Riviera to the Rhine

Now available both online via Hyperwar and as an eBook via Amazon’s Kindle, the Center for Military History‘s Riviera to the Rhine was originally published in 1976. It has been reprinted by Whitman Publishing as part of their reprise of the Army’s series on WWII and is available in hardcover, new and used.

In the foreword, BGEN Harold Nelson writes:

With the publication of Riviera to the Rhine, the Center of Military History completes its series of operational histories treating the activities of the U.S. Army’s combat forces during World War II. This volume examines the least known of the major units in the European theater, General Jacob L. Devers’ 6th Army Group. Under General Devers’ leadership, two armies, the U.S. Seventh Army under General Alexander M. Patch and the First French Army led by General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, landing on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille in August 1944, cleared the enemy out of southern France and then turned east and joined with army groups under Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and General Omar N. Bradley in the final assault on Germany.

In detailing the campaign of these Riviera-based armies, the authors have concentrated on the operational level of war, paying special attention to the problems of joint, combined, and special operations and to the significant roles of logistics, intelligence, and personnel policies in these endeavors. They have also examined in detail deception efforts at the tactical and operational levels, deep battle penetrations, river-crossing efforts, combat in built-up areas, and tactical innovations at the combined arms level.

Such concepts are of course very familiar to today’s military students, and the fact that this volume examines them in such detail makes this study especially valuable to younger officers and noncommissioned officers. In truth, the challenges faced by military commanders half a century ago were hardly unique. That is why I particularly urge today’s military students, who might well face some of these same problems in future combat, to study this campaign so that they might learn from their illustrious predecessors in the profession of arms.

Both authors, Jeffrey J. Clark and Robert Ross Smith, have since retired from the Center for Miltary History (in 2006 and 1983, respectively), but wrote extensively about World War II and their volumes are a credit to any library of the war.

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Destination Berchtesgaden

Two very prolific writers, John Frayn Turner and Robert Jackson, turned their attention to the Seventh Army in their book, Destination Berchtesgaden: The US 7th Army during World War II. It was first published in 1975 and is now also available electronically. Turner served in the Royal Navy and Jackson in the Royal Air Force, but that seems not to have hindered their efforts in producing this work.

Their publisher, Osprey, describes the book: Of the US Armies fighting in Europe at the end of World War II, General Patch’s Seventh Army has received the least attention from historians. Although over-shadowed by the performance of General Patton and the actions of his US Third Army (breaking out of the Normandy bridgehead, liberating Paris and seizing Remagen bridge), the Seventh Army made a considerable contribution to the Allied victory, particularly their rapid advance through southern Germany and Austria. The Seventh Army landed in Sicily in 1943, and then took part in Operation Anvil in 1944 before advancing across the Rhine and reaching Berchtesgaden itself. Both the successes and setbacks of the Seventh Army are discussed in this volume, as well as discussing the tactical victories and defeats that contributed to the Allied campaign.