Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge
In the winter of 1944–1945, Hitler sought to divide Allied forces in the heavily forested Ardennes region of Luxembourg and Belgium. He deployed more than 400,000 troops in one of the last major German offensives of the war, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge, in a desperate attempt to regain the strategic initiative in the West. Hitler’s effort failed for a variety of reasons, but many historians assert that Lieutenant General George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army was ultimately responsible for securing Allied victory. Although Patton has assumed a larger-than-life reputation for his leadership in the years since World War II, scholars have paid little attention to his generalship in the Ardennes following the relief of Bastogne.
In Advance and Destroy, Captain John Nelson Rickard explores the commander’s operational performance during the entire Ardennes campaign, through his “estimate of the situation,” the U.S. Army’s doctrinal approach to problem-solving. Patton’s day-by-day situational understanding of the Battle of the Bulge, as revealed through ULTRA intelligence and the influence of the other Allied generals on his decision-making, gives readers an in-depth, critical analysis of Patton’s overall effectiveness, measured in terms of mission accomplishment, his ability to gain and hold ground, and a cost-benefit analysis of his operations relative to the lives of his soldiers. The work not only debunks myths about one of America’s most controversial generals but provides new insights into his renowned military skill and colorful personality.
John Nelson Rickard, a captain in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Directorate of Army Training in Ontario, Canada, is the author of Patton at Bay: The Lorraine Campaign, 1944. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.
"With this new book on Patton's conduct of the Ardennes campaign, Rickard cements his reputation as one of our foremost analysts of the ground fighting in the ETO, 1944-45. This book is indespensible to student of the war in Europe."--Robert M. Citino, author of Quest for Decisive Victory: From Stalemate to Blitzkrieg in Europe, 1899-1940
“Rickard’s scholarship is impeccable. His presentation and mastery of the material is equally effective.”--Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War
"Advance and Destroy is the best book on operational command I have read. John Rickard’s success at merging events, intelligence, decisions, and commanders in real time is both gripping and successful in putting the reader inside the command posts and on the field during the Battle of the Ardennes. Clearly, the best in-depth examination of Patton the Commander ever done."--General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), 32nd Chief of Staff
"This is a detailed operational study of Patton's Third Army during the German counter-offensive in the Winter of 1944-45, Patton's finest hour. In this sequel to his Patton at Bay, Rickard examines Patton's decisions based on what was known at the time, force levels in action on both sides, terrain, weather, and directions from Eisenhower and Bradley." -- Library Journal
"Advance and Destroy bills itself as the 'first rigorous analysis' of Patton's generalship over the course of the entire Ardennes campaign. Clearly written and well researched, the volume fits that bill."--Military Periscope
"Examines [Patton's] strategy and actions during the Battle of the Bulge."--WWII History
"A tour de force on the history of the military art...Puts paid to the idea that nothing new can be said about this campaign about which so much has been written."--Army Magazine
"This book examines his strategy and actions during the Battle of the Bulge."--WWII History
Winner of the Army Historical Foundation Book Award for Operational/Battle History
“An informative historical study that creates a fascinating encounter between an event of great importance and a magnetic personality.”--H-Net Review
"A masterpiece on Patton's operational performance throughout the entire Ardennes campaign, from the first attacks to the relief of Bastogne and beyond the spring of 1945."--The Past in Review
"Apart from good history, author Rickard captures the essence of George Patton: conident, profane, and optimistic."--Journal of America's Military Past
"A detailed operational history."--Military Review