By Max Hastings
Armageddon is the epic tale of the final 8 months of worldwide struggle II in Europe by way of Max Hastings–one of Britain’s such a lot extremely popular army historians, whose bills of prior battles John Keegan has defined as invaluable “to stand with that of the simplest reporters and writers” (New York occasions publication Review).
In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s military was once crushed, and anticipated that the warfare will be over via Christmas. however the disastrous Allied airborne touchdown in Holland, American setbacks at the German border and within the Hürtgen wooded area, including the sour conflict of the Bulge, tremendously altered that timetable. Hastings tells the tale of either the jap and Western Fronts, and paints a vibrant portrait of the purple Army’s onslaught on Hitler’s empire. He has searched the documents of the foremost fighters and interviewed one hundred seventy survivors to provide us an extraordinary figuring out of the way the good battles have been fought, and in their human influence on American, British, German, and Russian infantrymen and civilians.
Hastings increases provocative questions: have been the Western Allied reason and crusade compromised via a wish to get the Soviets to do many of the combating? Why have been the Russians and Germans more suitable infantrymen than the americans and British? Why did the bombing of Germany’s towns proceed till the final weeks of the conflict, whilst it may not effect the result? Why did the Germans turn out extra fanatical foes than the japanese, battling to the sour finish? This ebook additionally comprises bright pictures of Stalin, Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery, and the opposite giants of the fight.
The the most important ultimate months of the 20th century’s maximum international clash come alive during this rousing and revelatory chronicle.
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Extra info for Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944–1945
The preparations could be quite elaborate, as White points out: Jimmy Wannop used to occasionally come and see us while visiting one of his 6-pdr anti-tank guns dug deep into a corner of our wood. This gun made us feel a little happier about the possible appearance of enemy tanks over the snow to our front. The Jocks of the gun crew had built themselves a wonderful home at the rear of their gun pit, and to visit them was well worth it, if only to sit and get warm for a while in its straw lined depths.
Where the guns were mixed they consisted of four 6-pdrs in one troop and two troops of four 17-pdrs. The 6-pdr was often towed by a Bren carrier, whereas the heavier 17-pdr relied on the Morris C8 or Guy Quad Ant tractor. Armoured divisions, on the other hand, had 30 6-pdrs, 24 towed 17-pdrs and 24 selfpropelled Achilles guns. The guns were again organised in four batteries, two of 12 17-pdrs each and two of Achilles (or, in early 1944, the MI0). 39 AMMUNITION 40 At the beginning of the Second World War, virtually all anti-tank ammunition was based on the solid shot projectile.
As a good example of what could be done with the 6-pdr, we can take the Snipe action on 27 October 1942 at the battle of El Alamein. This action involved 16 6-pdrs of the 2nd Rifle Brigade and six of G and H troops of the 239th Anti-Tank Battery, Royal Artillery. The Rifle Brigade battalion was unusual in having so many anti-tank guns but together these anti-tank units were able to demonstrate the use of such weapons when facing massed tank attacks. This group broke up repeated attacks by groups of 20 German and Italian tanks at ranges of anything between 100 and 1,20Oyds.