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The Complete Two Part TV Documentary Series Written And Narrated By British Journalist And War Historian Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings On The Beginning, Middle And End Of Germany's War On The Western Front During WWII, From The Allied Landings In Normandy, Through The Land Campaigns Through France And Germany And The Heavy Bomber Air Campaigns Against German Targets And Cities Throughout Europe, To The Last Gasp Of The Third Reich As The Western Allies Met Up With The Russians To Deal The Death Blow Against The German Capitol Of Berlin, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD, MP4 Video Download Or USB Flash Drive! (Color, 1985, 1 Hour 51 Minutes.) #DayDayToVictoryInEurope #FromDDayToVictoryInEurope #VictoryInEurope #WesternSecondFront #WesternSecondFront1944 #VDay #VEDay #V #VE #MaxHastings #DDay #NormandyLandings #BattleOfNormandy #InvasionOfNormandy #OperationNeptune #OperationOverlord #AmphibiousLandings #AlliedAdvanceFromParisToTheRhine #OperationDragoon #BattleOfTheFalaisePocket #FalaisePocket #WesternFrontWWII #LiberationOfFrance #VWeapons #Vergeltungswaffen #Wunderwaffe #Wunderwaffen #VengeanceWeapons #V1 #V2 #V4 #SecretWeapons #SecretWeaponsOfWWII #LiberationOFrance #LiberationOBelgium #LiberationOfTheNetherlands #BattleOfAachen #OperationMarketGarden #BattleOfArnhem #BattleOfGermany #BattleOfGermanyWorldWarII #BattleOfGermanyWWII #WesternAlliedInvasionOfGermany #AlliedInvasionOfGermany #NaziConcentrationCamps #NaziDeathCamps #Holocaust #TheHolocaust #MalmedyMassacre #BattleOfTheBulge #BattleOfBerlin #FallOfBerlin #GermanInstrumentOfSurrender #FirstGermanInstrumentOfSurrender #EndOfWWIIInEurope #SHAEF #VictoryInEuropeDay #GermanSurrenderAtLuneburgHeath #UnconditionalSurrender #DwightDEisenhower #Eisenhower #GeorgeSPatton #BernardMontgomery #GeorgiZhukov#AlfredJodl #KarlDonitz #KarlDoenitz #FranzBoehme #WilhelmKeitel #AlliesOfWorldWarII #AlliesOfWWII #EasternFrontWWII #FranceDuringWorldWarII #FranceDuringWWII #WarCrimes #WarAtrocities #Atrocities #Massacres #EuropeanTheaterOfWWII #EuropeanTheatreOfWWII #WorldWarII #WWII #WW2 #WorldWarTwo #WorldWar2 #SecondWorldWar #SecondEuropeanWar #EuropeanCivilWar #DVD #VideoDownload #MP4 #USBFlashDrive
World War II: The Western Front: The Second Front 1944–45: On 6 June 1944, the Allies began Operation Overlord (also known as "D-Day") - the long-awaited liberation of France. The deception plans, Operation Fortitude and Operation Bodyguard, had the Germans convinced that the invasion would occur in the Pas-de-Calais, while the real target was Normandy. Following two months of slow fighting in hedgerow country, Operation Cobra allowed the Americans to break out at the western end of the lodgement. Soon after, the Allies were racing across France. They encircled around 200,000 Germans in the Falaise Pocket. As had so often happened on the Eastern Front Hitler refused to allow a strategic withdrawal until it was too late. Approximately 150,000 Germans were able to escape from the Falaise pocket, but they left behind most of their irreplaceable equipment and 50,000 Germans were killed or taken prisoner. The Allies had been arguing about whether to advance on a broad-front or a narrow-front from before D-Day. If the British had broken out of the Normandy bridgehead (or beachhead) around Caen when they launched Operation Goodwood and pushed along the coast, facts on the ground might have turned the argument in favour of a narrow front. However, as the breakout took place during Operation Cobra at the western end of the bridge-head, the 21st Army Group that included the British and Canadian forces swung east and headed for Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern Germany, while the U.S. Twelfth Army Group advanced to their south via eastern France, Luxembourg and the Ruhr Area, rapidly fanning out into a broad front. As this was the strategy favoured by the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and most of the American high command, it was soon adopted. On August 15, the Allies launched Operation Dragoon - the invasion of Southern France between Toulon and Cannes. The US Seventh Army and the French First Army, making up the US 6th Army Group, rapidly consolidated this beachhead and liberated southern France in two weeks; they then moved north up the Rhone valley. Their advance only slowed down as they encountered regrouped and entrenched German troops in the Vosges Mountains. The Germans in France were now faced by three powerful Allied army groups: in the north the British 21st Army Group commanded by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, in the center the American 12th Army Group, commanded by General Omar Bradley and to the south the US 6th Army Group commanded by Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers. By mid-September, the 6th Army Group, advancing from the south, came into contact with Bradley's formations advancing from the west and overall control of Devers' force passed from AFHQ in the Mediterranean so that all three army groups came under Eisenhower's central command at SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces). Under the onslaught in both the north and south of France, the German Army fell back. On 19 August, the French Resistance (FFI) organised a general uprising and the liberation of Paris took place on 25 August when general Dietrich von Choltitz accepted the French ultimatum and surrendered to general Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, commander of the Free French 2nd Armored Division, ignoring orders from Hitler that Paris should be held to the last and destroyed. The liberation of northern France and the Benelux countries was of special significance for the inhabitants of London and the southeast of England because it denied the Germans launch sites for their mobile V-1 and V-2 Vergeltungswaffen (reprisal weapons). As the Allies advanced across France, their supply lines stretched to breaking point. The Red Ball Express, the Allied trucking effort, was simply unable to transport enough supplies from the port facilities in Normandy all the way to the front line, which by September, was close to the German border. Major German units in the French southwest that had not been committed in Normandy withdrew, either eastwards towards Alsace (sometimes directly across the US 6th Army Group's advance) or into the ports with the intention of denying them to the Allies. These latter groups were not thought worth much effort and were left "to rot", with the exception of Bordeaux, which was liberated in May 1945 by French forces under General Edgard de Larminat (Operation Venerable). Fighting on the Western front seemed to stabilize, and the Allied advance stalled in front of the Siegfried Line (Westwall) and the southern reaches of the Rhine. Starting in early September, the Americans began slow and bloody fighting through the Hurtgen Forest ("Passchendaele with tree bursts" - Hemingway) to breach the Line. The port of Antwerp was liberated on 4 September by the British 11th Armoured Division. However, it lay at the end of the long Scheldt Estuary, and so it could not be used until its approaches were clear of heavily fortified German positions. The Breskens pocket on the southern bank of the Scheldt was cleared with heavy casualties by allied forces in Operation Switchback, during the Battle of the Scheldt. This was followed by a tedious campaign to clear a peninsula dominating the estuary, and finally, the amphibious assault on Walcheren Island in November. The campaign to clear the Scheldt Estuary along with Operation Pheasant was a decisive victory for the Allies, as it allowed a greatly improved delivery of supplies directly from Antwerp, which was far closer to the front than the Normandy beaches. In October the Americans decided that they could not just invest Aachen and let it fall in a slow siege, because it threatened the flanks of the U.S. Ninth Army. As it was the first major German city to face capture, Hitler ordered that the city be held at all costs. In the resulting battle, the city was taken, at a cost of 5,000 casualties on both sides, with an additional 5,600 German prisoners. South of the Ardennes, American forces fought from September until mid-December to push the Germans out of Lorraine and from behind the Siegfried Line. The crossing of the Moselle River and the capture of the fortress of Metz proved difficult for the American troops in the face of German reinforcements, supply shortages, and unfavorable weather. During September and October, the Allied 6th Army Group (U.S. Seventh Army and French First Army) fought a difficult campaign through the Vosges Mountains that was marked by dogged German resistance and slow advances. In November, however, the German front snapped under the pressure, resulting in sudden Allied advances that liberated Belfort, Mulhouse, and Strasbourg, and placed Allied forces along the Rhine River. The Germans managed to hold a large bridgehead (the Colmar Pocket), on the western bank of the Rhine and centered around the city of Colmar. On 16 November the Allies started a large scale autumn offensive called Operation Queen. With its main thrust again through the Hurtgen Forest, the offensive drove the Allies to the Rur River, but failed in its core objectives to capture the Rur dams and pave the way towards the Rhine. The Allied operations were then succeeded by the German Ardennes offensive. The port of Antwerp was liberated on 4 September by the British 11th Armoured Division. Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, commanding the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group, persuaded the Allied High Command to launch a bold attack, Operation Market Garden, which he hoped would get the Allies across the Rhine and create the narrow-front he favoured. Airborne troops would fly in from the United Kingdom and take bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands in three main cities; Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Arnhem. The British XXX Corps would punch through the German lines along the Maas-Schelde canal and link up with the airborne troops of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Eindhoven, the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division at Nijmegen and the British 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. If all went well XXX Corps would advance into Germany without any remaining major obstacles. XXX Corps was able to advance beyond six of the seven airborne-held bridges but was unable to link up with the troops near the bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem. The result was the near-destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem, which sustained almost 8,000 casualties. The offensive ended with Arnhem remaining in German hands and the Allies holding an extended salient from the Belgian border to the area between Nijmegen and Arnhem. The Germans had been preparing a massive counter-attack in the West since the Allied breakout from Normandy. The plan called Wacht am Rhein ("Watch on the Rhine") was to attack through the Ardennes and swing north to Antwerp, splitting the American and British armies. The attack started on 16 December in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Defending the Ardennes were troops of the US First Army. Initial successes in bad weather, which gave them cover from the Allied air forces, resulted in a German penetration of over 80 km (50 mi) to within less than 16 km (10 mi) of the Meuse. Having been taken by surprise, the Allies regrouped and the Germans were stopped by a combined air and land counter-attack which eventually pushed them back to their starting points by 25 January 1945. The Germans launched a second, smaller offensive (Nordwind) into Alsace on 1 January 1945. Aiming to recapture Strasbourg, the Germans attacked the 6th Army Group at multiple points. Because the Allied lines had become severely stretched in response to the crisis in the Ardennes, holding and throwing back the Nordwind offensive was a costly affair that lasted almost four weeks. The culmination of Allied counter-attacks restored the front line to the area of the German border and collapsed the Colmar Pocket. In January 1945 the German bridgehead over the river Roer between Heinsberg and Roermond was cleared during Operation Blackcock. This was followed by a pincer movement of the First Canadian Army in Operation Veritable advancing from the Nijmegen area of the Netherlands, and the US Ninth Army crossing the Roer in Operation Grenade. Veritable and Grenade were planned to start on 8 February 1945, but Grenade was delayed by two weeks when the Germans flooded the Roer valley by destroying the gates of the Rur Dam upstream. Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt requested permission to withdraw east behind the Rhine, arguing that further resistance would only delay the inevitable, but was ordered by Hitler to fight where his forces stood. By the time the water had subsided and the US Ninth Army was able to cross the Roer on 23 February, other Allied forces were also close to the Rhine's west bank. Von Rundstedt's divisions, which had remained on the west bank, were cut to pieces in the ''battle of the Rhineland' - 280,000 men were taken prisoner. With a large number of men captured, the stubborn German resistance during the Allied campaign to reach the Rhine in February and March 1945 had been costly. Total losses reached an estimated 400,000 men. By the time they prepared to cross the Rhine in late March, the Western Allies had taken 1,300,000 German soldiers prisoner in western Europe. The crossing of the Rhine was achieved at four points: One was an opportunity taken by US forces when the Germans failed to blow up the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen, one crossing was a hasty assault, and two crossings were planned. Bradley and his subordinates quickly exploited the Remagen crossing made on 7 March and expanded the bridgehead into a full-scale crossing. Bradley told General Patton whose U.S. Third Army had been fighting through the Palatinate, to "take the Rhine on the run". The Third Army did just that on the night of 22 March, crossing the river with a hasty assault south of Mainz at Oppenheim. In the North Operation Plunder was the name given to the assault crossing of the Rhine at Rees and Wesel by the British 21st Army Group on the night of 23 March. It included the largest airborne operation in history, which was codenamed Operation Varsity. At the point the British crossed the river, it is twice as wide, with a far higher volume of water, as the points where the Americans crossed and Montgomery decided it could only be crossed with a carefully planned operation. In the Allied 6th Army Group area, the US Seventh Army assaulted across the Rhine in the area between Mannheim and Worms on 26 March. A fifth crossing on a much smaller scale was later achieved by the French First Army at Speyer. Once the Allies had crossed the Rhine, the British fanned out northeast towards Hamburg crossing the river Elbe and on towards Denmark and the Baltic. British forces captured Bremen on 26 April after a week of combat. British and Canadian paratroopers reached the Baltic city of Wismar just ahead of Soviet forces on 2 May. The US Ninth Army, which had remained under British command since the battle of the Bulge, went south as the northern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement as well as pushing elements east. XIX Corps of the Ninth Army captured Magdeburg on 18 April and the US XIII Corps to the north occupied Stendal. The US 12th Army Group fanned out, and the First Army went north as the southern pincer of the Ruhr encirclement. On 4 April the encirclement was completed and the Ninth Army reverted to the command of Bradley's 12th Army Group. The German Army Group B commanded by Field Marshal Walther Model was trapped in the Ruhr Pocket and 300,000 soldiers became POWs. The Ninth and First American armies then turned east and pushed to the Elbe river by mid-April. During the push east, the cities of Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Magdeburg, Halle and Leipzig were strongly defended by ad hoc German garrisons made up of regular troops, Flak units, Volkssturm and armed Nazi Party auxiliaries. Generals Eisenhower and Bradley concluded that pushing beyond the Elbe made no sense since eastern Germany was destined in any case to be occupied by the Red Army. The First and Ninth Armies stopped along the Elbe and Mulde rivers, making contact with Soviet forces near the Elbe in late April. The US Third Army had fanned out to the east into western Czechoslovakia and southeast into eastern Bavaria and northern Austria. By V-E Day, the US 12th Army Group was a force of four armies (First, Third, Ninth and Fifteenth) that numbered over 1.3 million men. The US 6th Army Group fanned out to the southwest, passing to the east of Switzerland through Bavaria and into Austria and northern Italy. The Black Forest and Baden were overrun by the French First Army. Determined stands were made in April by German forces at Heilbronn, Nuremberg, and Munich but were overcome after several days. Elements of the US 3rd Infantry Division were the first Allied troops to arrive at Berchtesgaden, which they secured, while the French 2nd Armoured Division seized the Berghof (Hitler's Alpine residence) on 4 May 1945. German Army Group G surrendered to US forces at Haar, in Bavaria, on 5 May. Field Marshal Montgomery took the German military surrender of all German forces in The Netherlands, northwest Germany and Denmark on Luneburg Heath, an area between the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen, on 4 May 1945. As the operational commander of some of these forces was Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, the new Reichsprasident (head of state) of the Third Reich this signaled that the European war was over. On 7 May at his headquarters in Rheims, Eisenhower took the unconditional surrender of all German forces to the western Allies and the Soviet Union, from the German Chief-of-Staff, General Alfred Jodl, who signed the first general instrument of surrender at 0241 hours. General Franz Bohme announced the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway. Operations ceased at 2301 hours Central European time (CET) on 8 May. On that same day Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, as head of OKW and Jodl's superior, was brought to Marshal Georgy Zhukov in Karlshorst and signed another instrument of surrender that was essentially identical to that signed in Rheims with two minor additions requested by the Soviets.