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Liberation of Paris 1944 - Patton's race for the Seine: Patton's Race for the Seine (Campaign 194) [Kindle Edition]

Steven J. Zaloga , Howard Gerrard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In July 1944, Operation Cobra broke the stalemate in Normandy and sent the Allies racing across France. The Allied commanders had ignored Paris in their planning for this campaign, considering that the risk of intense street fighting and heavy casualties outweighed the city's strategic importance. However, Charles de Gaulle persuaded the Allied commanders to take direct action to liberate his nation's capital. Steven J Zaloga first describes the operations of Patton's Third Army as it advanced towards Paris before focussing on the actions of the Resistance forces inside the city and of the Free French armoured division that fought its way in and joined up with them to liberate it on the 24th August. On the back of this morale-boosting victory, De Gaulle could finally proclaim Paris to be liberated, as one of the world's loveliest cities survived Hitler's strident command that it should be held at all costs or razed to the ground.

Product Description


"This writing sparkles. The artwork is dynamic. The maps and battle scences put the writer in the battle. I am new to the Camaign serie, but if 'Liberation of Paris, 1944' sets the standard, I'm ready for campaign #195. what ever the title."- Richard N. Larsen, "The Midwest Book Review" (July 2008). "All of this is superbly illustrated not only by the artwork of Howard Gerrard, but also by the selection of period photographs. This all makes a superb book on the subject. One that I found most enjoyable and I know you will as well. It is a superb book on the subject and one that all students of American history should have in their libraries. I can recommend to you without reservation."- Scott Van Aken, "" (May 2008) "Zaloga's high standards of research and his usual clear, concise writing style make this another valuable addition to Osprey's Second World War titles. If the reader desires a short, but thorough, account of the events surrounding the liberation of Paris, this work is now the best focused account available in English." -Mark Stille, "World War II Quarterly "(May 2008) "Steven J. Zaloga's "Liberation of Paris 1944: Patton's Race for the Seine "recounts the Operation Cobra battle that sent the Allies across France with plans to liberate the notoriously difficult Paris." -"California Bookwatch "(May 2008)

About the Author

Steven J. Zaloga was born in 1952, received his BA in history from Union College, and his MA from Columbia University. He has published numerous books and articles dealing with modern military technology, especially armoured vehicle development. His main area of interest is military affairs in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in World War II, and he has also written extensively on American armoured forces.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9647 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B4CARA6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #318,039 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but not much of a battle 29 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good addition to Osprey's (and Zaloga's) coverage of the NW Europe campaign in 1944-45. It fills a nice gap inbetween the end of Operation Cobra and the Lorraine campaign already covered by Steve Zaloga in a couple of earlier books for Osprey. This is a welcome addition and a good read, however the campaign is a bit of a walkover for the US Army against negligable German opposition. The book comes to life in dealing with the Free French resistence forces and their role in the liberation. It's this aspect, which is usually a footnote in most histories of the campaign, that makes this book a worthy addition to the series. Also, good illustrations and artwork (for once!!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well written and concise study. 24 Feb. 2015
The perfect companion for all military history enthusiasts is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Author Steven J. Zaloga covers the subject with his usual thoroughness and in a style that in eminently readable. In line with other books in the Campaign series, there is an introduction that provides the strategic situation at the time, then a look at opposing commanders, plans and forces. Then he goes into the details of the campaign, which covers the majority of the book. Then the aftermath and what can be seen of the battleground today.

Superbly illustrated by the artwork of Howard Gerrard, and a great selection of period photographs.

This all makes a superb book on the subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good military history, but straitjacketed by its format 29 Nov. 2009
By Nick Dowling - Published on
This book provides an excellent military history of the liberation of Paris but is constrained by the inflexible structure of Osprey's campaign series. Zaloga does a great job of explaining how the unexpected collapse of the German Army allowed the Allies to liberate much of France in a matter of weeks and skillfully explains the quick fire decision-making that lead to the decision to throw away the pre-invasion plans and liberate Paris when a fleeting opportunity to do so quickly became available and a popular uprising made it a necessity. His handling of the fighting in and around the city is solid and is as detailed as could be hoped for in a short book and is supported by excellent and well selected maps and photos.

That said, this topic doesn't sit comfortably within the uniform structure of Osprey's campaign series. Given that the fighting in this battle was mainly limited to small unit actions, the detailed 'Opposing commanders' chapter is unnecessary and the 'Opposing forces' section could have been trimmed. More seriously, even though the book covers the liberation of one of the largest cities in Europe (which included a popular uprising) there's almost nothing on the experiences of French civilians during the battle - how they felt about the Free French uprising (did they support it or did they regard it as unnecessary?) and German counter actions isn't discussed, and the welcome they gave to the regular Allied military units is covered only in passing. The political issues relating to the liberation are also not covered in any real depth. Curiously, the 'Aftermath' section doesn't discuss whether liberating Paris was a benefit or liability to the Allies during the remainder of the war - given that the pre-invasion plans called for delaying its liberation as the city would require large amounts of supplies, this is a serious question.

All up, this is a very satisfactory and interesting military history, but I think that its author could have produced a much stronger work if he'd been free of the constraints of Osprey's format.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Something [Much] Better than Is Paris Burning? 12 Jun. 2008
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
Although the 1944 Normandy Campaign is now covered in great detail by both popular and scholarly histories, the immediate payoff of Allied success there - the liberation of Paris and the rout of the Wehrmacht across central France is surprisingly obscure to English-speaking audiences. As author Steven J Zaloga notes, there have been very few specialized studies on the liberation of the French capital and most readers with any interest in the subject have relied on the 43-year old popular account, Is Paris Burning? Finally, with Liberation of Paris 1944: Patton's Race for the Seine, readers can now turn to an insightful, well-researched account that provides a wealth of military data from both sides on this poignant moment in the Second World War. As the author notes, the heavy Allied losses at Omaha Beach and in the hedgerows of Normandy - often viewed in isolation - seemed worth the price to the GIs marching down the Champs Elysees to a cheering French audience just two months later (which was well ahead of the expected time to reach the Seine in pre-D-Day planning). This is a graphically-appealing, well-researched volume written by a military historian who knows how to deliver a coherent, but detailed campaign narrative.

The author begins with a tight, focused introduction that sketches out the strategic situation in August 1944 without getting distracted. Other introductory sections cover Opposing Commanders (von Kluge, von Choltitz, de Gaulle, Leclerc, Gerow), Opposing Plans and Opposing Forces. As the author notes, Allied forces arrived in the vicinity of Paris just as the Wehrmacht was disintegrating in central France and the new German commander, von Choltitz, was never able to form a coherent defense of the city. Allied planners had originally intended to bypass the city in order to avoid having to feed 4 million hungry civilians, but the author credits de Gaulle's insistence and Eisenhower's flexibility with a reversal of Allied strategy and the decision to advance directly upon Paris. These sections are particularly useful for readers trying to gain a sense for events immediately preceding liberation, as well as for the weakness of French resistance forces inside Paris (only 600 armed FFI fighters).

The 53-page campaign narrative itself begins with Patton's race to the Seine River on 15 August and concludes with the US military parade in Paris on 29 August - a rather eventful two week period. Zaloga covers the myriad of regimental and division-size engagements leading up to the liberation, as the Germans desperately tried to slow the Allied advance with a hodgepodge of rear area security and flak units. Once the uprising broke out in the city - due to German efforts to disarm the unreliable Parisian police - von Choltitz lacked even the forces to maintain order within the city, never mind hold off Patton's army. Eventually, von Choltitz surrendered his 20,000 troops - a rather large haul often overlooked - and de Gaulle arrived to re-establish the French Government. In addition to military details, the author succeeds in laying out the political dynamics in play during this protean event, which is essential to understanding its significance.

Liberation of Paris 1944 includes six 2-D maps (the strategic situation, August 16, 1944; the Battle for Chartres, August 15-18, 1944; The US Army approaches Paris: August 19-24, 1944; Paris Uprising, August 19-24, 1944; the advance on Paris, August 23-24, 1944; V Corps Storms Paris, August 24, 1944) and three 3-D BEV maps (the Seine Bridgehead at Mantes, August 19-23, 1944; Race for the Seine south of Paris, August 21-25, 1944). These maps are very high quality and pack a great deal of information which is not easily available elsewhere. The three battle scenes by Howard Gerrard (Fw-190 rocket attack on the Seine Bridgehead, 22 August 1944; German attack on the Police Prefecture, August 19, 1944; Sherman tanks advancing on the Rue de Rivoli, August 24, 1944) are superb. In addition, the author provides a well-stocked bibliography with sources ranging from the US Army Foreign Military Studies, US Army official studies and secondary sources in English, French and German. It is apparent from the start that the author has researched this subject thoroughly and provides the best material available to the reader.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, slick history of days following the breakout from Normandy in July 1944 12 July 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Book 194 title in the Osprey "Campaign" series.

This is a fine, slick history of days following the breakout from Normandy in July 1944. We find the Allies racing across France with orders to ignore Paris. Charles de Gaulle, French political pressure and a popular Paris uprising persuaded the Allied commanders to liberate the French capitol. This then is the story of Patton's Third Army advance toward Paris. The Free French armored division joins with resistance forces to liberate Paris on August 24, 1944. Retaking the French capitol generally undamaged was a moral boosting victory for Charles de Gaulle and the French people. American troops were saved from the inevitability of taking Paris street by street.

This writing sparkles. The artwork is dynamic. The maps and battle scenes put the reader in the battle.

I am new to the Campaign series, but if "Liberation of Paris, 1944" sets the standard, I'm ready for Campaign #195, what ever the title.

Richard N. Larsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating Paris and Crossing the Seine 8 April 2011
By Dave Schranck - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chronologically this campaign comes directly after Falaise 1944 (mid August) and just before the highly touted Arnhem: Operation Market Garden and Lorraine Campaigns in September. While these three campaigns have been frequently written about, the reviewed campaign has been somewhat neglected and that's too bad for there were a lot of things happening as well as being the lynchpin that ties the other three together. Mr Zaloga does a nice job of explaining this two week period in late August when the Allies attempt beating the retreating Germans to the Seine River and blocking their escape. At the same time Paris, situated on the Seine, experiences an uprising of French partisans and Communists that will try to defeat the Germans and retake the city. You'll also read about the wrangling between the Communists, non Communists, deGaulle, Eisenhower and much more.

In the opening chapter, the strategic situation is explained starting with the July 25th launch of Operation Cobra that finally allows the US 1st Army to break through the German line and make a dash for the interior. The activation of the 3rd Army and its quest to advance southward is also covered. The German counterattack in the Mortain sector is discussed as well as its desperate implications when the Germans fail to reach their objectives. The troubles at Caen, the gradual closing of the Falaise Gap and Operation Dragoon are discussed in order to set the stage for the main event: the liberation of Paris. After the opening commanders are discussed: Rundstedt, Kluge, Model, Chorltitz, Rommel and Blaskowitz are briefly mentioned on the German side while Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, Gerow, Leclerc and de Gaulle are discussed on the Allied side. DeGaulle and Eisenhower's relationship is disscussed as is the bad feeling that sprung up between Gerow and Leclerc. Hitler is also discussed on his obsession to counterattack at Mortain, not wanting to lose ground. His respisal of Paris after its liberation is also covered.

When the plans for Overlord were developed, Paris was to be bypassed but as Patton's 3rd Army nears the Seine, General deGaulle convinces Eisenhower of the greater good in liberating the capital and saving it from the takeover by the Communists and allowing himself the best chance to lead the country. After the breakout too much was happening to be able to follow plans for either side so the chapter on Opposing Plans is really informal but it gives the author an opportunity to describe further the current events: the retreat from Mortain for the 7th and 5th Pz Armies throught the Falaise Gap and the charge of Patton's army to the Seine.
There are a number of divisions mentioned but the lead stars will be the three corps of Patton's 3rd Army that captures some of the leading towns near Paris ( Chartres, Fontainebleau, Durex, Orleans ) before reaching the Seine in force, north and south of Paris, to gain control of the river. The French 2nd Division of V Corps will actually enter Paris to free its people and to accept the surrender of General von Choltitz and his 20,000 man garrison and to put down the contingent of Germans who continued to fight while the 3rd Army moves on to Rheims, Verdun. By the end of August, the 3rd Army will be at the Meuse and Moselle Rivers and only 60 miles from the German border.

There were six 2-D maps and two 3-D maps and all were excellent. The first map was of the greater area west of Falaise to the Seine that also shows the important towns that will be discussed in the campaign. The battle for Chartres, southwest of Paris is next. US forces advancing near Paris. The hot spots of the Uprising in Paris. The US forces beginning to enter Paris and the final 2-D map is a street map of Paris showing the Allies clearing the streets. The 3-D maps show the battle for Mantes and the XX and XII Corps taking Melun and Montereau on the Seine, south of Paris. There were three very good action illustrations; my favorite was the Luftwaffe rocket attack on the bridgehead near Mantes. There were also many photos of the troops moving through towns, tanks and other weapons and many views of the streets of Paris.

All of August was a busy month and Mr Zaloga presents a good rendition of it: the military aspects where the Allies finally get the momentum and the Germans are fighting for their lives, the political aspects, the Uprising in Paris. Walkers approaching of the Moselle River and his struggles to cross it as well as the troubles the Allies will encounter among themselves over coming strategy and the allocation of supplies are touched on. For anybody who is interested in what followed the Falaise campaign or is interested in the Paris uprising and final liberation this book is certainly recommended.
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