Closing with the Enemy: How GIS Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945

Overview

"The best single book I have ever read on the GI and his officers. Destined to become a military classic."—Stephen E. Ambrose, author of D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

"Doubler demands persuasively that we show renewed respect for the prowess of the American Army of 1944-1945. All students of the war should read this book."—Russell F. Weigley, author of Eisenhower's Lieutenants

"A unique analysis of how American combat troops improvised battle ...

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Overview

"The best single book I have ever read on the GI and his officers. Destined to become a military classic."—Stephen E. Ambrose, author of D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

"Doubler demands persuasively that we show renewed respect for the prowess of the American Army of 1944-1945. All students of the war should read this book."—Russell F. Weigley, author of Eisenhower's Lieutenants

"A unique analysis of how American combat troops improvised battle techniques in unexpected and extremely difficult battlefield situations. Doubler's operational coverage is excellent, his writing flows, and his argument is significant not only for the 1944-45 campaigns in northwest Europe, but also for the entire war and even for warfare in general."—Martin Blumenson, author of The Patton Papers

"An important contribution to our understanding of innovation in the U.S. Army under the deadly pressure of combat. It provides new and important insights about the importance of having talented, creative soldiers who can solve problems and adjust to unexpected demands in battle."—Robert A. Doughty, author of The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940

Author Biography: Lieutenant Colonel Michael D. Doubler serves in the office of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and has taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Countering the widely held belief that U.S. forces in Europe-often viewed as inferior to their German counterparts-prevailed in WWII because of a preponderance of material resources, Doubler's study reveals that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's divisions had to overcome substantial shortages of personnel and material. Their success, he demonstrates, was due largely to their coordinated use of infantry, tanks, artillery, air power and military engineers. Tracing their advance from Normandy into Germany, Doubler's clear account shows how the Army's tactics validated then-current doctrines while at the same time the troops learned how to apply new principles of combined-arms warfare. His main argument-that U.S. Army forces in Europe were more effective than is generally recognized-is convincing. One chapter analyzes the publications of notable military writers Russell Weigley, Martin Van Creveld and S.L.A. Marshall, whose views differ from his. Doubler has taught at West Point and is currently stationed at Army headquarters in Washington, D.C. Illustrations. (Dec.)
Library Journal
For years, the traditional view has been that U.S. ground forces defeated the veteran German Wehrmacht only because of enormous American resources and massive firepower. Doubler, a professional military scholar and West Point instructor, takes a contrary position: America's wartime army prevailed because it was innovative and supremely adaptable, able to learn from its mistakes and quickly revise its tactics. Doubler's view is persuasive; he presents example after example of units absorbing combat lessons in the midst of battle and changing their strategy while under fire. This important book is a watershed in critical thinking that will be cited for years to come. Fluently written and beautifully detailed, it is essential for a complete understanding of American operations in World War II. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Edwards AFB, Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700606757
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
Acknowledgments
Glossary
Introduction 1
1 Lessons Learned in the North African and Mediterranean Campaigns 10
2 Busting the Bocage 31
3 The Air-Ground Battle Team 63
4 Battles of Buildings and Cobblestones 87
5 Struggles against Steel and Concrete 110
6 In Spite of Hell and High Water 141
7 Confusion and Slaughter among the Firs 172
8 Defense in the Ardennes 198
9 The American Soldier 227
10 The Schoolhouse of War 265
Appendix A U.S. Army Organization and Weaponry 301
Appendix B U.S. Army Doctrine and Tactics 304
A Note on Sources 307
Notes 313
Bibliography 335
Index 343
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