It has generally been assumed by historians of the Second World War that the Americans were caught completely unawares by the last great German Offensive - the drive into the Ardenees in December, 1944, known as the Battle of the Bulge.
But were they in fact caught unawares? In this remarkable reappraisal of those hectic days which preceded the last Christmas of the War, Charles Whiting argues that the answer is very probably that they were not. Which immediately poses the question: 'if the Americans knew that the Germans were coming, why didn't they reinforce the troops on the weakly held Ardennes sector of the front line?' Why indeed!
What is certain is that ever since the end if the Second World War the guardians of the files relating to the Battle of the Bulge in the United States have been most unwilling to permit any examination thereof - this is spite of the Freedom of Information Act. So the author raises yet another question: 'Was somebody trying to cover something up and if so why?'
On the basis of such information as he has been able to cull from those, as yet unsorted, files and on information provided by the numerous survivors of the battle with whom he has been in contact, Charles Whiting attempts to answer these questions, and in so doing suggests that, if and when all the information relating to the Battle of the Bulge is made available, a serious reappraisal of that brief but bloody campaign, in which thousands of young American soldiers lost their lives at a time when many regarded the war as virtually won, may be required.
About the Author
Born in the Bootham area of York, England, he was a pupil at the prestigious Nunthorpe Grammar School, leaving at the age of 16 to join the British Army by lying about his age. Keen to be in on the wartime action, Whiting was attached to the 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment and by the age of 18 saw duty as a sergeant in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany in the latter stages of World War II. While still a soldier, he observed conflicts between the highest-ranking British and American generals which he would write about extensively in later years.
After the war, he stayed on in Germany completing his A-levels via correspondence course and teaching English before being enrolled at Leeds University reading History and German Language. As an undergraduate he was afforded opportunities for study at several European universities and, after gaining his degree, would go on to become an assistant professor of history. Elsewhere, Whiting held a variety of jobs which included working as a translator for a German chemical factory and spells as a publicist, a correspondent for The Times and feature writer for such diverse magazines as International Review of Linguistics, Soldier and Playboy.
His first novel was written while still an undergraduate, was published in 1954 and by 1958 had been followed by three wartime thrillers. Between 1960 and 2007 Charles went on to write over 350 titles, including 70 non-fiction titles covering varied topics from the Nazi intelligence service to British Regiments during World War II.
Charles Henry Whiting, author and military historian died on July 24 2007, leaving his wife and son.