, 9th Armored Division, and CCB, 10th Armored Division without detracting from the epic stand of the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Airborne Division."
--Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mark J. Reardon, U.S. Army Historian and Author of Victory at Mortain
"A comprehensive and vivid account of the heroic defense of Bastogne, the linchpin in the Battle of Bulge. With a scholar's precision and a writer's keen eye for the telling detail, John C. McManus has taken a great old story and made it new again."
--Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and the bestselling In the Company of Soldiers.
"I have read hundreds of books about men in battle but seldom have I seen one that comes close to the intensity that John McManus achieves in Alamo in the Ardennes. To an unparalleled degree, his amazing research has enabled him to get inside the minds and hearts of dozens of soldiers, from generals to privates. This is a book that will become one of the classics of the literature of World War II combat."
--Thomas Fleming author of The New Dealers' War: FDR and the War Within World War II
"John McManus shines a light on the lesser-known battles that made the historic defense of Bastogne possible. His excellent research puts the reader on the icy battlefields of Belgium where threadbare American retrograde fighting frustrated Hitler’s last offensive in the west."
--Kevin M. Hymel, author of Patton’s Photographs
"Alamo of the Ardennes" reveals the largely unknown story of how small bands of American soldiers turned the tide during the early stages of Battle of Bulge. Through the words of the men, McManus weaves a brilliant story of courage and sacrifice. This definitive and eminently readable history is destined to be a classic among Bulge histories."--Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah and Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne Reveal the Heart of Combat.
Meet the Author
JOHN C. MCMANUS is the author of several books on World War II.He is a professor of military history at the University of Missouri-Rolla and a member of the editorial board at WWII magazine.
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