The Folly of Generals

How Eisenhower’s Broad Front Strategy Lengthened World War II

David P Colley

An examination of mistakes made by the Allied supreme commander General Dwight Eisenhower in 1944-45, and their implication for the shape of the last nine months of World War II.
Date Published :
March 2021
Publisher :
Illustration :
50 photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612009742
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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"Throughout the book, Colley uses postwar comments by German generals to support his arguments." — New York Journal of Books

Imagine how many lives would have been saved had the war in Europe finished in December 1944 instead of five months later... David Colley analyzes critical mistakes made by the Allied supreme commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, in the last nine months of the war. He argues that had Eisenhower been more adept at taking advantage of several potential breakthroughs in the Siegfried Line in the fall of 1944 the war in the European Theater of Operations might have ended sooner.

The book details the American penetration of the Siegfried Line in mid-September and their advance into Germany at Wallendorf before the troops were called back. It also examines in detail operations in the Stolberg Corridor and the actions of General Lucian Truscott. It compares the battles at Wallendorf and Stolberg with Operation Market Garden, and assesses the effectiveness of these operations and the use of the troops. Eisenhower later called off another operation in November 1944, already in progress, to cross the Rhine and destroy the German 1st Army north of Strasbourg. American and German generals believe this operation would have shortened the war.

The Folly of Generals explores these potential breakthroughs—along with other strategic and tactical mistakes in the ETO and in Italy, some never before revealed—that might have shortened the war by a considerable margin.

About The Author

David P. Colley is a full-time author and freelance writer specializing in military history and military affairs. He is the author of six books relating to World War II and has written numerous articles on military matters.


Chapter 1 Why Market Garden
Chapter 2 Why Not Wallendorf
Chapter 3 Schnee Eifel Continuation of Wallendorf attack by 9th ID – Troops
Chapter 4 Lost Opportunity
Chapter 5 Why Not the Stolberg Corridor
Chapter 6 Disaster at Arnhem
Chapter 7 The Aftermath of Arnhem
Chapter 8 Fateful Decision at Falaise
Chapter 9 Lucian King Truscott Jr.
Chapter 10 Vulnerable Switzerland
Chapter 11 Strasbourg
Chapter 12 The River Crossings: The Details
Chapter 13 Moving Up
Chapter 14 The Attack
Chapter 15 Ike Balks
Chapter 16 Why Not Cross the Rhine
Chapter 17 No Friend of Devers
Chapter 18 Ike Cautious, Inexperienced 268
Chapter 19 If Devers Had Crossed 284
Chapter 20 Lost Opportunity at Valmonte, Italy
Chapter 21 Escape From Husky
Chapter 22 Paris Liberated, the War Extended
Chapter 23 Reserves
Chapter 24 Brittany
Chapter 25 Lorraine
Chapter 26 Other Lost Opportunities


"Colley presents a well-written, easy to read, and concise summary of the options available to Eisenhower and the Allies. His book will appeal to those who want to learn about those options and potential missed opportunities."

- Journal of Military History

"...challenges critical thinking and raises key points for political and military leaders regarding the lessons of history and the value of strategic-level flexibility and risk assumption."

- Michigan War Studies Review

"...readers interested in the European campaign who will enjoy the division-level tactical opportunities explored in the book. It clearly highlights the major challenges of coalition warfare in large-scale combat operations and demonstrates the differences of perspectives between tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war and associated priorities and risk at each level."

- Parameters

"...contains much valuable information and draws together a body of analysis and criticism useful to students of the war."

- The Journal of America's Military Past

"Throughout the book, Colley uses postwar comments by German generals to support his arguments."

- New York Journal of Books

"An intriguing book."

- Miniature Wargames

"The strategic, operational, and tactical levels are all covered in this book in rich and colourful detail. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Berlin Airlift, Cold War operations, and fans of the Helion Europe at War series. If this is any indication of how volume two will look, then this is a series crying out to be read and added to your bookshelves."


"...will and should be welcomed by military enthusiasts, and is worthy of debate in staff colleges and other institutions of military education."

- The Strategy Bridge

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