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Joachim Ludewig, Rückzug: The German Retreat from France, 1944.

Edited by Major General David T. Zabecki, AUS (Ret.): University Press of Kentucky 2012, XVIII, 435 S., 40 USD, ISBN 978-0-8131-4079-7

The Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, marked a critical turning point in the European theater of World War II. The massive landing on France’s coast had been meticulously planned for three years, and the Allies anticipated a quick and decisive defeat of the German forces. Many of the planners were surprised, however, by the length of time it ultimately took to defeat the Germans.
While much has been written about D-day, very little has been written about the crucial period from August to September, immediately after the invasion. In Rückzug, Joachim Ludewig draws on military records from both sides to show that a quick defeat of the Germans was hindered by excessive caution and a lack of strategic boldness on the part of the Allies, as well as by the Germans’ tactical skill and energy. This intriguing study, translated from German, not only examines a significant and often overlooked phase of the war, but also offers a valuable account of the conflict from the perspective of the German forces.

Joachim Ludewig is an officer in the German Army Reserve. He currently serves as a civil servant in the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. He lives in Bonn, Germany.