Monday, October 06, 2008
Tug of War: The Canadian Victory That Opened Antwerp by W. Denis Whitaker is a military history of the Canadian, British, and free Polish armies clearing the canal that connected Antwerp with the ocean. Whitaker a Lt. Col. who participated in the battle gives a opinionated account. He argues that the Supreme Command ignored various opportunities to seize the German forces and shorten the war. There was an unwillingness to take the advice of Dutch and Belgian resistance forces. Eisenhower also did not provide the level of support to Montgomery that he should've. Much of this does refight the British versus American arguments that have been beaten to death over the last 60 years. Montgomery does come in for some criticism himself. Admittedly a Canadian perspective is a little unusual. The narrative of the battles is quite compelling based as it is on lots of eyewitness accounts. These were grinding battles of endurance with very little strategic sophistication. There were one or two interesting tactical set pieces like the "sinking" of a Dutch island by strategic bombers.