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Falaise: The Flawed Victory: The Destruction of Panzergruppe West August 1944 [Hardcover]

Anthony Tucker-Jones

Price: CDN$ 36.16 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 1 2008
The destruction of the trapped German forces in the Falaise pocket in August 1944 is one of the most famous episodes of the Normandy campaign. But myths have grown up around accounts of the battle, and its impact on the course of the war is sometimes misunderstood. In this meticulously researched and perceptive study Anthony Tucker-Jones dispels misconceptions about the battle, describes the combat in graphic detail and reassesses the outcome in the context of the campaign to liberate Europe. He takes a broad view of the sequence of operations that culminated in the battle at Falaise, tracing the course of the campaign mainly from the German viewpoint. For two bloody months the Germans held the Allies at bay following the D-Day landings, but then they were blocked in at Falaise and the area became a killing ground. Some liken the event to Hitler's defeat at Stalingrad, while others argue the victory was flawed because so many German troops escaped.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (June 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844157601
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844157600
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #471,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German Panzers in Action in Normandy! March 4 2009
By Michael OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Throughout the history of warfare, there have been many "what if" battles, the August 1944 Falaise pocket being a good example. Though tremendous amounts of German military hardware were destroyed, the failure to close the pocket enabled thousands of Army and Waffen-SS troops to escape...to fight another day. The compelling story of the German response to the Normandy invasion and the subsequent "battle of the pocket" is engagingly told in FALAISE, THE FLAWED VICTORY by Anthony Tucker-Jones.

Few military forces have gone into battle as handicapped as the German panzer divisions in France in June 1944. Most units were poorly positioned to swiftly react to an invasion. Hitler dithered and held back needed forces for far too long. Once they received the "go" order, Army and Waffen-SS units found themselves under constant Allied Jabo attack as they advanced towards Normandy. When they finally reached their designated areas, too often the panzers were committed in penny-packets rather than a concentrated blow. Though they delivered many setbacks to Allied units, German panzers were unable to stop the Allied advance and narrowly escaped destruction themselves when Allied units failed to close the Falaise pocket.

After summarizing German deployments in France prior to 6 June, which mirrored the conflicting views held by Rundstedt, Rommel, etc. on where the invasion would take place, Tucker-Jones details up the "Road to Falaise" operations - Goodwood, Cobra, etc. - which led to the "flawed victory." He then describes, unit by unit, the combat activities and ultimate fate of each panzer division. Yet whether it was the 21st Panzer Division, Das Reich, Panzer Lehr, Frundsberg, Hitlerjugend or the Tiger-equipped Heavy Panzer Battalions, the result was the same: Sharp blows/local setbacks meted out to various Allied unit offset by heavy losses to the panzer divisions involved. Ultimately the Germans lost 1,500+ tanks and assault guns and 450,000 men yet some 98,000 men escaped. And they, thanks to the flawed victory at Falaise, would help rebuild the panzer force that smashed Operation Market Garden, spearheaded the Battle of the Bulge and so on.

FALAISE, THE FLAWED VICTORY is an excellent examination of the German panzers' combat exploits in Normandy. He nicely details each division's activities and includes a number of first-person reminiscenes that bring the German panzer experience to life. It's quite a story...and well-told by Tucker-Jones. Recommended.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Select Coverage From the German Perspective Oct. 24 2009
By Dave Schranck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very good but its format was unexpected. What was expected was a brief summary of the German position with its confused and conflicted command structure before June, 1944, the D-Day landings and then a detailed chronological blow by blow description of tactical events that lead to the August entrapment of German forces near Falaise. The introduction was what was expected but the format for most of the book is not chronological but based on separate German division engagements. There is a separate chapter for the following panzer divisions: 21st, Lehr, 12th SS, 17th SS, Tiger Heavy Battalions, 2nd, 1st SS, 9th SS, 10th SS, 2nd SS, 116th and 9th. The author provides the action taken from the landings to how the division was involved and impacted by the trap. The format may have been unexpected but it turned out to be a welcomed opportunity for you can use the book as a narrative or an easy reference volume when looking up specific details of your interested panzer division.

The author surprised me again by not ending his story around August 20th but extends his coverage to near the end of the war. The author wanted to show the Falaise Pocket was not as devastating to the German Army as the Allies thought and he proves his premise convincingly. Mr Tucker-Jones provides statistics of the Germans crossing the Seine River, and shows the Germans could rebuild quickly and still be a lethal opponent to give the Allies trouble with Market-Garden, Ardennes, Roer River-Hurtgen campaign and more. The author extends his coverage to show the demise of the above panzer units, either by surrender or by destruction. A brief history of each division and its commanders is given as well.

The narrative is driven not by Allied actions but by German offensive and defensive actions. The main theme is not your typical Allied perspective but the events discussed will be the command decisions and the offensive and defensive outlook from the German side. If an allied action had no material impact on the German divisions mentioned above it will not be included. When Allied action is mentioned it will be subordinate to the German response. In the last chapter, the author comments about the eastern front. Stalin had repeatedly mention that his Operation Bagration was a big help to the Allies during Normandy but the author refutes this position. The operation started weeks after D-Day, Hitler didn't transfer heavily from west to east and there were close to three times the number of panzers in the west as the east in June 1944. The author contends that Allied action in Normandy was a bigger help to the Russians than Bagration was to the Allies.

There are 8 maps and 36 photos to help follow the story. There is an extremely helpful Appendix that includes an Order of Battle, Allied Codenames and much more. You can tell the author has done his homework just by reading this highly informative book but its confirmed when you look over the extensive Bibliography of impressive sources used in his research.
This book is an overview of the action on the western front; it does not have the tactical level of detail as a Glantz book but its still very informative and an interesting read. If you're looking to read about the western front in 1944-45 from a German perspective, this book is highly recommended.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Germans are surprised Jan. 5 2013
By whammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
great book, interesting photos and information, some of which may or may not have been seen or known about previously
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice perspective from the German side. Nov. 5 2010
By 500hp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What I really enjoy is each chapter is the combat history of each of the major German divisions that fought in Falaise. A great read.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Records show that... Oct. 2 2012
By Yvonne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is historically accurate, so much that their is no story. It seems to be a mixture of facts from diferent sources. Their is little records of people involved or else so small you feel you are reading a report about something that has no suspense or tension.

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