1. The Ardennes revisited

In December 1944 the Americans were preparing to spend a quiet Christmas all along the front. Although the expectations of imminent victory had evaporated, it still seemed obvious that the war could no carry on much longer. The Germans were in a state of collapse, and it was just a question of time before the weather improved so that the coup de grace could be administered to the crumbling Wehrmacht.

And yet for some months Germany had been preparing a bitter surprise for the Americans. Their plans had no place for surrender or anything like it: they were about to unleash a winter offensive, in the same place as in 1940 and with the same objective: a sickle movement towards the English Channel.

This was ...

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