The Falaise Pocket Normandy 1944 - Casemate Illustrated series

The Falaise Pocket Normandy 1944 - Casemate Illustrated series

ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
Yves Buffetaut is a renowned French World War II historian, and the author of many volumes in the Militaria series for Histoire & Collections, several of which have now been translated into English in the Casemate Illustrated series. Many of his books have been reviewed on Army Rumour Service, by your Reviewer.

Buffetaut starts this book in much the same way as he does in his other works, with a timeline of events leading up to, during and after Falaise. Many historians give the results in Normandy as an overwhelming Allied military success, but Buffetaut tells of the anger of Montgomery and others that so many the German Army were able to escape unharmed! On 31 July 1944, British VIII Corps started Operation Bluecoat and successfully drove German Armour southward towards Falaise-Argentan and the U.S. 4th Armoured Division captured Avranches and over 20,000 enemy troops! A week later, Montgomery ordered the U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies, British 2nd Army and Canadian 1st Army to converge on the Falaise-Chambliss region to start the entitlement of the German Army Group B.

By the end of the Second week, 17 August, the Germans started withdrawing from the Falaise area. Two days later, the Allies linked up at Chambois but German counterattacks forced gaps in the allied lines, allowing thousands of Germans to escape. By 21 August however, the Falaise pocket is sealed. Over 60,000 German troops are trapped and neutralized, along with 500 tanks and assault guns destroyed. At the end of August 1944, the remains of Army Group B retreated across the Seine, allowing Paris to be liberated and the Normandy Campaign officially ended.

In his usual style, Buffetaut tell us how it really was. He uses excellent black and white pictures of the men and the machines dealing equally with Allies and Germans alike. The usual high quality, personality profiles include: FM Gunther von Kluge (G), Lt-Gen. Guy Simonds (Can), Gen Hans Eberbach (G), Gen Wade Haislip (US), Lt-Gen Brian Horrocks (UK) and Gen Eugen Meindl (G).

Coloured Vehicle and equipment profiles include: Jabos, Allied Aviation (P51D, P47, Typhoon 1D), German Tanks (Panzer IV H, Tiger, Panther G), American Artillery (M12 155mm, 105mm, M4 Sherman), German Aviation (FW190, Me Bf 109 G6, Ju 88 G1), British Tanks (Cromwell, Sherman M4A4, M5A1 Stuart), German Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled Artillery (StuG-IV, Puma 234/2, StuG III G), American Vehicles (M3 Half-track, Willys Jeep, M8 Armoured Car) and finally German Tanks, Artillery and Vehicles (Tiger II, Steyr RSO, 21cm K18 Kanone).

This book is packed with information of use to the Historian and the Modeller and I recommend it to anyone studying this important area of modern-history.

Rating: A very good four and a half stars.

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