by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Washington: Potomac Books Inc., 2009. Pp. xxiv, 256.
Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $27.50. ISBN: 1597972746
Defenders of Fortress Europe is both a biographical guide to the lives and careers of dozens of German officers prominent in the fighting in northwestern Europe from D-Day until the end of the Allied drive across France and Belgium in the late autumn of 1944, and an outline account of the campaign.
The entries, some of which are naturally longer than others to reflect the role of the officer in question, cover most of the senior commanders, and also many notable field grade and even some company grade officers. Each entry provides a short thumbnail sketch of the officer's early life and career, and then a longer account of his role in the campaign, and finally some material on his later career. The profiles are arranged more or less chronologically, to cover the course of events, and some of them are actually broken into several parts, to reflect a particular officer's actions at different phases in the campaign.
Although naturally tight, entries often offer important analysis and valuable critiques of the roles of particular officers, and Defenders of Fortress Europe will be of value to any serious students of the campaign.