The Ardennes Battlefields

December 1944–January 1945

Simon Forty, Leo Marriott

Date Published :
October 2017
Publisher :
Series :
Then & Now
Illustration :
Color and b/w photos throughout
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612005348
Pages : 192
Dimensions : 11.7 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Just after its seventieth anniversary, the Battle of the Bulge has lost none of its impact. The largest battle fought by US troops on the continent of Europe started in a surprise attack on December 16, 1944, by four German armies, spearheaded by the cream of the German Panzer forces. Under the cover of bad weather and heavy snow, Hitler’s last roll of the dice was intended to retake Antwerp, split the Allies, divide their political leadership, and force peace in the West, thus allowing the German forces to concentrate on defeating the Red Army.

Strategic pipedream or not, the attack was furious and drained the Eastern Front of reinforcements: 12 armored and 29 infantry divisions, some 2,000 tanks and assault guns—mainly PzKpfw IVs (800), Panthers (750) and Tigers (250 including some of the new King Tigers)— spearheaded the assault, which smashed into the American First and Ninth Armies.

Near-complete surprise was achieved thanks to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with offensive plans, and poor reconnaissance. The Germans attacked where least expected—the forested Ardennes—a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of the weather conditions, which grounded the Allies’ overwhelmingly superior air forces. The Allied response was magnificent. Initial reverses brought out the best of Eisenhower’s armies, which fought with determination and grit against the enemy and the elements. The harsh battles are best summed up by the defense of the northern shoulder around the Elsenborn Ridge, the battle for St. Vith, and in the south the siege of Bastogne, where the town’s commander, Gen. McAuliffe, rejected German calls for surrender with the pithy reply: “Nuts.”

Within ten days, the German attack had been nullified. Patton, at the time planning an attack further south, wheeled his Third Army round in a brilliant maneuver that relieved Bastogne and set up a counterattack which would drive the Germans back behind the Rhine.

The Ardennes Battlefields includes details of what can be seen on the ground today—hardware, memorials, museums, and cemeteries—using a mixture of media to provide an overview of the campaign: maps old and new highlight what has survived and what hasn’t; then and now photography allows fascinating comparisons with the images taken at the time; aerial photos give another angle to the story. The fifth book by Leo Marriott and Simon Forty on the Allied invasion of Europe provides a different perspective to this crucial battlefield.

About The Author

Simon Forty was educated in Dorset and the north of England before reading history at London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing since the mid-1970s, first as editor and latterly as author. Son of author and RAC Tank Museum curator George Forty, he has continued in the family tradition writing mainly on historical and military subjects including books on the Napoleonic Wars and the two world wars. Recently he has produced a range of highly illustrated books on the Normandy battlefields, the Atlantic Wall and the liberation of the Low Countries with co-author Leo Marriott.

Leo Marriott has written numerous books on aviation, naval and military subjects including Treaty Cruisers, Catapult Aircraft, Jets at Sea and Early Jet Fighters: British and American 1944-1954. He is now retired after a fifty-year career as an air traffic controller but still maintains his pilot’s license flying a syndicate-owned Cessna 172. Apart from aviation and naval history, his other interests include sailing, photography and painting.


“It will be good for the historian who has an interest in the Battle of the Bulge and there are some excellent reference photos and inspiration for modellers. It is equally ideal for the battlefield visitor, with details of what happened where and with what to look for in terms of memorials and memorabilia that would be worth looking out for if you plan to visit the area.”

- Military Model Scene

“Once again this is another book that makes you want to load up the car, hit the ferry and go touring in the Ardennes.”

- Military Modelling

"This is a high-quality combination of maps, photographs, and key text commentary…Another fine title in this excellent series of Casemate publications." - Winner of the 'Miniature Wargames Recommends' award for March 2018.

- Miniature Wargames

‘’Latest in a series of high quality battlefield guides..easy to follow, chronological and unit-based sequence it is a good entry point for the Ardennes novice. The historical overview flows well and is complemented with plenty of maps; references to memorials and useful aerial photographs add more of the essential detail required for battlefield guiding. Thumbs Up!’’

- Despatches

More from this publisher