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Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945 | [Michael D. Doubler]

Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945

Closing with the Enemy picks up where D-Day leaves off. From Normandy through the "breakout" in France to the German army's last gasp in the Battle of the Bulge, Michael D. Doubler deals with the deadly business of war - closing with the enemy, fighting and winning battles, taking and holding territory. His study provides a provocative reassessment of how American GIs accomplished these dangerous and costly tasks.
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Publisher's Summary

Closing with the Enemy picks up where D-Day leaves off. From Normandy through the "breakout" in France to the German army's last gasp in the Battle of the Bulge, Michael D. Doubler deals with the deadly business of war - closing with the enemy, fighting and winning battles, taking and holding territory. His study provides a provocative reassessment of how American GIs accomplished these dangerous and costly tasks.

Doubler portrays a far more capable and successful American fighting force than previous historians - notably Russell Weigley, Martin Van Creveld, and S. L. A. Marshall - have depicted. True, the GIs weren't fully prepared or organized for a war in Europe and have often been viewed as inferior to their German opponent. But, Doubler argues that they were more than compensated for this by their ability to learn quickly from mistakes, to adapt in the face of unforeseen obstacles, and to innovate new tactics on the battlefield. This adaptability, Doubler contends, was far more crucial to the American effort than we've been led to believe.

Fueled by a fiercely democratic and entrepreneurial spirit, GI innovations emerged from every level within the ranks - from the novel employment of conventional weapons and small units to the rapid retraining of troops on the battlefield. Their most dramatic success, however, was with combined arms warfare - the coordinated use of infantry, tanks, artillery, air power, and engineers - in which they perfected the use of air support for ground operations and tank-infantry teams for breaking through enemy strongholds. Doubler argues that, without such ingenuity and imaginative leadership, it would have been impossible to defeat an enemy as well-trained and heavily fortified as the German army the GIs confronted.

©1994 University Press of Kansas (P)2010 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"This important book is a watershed in critical thinking.... Fluently written and beautifully detailed, it is essential for a complete understanding of American operations in World War II." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 11-25-11
    Charles Fred Smith Plano, Texas 11-25-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Well Done Doubler"

    The writing style may leave something to be desired but the content is most important to any student of WWII -Europe history. Doubler brings out the nitty-gritty of problems in the US training system, the replacement system and almost every other aspect of fighting modern war circa 1942. Only the artillery had their act together. From there he describes how we learned by doing and describes the pitfalls along the way. The content of this book is what makes it excellent. It could have been titled "How We Learned to Fight - the Hard Way"

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Valencia, CA, United States 01-29-12
    David Valencia, CA, United States 01-29-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Day to Day Combat on the Ground"

    Finally a book which talks about how the army fought the war. But unlike most books which talk from 60,000 feet up, this book talks at ground level. It talks on combat strategy and how they adjusted their fighting approaches given the circumstances.

    The book deals with fighting in the bocage, city fighting, river crossings, bunkers, etc. How they fought and solved problems. How ground, artillery, armor and air power learned to work together and how the process evolved over time. The book explains in detail the challenges and the conflicts with old thinking taught in training manuals that had to be adjusted or tossed out completely

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David H Palo Alto, CA United States 08-07-14
    David H Palo Alto, CA United States 08-07-14 Member Since 2012
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    "An important discussion."

    I see somewhat less of a discussion on "How GI's fought" and more of an argument in favor of American ingenuity. The author goes through a number of very interesting examples of how the American Army learned to go beyond existing doctrine to find a true combined arms doctrine. He also speaks to the difference between the school solution and what experience had the American Army actually do in combat. I found it a most compelling argument. Certainly if the preponderance of Arms was all that mattered, then what would be true? Looking at the Bastogne fight, the 101st and other units were outnumbered, and for parts of the battle, lacked the preponderance of Air Power which had characterized the Breakout, yet they prevailed. His appendix on sources, was interesting. I noticed he excluded Stephen Ambrose, which has me wonder what he thinks of Ambrose. It was funny to listen to his argument done in very modern military jargon. I get why, but it was also somehow disconcerting. I was reminded of the purpose of doctrine, and it's limitations. I do think he did a great job in explaining how difficult it would have been to have tried to make big doctrinal shifts after the Normandy Landings, since there was no respite. Worth reading, I know I was wrapped in the narrative and didn't want to put it down. My biggest concern is whether his purpose is more to argue a point rather than give a historical perspective. Does he recognize any weaknesses in his argument. I would have liked to have seen that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Linkoping, Sweden 01-14-13
    David Linkoping, Sweden 01-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent"
    What made the experience of listening to Closing with the Enemy the most enjoyable?

    This book focuses on how battle-events unfolded, and what consquences they had for tactics and doctrine. Something that is extremely rare even in the military history field.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I'm going to go with Napalm. Even though HE artillery fire had more overall impact on the story, Every time napalm was introduced to a scene, it was a blast.


    What about Mel Foster’s performance did you like?

    Good pronounciation. Did a decent job at pronouncing non-english words.


    Any additional comments?

    Put your players to 1.25xspeed. The narrator reads with excruciating slowness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph R Williams Moscow, ID United States 10-30-12
    Joseph R Williams Moscow, ID United States 10-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great listen on US tactics in the ETO"
    Any additional comments?

    I myself prefer the high level operational studies on WWII. This book was a nice change of pace from that genre for me and I enjoyed getting into the nitty gritty about how the average US infantryman fought the enemy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12
    Charles LYNDON STATION, WISCONSIN, United States 11-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Closing With The Enemy."

    An OK Book. I didn't find it that interesting cause I have listened to so many WW ll Books it would have to be something I haven't really heard to much about. I still would recommend this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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