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Author Topic: Book: Lucky Forward  (Read 3379 times)
Mad Russian

« on: 22 March 2009, 15:27:03 »

'Lucky Forward" by Colonel Robert S. Allen was a surprise for me. I was cataloging my library, for the site, when I found this book and I didn't remember reading it. I may not remember what's in a book but I normally remember reading those in my library. Why buy a book if you're not going to read it?

Long story short, I had never read this book. The main reason probably is that it's mainly about Patton and I'm not a card carrying Patton Fan Club member. I've read some books on Patton and I'm pretty much good to go with what I already know about him.

"Lucky Forward" just about didn't get read this time either. Colonel Allen is a card carrying Patton Fan Club member. He has absolutely nothing bad to say about Patton. Within the first 5-10 pages I was finished with this book for the most part. There was just enough of a hint of the operational story though to keep me turning to the next page.

So, after the great Patton build up he starts telling the story of how 3rd Army, with Patton at the helm, goes about winning WWII singlehandedly. How nice, but inside all that bias is a very interesting story.

What is different are the insights into 3rd Army. How 3rd Army's war room was put together. How it was better even than SHEAF's. How Patton would start planning operations, almost before the current one began. How they did intelligence, supplied their troops. How they pretty much did everything.

How he felt as a commander and what he expected from the officers that served under him.

Lest I forget, Montgomery is served up on a tray with your choice of vegetable on numerous occasions. Patton and Montgomery's love for each other is one of the best known facts in WWII and the rivalry, from Patton's side, is shown in detail in this book.

What was more interesting, to me, was the 3rd Army's war with SHEAF. The war to be the Army that was given priority in waging, and ending, the war in North Western Europe. What 3rd Army did to maintain it's momentum when it had gained freedom of movement and sometimes what SHEAF did to shut 3rd Army down, to allow other units in the theater to do some fighting as well. Patton wasn't just disdainful of 21st Army Group's commander but every other commander in the North West European Theater. From Eisenhower on down.

This, of course, was also how his officers felt about the whole thing.

While, this book is full of Patton, it's full of other details on how an army, in this case, the showcase army for the US Army, fought. How they planned their logistics, how they fought with what they had, how they were stopped from fighting, how they did everything.

If you can swallow the Patton, Military Genius pill, or you are a card carrying Patton Fan Club member, this book has some very interesting insights not found in other books on the war. The perspective from the Army level alone is much different than others written about American units. This is to my knowledge the only one written from an Army level point of view.

What you will not find in this book is anything happened to Patton before Normandy. There is nothing to stain Patton's career or reputation in this book. You will not find Patton's comments on not wanting, or needing, Sherman tanks with the 76mm guns, even though he does tell how they come to Patton to give good press on the Sherman vs German tanks. You will not find the comments on "rock soup" which I thought would have enhanced this book. You will not find the mission to free his son-in-law. There are no comments about how Patton insulted the Soviets, no only good ole boy jesting with them.......

You will find NOTHING negative in this book about Patton. Colonel Allen is a card carrying Patton Fan Club member.

What you will find is a good book once you get past Patton's issues and into how 3rd Army fought as a combat unit. You will find Eisenhower's broad front strategy at work. How the Western Allies were fighting the war together and not just American combat units doing everything while the UK sat back and watched. You will see how that rankled the Americans in 3rd Army. It rankled Americans in other Armies as well but 3rd Army made attacking anything, and everything, 21st Army Group did an art form.

For more about the 21st Army Group contributions to the campaign see "Colossal Cracks" by Stephen Ashley Hart or "Decision at Normandy" by Carlo D'Este.

To get a copy of "Lucky Forward" click on the link to Amazon and enjoy a very different kind of a book.

Lucky Forward at Amazon dot com

Good Hunting.

Mad Russian

« Reply #1 on: 22 March 2009, 17:30:55 »

Going to bump this for today.

Good Hunting.

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