Review: The Longest Battle
- Published: 01 May 2010 01 May 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
From Aachen to the Roer and Across
In this book Harry Yeide, author of for example "Tank Killers: A History of America's World War II Tank Destroyer Force", for the first time leaves his focus on the US forces and instead covers the fighting from both sides.
This book deals with the so often overlooked fighting for the Roer River, beginning with the fighting around Aachen and ending when the US forces finally managed to cross the river six months later.
The author sums but how the Roer battles are remembered today in the epilogue:
“In the years since the longest battle ended, few have cared to look back and dwell on a time when more than thiry thousand young Americans, and an even greater number of Germans, fell dead or wounded in the rain and mud west of the Roer River. Although the deeds of fighting men elsewhere during the war capture the imaginations to this day, the tale of the hard-fighting outfits that clawed their way to the Roer – who recalls the 102d Infantry Division? – is, sadly, all but forgotten.”
Both the perspective of the common GI/landser and the Generals involved are included and the author manages to cover actions of individual regiments as well the movements and plans on the corps level.
It includes information and quotes from both the US and German forces, there is more from the US perspective, something the author also comments on in the preface, but on the whole I think he strikes a good balance when discussing the fighting, both the German and US perspectives are included..
The book also includes 16 pages with photos, appendices with the orders of battle from the major divisions involved on both sides and a glossary. It also includes a few maps but they could have been better drawn and included more information.
This is in my opinion a good and well written book on the fighting on this area of the front and I recommend it to those interested those aspects of the war.
See also the interview with the author.
(Reviewed by Marcus Wendel)
Thanks to the author for the review copy