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Item No. ABJ-8913
The Final Crisis
Combat in Northern Alsace, January 1945


by Richard Engler

Contrary to all-too-popular misconception, the last German offensive in the West in WWII was not the Ardennes Offensive, the so-called "Battle of the Bulge." After the tumult and shock of the Germans' great thrust to split the Americans from the Anglo-Canadian armies in the north, there was still one last great trial to be faced, one Final Crisis.

The Final Crisis is a rare account and insightful analysis of the fierce combat in Lower Alsace during Operation NORDWIND in January 1945. From an hour before the last New Year's Day of the war until late January, this quiet, culturally-ambiguous corner of northeastern France was rent by a vicious attack intended to physically and politically split the French from the western Alliance. Ultimately involving five German and two American corps, some of the finest remaining German formations were thrown into this last toss of the dice against American units ranging from the highly-experienced 45th "Thunderbird" Infantry Division to the completely green, incompletely-trained all-infantry "task forces" of the 42d, 63rd, and 70th Infantry Divisions. Dangerously overextended to facilitate the adjacent Third Army's drive to relieve the pressure in the Ardennes "Bulge," some Seventh Army units held, many bent, and an exceptional few even broke as the savage German drive came painfully close to driving a geographic and political wedge between the Americans in the north and their French allies in the south. In terrain varying from the crags and deep ravines of the frozen Vosges Mountains, to the concrete and steel fortresses of the Maginot Line, to the icy, snow-decked Rhine plain, the soldiers of the often-overlooked Seventh Army absorbed and finally broke the best the Germans could offer, in a dramatic and dynamic series of battles that were in many ways overshadowed by the previous month's events in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Beyond the author's outstanding combat narrative and analysis however, The Final Crisis conveys thoughtful and provocative perceptions in other ways. This is a subtle-and thoroughly professional-study of a group of Americans thrown together all too briefly before deployment overseas, and the corollary impact of the brutal shock of combat to their fragile, embryonic primary group. Although the author devotes a great deal of effort to vividly recounting combat at the squad and platoon levels, there is much more to The Final Crisis than a "training to combat" war story.
Size: 8.5"x11", Soft cover, 362 pages, 20 photos, 20 maps.

Price: $29.95




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