- Michael Collins & Martin King
The critical battle spans 13 days and a small geographic area. The 10th Armoured Division were part of 3rd US Army and were sent North to block Bastogne with their forward elements. Unit insignia were ordered to be obscured on vehicles and resupply was hasty as troops started to move North. Much has been written of the role of the 101st Airborne Division and this book attempts to fill in the details of the other defenders of Bastogne. The 10th Armoured Division were part of Patton's 3rd Army , they were a war time formation and were the first US division to sail from the US direct to France (Cherbourg 23rd September).November saw their first combat. The division saw brisk fighting near Metz but were still one of Patton's less experienced formations.
As the German offensive was unleashed in December Patton was already anticipating Eisenhower's orders and preparing units to swing axis and move North.10th division was ordered to cover or remove insignia on those units being moved for security reasons. Bastogne would be a key point in an area of poor roads and the Airborne units assigned to its defence were light on heavy weapons. The German commanders were under no illusions as to the need to capture Bastogne in order to move forwards before allied forces could be placed to block their advance.
This book vividly portrays the battle with a series of interviews, medal citations and after action reviews. These are well attributed in the end notes, together with some brief statistics and a list of staff roles. The style should appeal to the general reader as well as military readers and there are good maps and illustrations. Martin King is a military guide and lecturer while Michael Collins is historian to the 10th Armoured Division veterans chapter.
The 10th Division has probably received less acclaim than it might since it was a wartime formation and also the censorship of it's role in the early part of the battle. Most of the books on their role are out of print so this book is a useful addition on the subject.
Cover price is £14.99 in paperback and there are some hardback copies on Amazon from £18.95. Kindle edition £5.19