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Battle for the Ruhr

The German Army's Final Defeat in the West
Narrated by: Julian Elfer
Length: 16 hrs and 51 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Regular price: £22.49
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Summary

With Allied armies poised on the banks of the Rhine, Nazi Germany tottered on the brink of collapse. The ensuing battles on German soil - especially those in the so-called Ruhr Pocket - were as fierce and hard-fought as any in the European theater. Going well beyond previous accounts, Derek S. Zumbro chronicles this key military campaign from a unique and fresh perspective - that of the defeated German soldiers and civilians caught in the final maelstrom of the war's Western front.  

Best known for his translation of In Deadly Combat, the best-selling World War II memoir, Zumbro chronicles the relentless assault on the Ruhr Pocket through German eyes as the Allied juggernaut battered the region's cities, villages, and homes into submission. He tells of children pressed into service by a desperate Nazi regime - and of even more desperate parents trying to save their sons from sacrifice at the 11th hour. He also tells of unspeakable conditions suffered by foreign laborers, POWs, and political opponents in the Ruhr Valley and of the mass graves that gave Allied soldiers a grisly new understanding of their enemy.  

Zumbro also recounts the story of Field Marshal Walter Model's final hours. His eventual suicide effectively ended the existence of the Wehrmacht's once-formidable Army Group B after being pursued, methodically encircled, and finally destroyed by US and British forces. Through interviews with surviving members of Model's former staff, Zumbro has uncovered the attitudes - and harrowing experiences - of beleaguered officers that official records could never convey.  

Other interviews with former soldiers reveal the extent to which Allied bombing contributed to the rapid deterioration of German combat effectiveness and tell of civilians begging soldiers to abandon the war. Zumbro's deep research reveals the identities of specific characters discussed in previous works but never identified, describes the final hours of German officers executed for the loss of the bridge at Remagen, and offers new insight into Model's acquiescence to Hitler in military affairs.  

By taking us inside the firsthand experiences and memories of Germans from Reichsmarshals to Burgermeisters, Battle for the Ruhr gives a profound and harrowing ground-level view of the enormous destructive power of war.

©2006 The University Press of Kansas (P)2019 Tantor

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Anecdotally exhaustive

The narration is excellent, though occasionally even the narrator becomes exasperated by the repetitive themes of the narrative. The book focuses upon the exploits of US formations in closing the Ruhr pocket, and then eliminating the trapped German army under Model.

In short, if a town or village did not surrender it was destroyed either by artillery or tank fire or, more efficiently, by area bombing. Most civilians were consequently anxious to avoid this destruction of their property and lives. Most German soldiers were aware of Nazi policy to execute those soldiers who gave up the fight, and to exact reprisals on the soldiers families. US troops generally treated their opponents adequately but occasionally executed the leaders of those forces that resisted them. They frequently took souvenirs from captured soldiers, watches seemingly a popular choice.

The British and Canadians get little mention, mostly critical, such as the passage that excuses US soldiers individual vandalism by saying the British did the same or by reference to their supposedly slow progress further north. While not wishing to detract from any US soldiers who had to fight and risk their lives to dismantle Nazi Germany, hearing these stories repetitively does make this a very long book.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 21-04-19

Perspective on a Battle Lost

The individual stories told as the Battle for The Ruhr were interesting and compelling. They captured the German perspective both from a soldier's perspective and the people trying to preserve their homes and their villages. War I am told is brutal and while I do not have the personal perspective this book captures the stories and the brutality of war and its consequences. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend the Battle for the Ruhr.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful