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.