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Eisenhower's Thorn on the Rhine: The Battles for the Colmar Pocket, 1944–45 By Nathan Perfer




 
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  • By the fall of 1944 the Western Allies appeared to be having it all their own way. The summer’s Normandy invasion had finally succeeded and the Germans had been driven out of northern France and most of the Low Countries. In September the invasion of France’s southern coast had met less opposition and Allied divisions had begun lining up along the Rhine.
  • But while the Americans were about to meet a nasty surprise in the Ardennes, the Germans never did let go of the province of Alsace, and in a hard pocket around the city of Colmar continued to resist. On New Year’s Eve they launched a counteroffensive, Operation Northwind, that nearly put Allied forces back on their heels. While the Allies were eventually able to take care of their Ardennes problem the Colmar one still remained. On January 12, 1945, Eisenhower could only tell George Marshall, “It is a very bad thorn in our side today."

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