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The Last German Victory (Hardback)

Operation Market Garden, 1944

WWII Arnhem Military

By Aaron Bates, Foreword by David Stahel
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399000765
Published: 30th November 2021

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Operation Market Garden – the Allied airborne invasion of German-occupied Holland in September 1944 – is one of the most famous and controversial Allied failures of the Second World War. Many books have been written on the subject seeking to explain the defeat. Historians have generally focused on the mistakes made by senior commanders as they organized the operation. The choice of landing zones has been criticized, as has the structure of the airlift plan. But little attention has been paid to the influence that combat doctrine and training had upon the relative performance of the forces involved. And it is this aspect that Aaron Bates emphasizes in this perceptive, closely argued and absorbing re-evaluation of the battle.

As he describes each phase of the fighting he shows how German training, which gave their units a high degree of independence of action, better equipped them to cope with the confusion created by the surprise Allied attack. In contrast, the British forces were hampered by their rigid and centralized approach which made it more difficult for them to adapt to the chaotic situation.

Aaron Bates’s thought-provoking study sheds fresh light on the course of the fighting around Arnhem and should lead to a deeper understanding of one of the most remarkable episodes in the final stage of the Second World War in western Europe.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the way it was laid out, in that it gives you the events as they happened but then also the events from both sides as to how it played out, the book then looks at a number of the situations that occurred and then eventually comes to a conclusion which I found very balanced. Supporting the book is about 20 black and white photographs with great detailed descriptions that comes with them, a great addition to the book. An excellent piece of work by the author and a book I would highly recommend.

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UK Historian

It brings fresh-light on a wartime episode that continues to fascinate.

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Phil Curme

This is a thoroughly readable book, helped by the numerous case studies, and Bates has given students of Operation Market Garden much to think about.

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Beating Tsundoku

This is a well-researched and extensively referenced analysis of Operation Market Garden in 1944, from the German point of view. We've all read the books and seen the films from the British perspective. This is the view from 'the other side' and the last so-called German victory of the Second World War. The 20 photos in this well-balanced account all have comprehensive notes and set the tone for what is a recommended and scholarly study of this failed allied initiative.

5 stars

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Paul Nixon

Superbly told account of Operation Market Garden, one of the most spectacular allied failures during WW2.

Books Monthly

It is a first-rate study that gives us not just a new perspective on Operation Market Garden, but provides a model for why military culture matters.

David Stahel, from the foreword

The subject of German military doctrine in WW2 is I think a much overlooked element in explaining the ability of the Wehrmacht soldier to achieve incredible success in the face of overwhelming odds. True, the Allied superiority in almost every aspect of total war prevailed eventually but time and again the doctrine of auftragstaktik enabled disrupted German units to reassemble in various pragmatic forms and to succeed at a tactical level. The story of how the German units in and around Arnhem succeeded in holding and delaying the various elements of the Market Garden plan has been dissected and explained by the author in a magnificent book that properly counters the usual ‘Allied failures’ and rightly concludes that the Germans won through better tactical doctrine and better tactical weapons that allowed local junior commanders (including NCO’s) to take decisions and make a difference. In what appears to be his first book, Aaron Bates has produced an absolute gem that cohesively draws together an alternative insight into Market Garden.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Aaron Bates

Aaron Bates is a recent Master’s graduate from the University of Calgary’s Department of History. His research has been focused on the military history of the Second World War, particularly the operational and tactical performance of the German military and the relationship between theory and practice in combat doctrine. His undergraduate thesis ‘The Last Bridge to Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe Air Transport Force and the Failure of the Stalingrad Airlift’ received the Dr Stephen J. Randall Prize in History and was published in revised form in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies as ‘For Want of the Means: A Logistical Appraisal of the Stalingrad Airlift’.


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