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Book Review
Metz 1944
Metz 1944 Patton’s Fortified Nemesis
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

General George Patton’s most controversial campaign was the series of battles in autumn 1944 along the German frontier, which centered on the city of Metz. The Moselle region was the gateway to central Germany and had been fortified repeatedly over the centuries and it took nearly four months, from September through December 1944, for Patton’s Third Army to capture the Metz-Thionville fortified zone. This region had been fortified since ancient times, heavily rebuilt by France in the post-Napoleonic period, modernized by Germany in 1870-1914, and extensively strengthened by France during the Maginot effort in 1935-40. Patton’s Third Army had little experience in cracking open a classic fortified zone, and had to learn the hard way, by brutal, bloody experience. **

** Author’s words quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Metz 1944 Patton’s fortified nemesis as Number 242 in their Campaign series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, 1 color photograph, color illustrations, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-591-5. As the title states, the book covers the city of Metz in 1944 and the operations to seize the fortified city during World War II.
- Chronology
- The Strategic Setting
- Opposing Commanders
o American commanders
o German commanders
- Opposing Forces
o US Army
o German Army
- Opposing Plans
o American plans
o German plans
- Campaign
o Operation Thunderbolt: Fort Driant
o The October pause
o Operation Madison begins: XII Corps
o Operation Madison begins: XX Corps
o The battle for Metz
o On to the Saar: XII Corps
o XX Corps advances beyond Metz
- The Campaign In Retrospect
- The Battlefield Today
- Further Reading
- Index
The text in the book is well written and gives a detailed account of the city of Metz in 1944 and the operations to seize the fortified city during World War II. The book didn’t contain any spelling or grammatical errors that I could find as I read through it. As with his other publications, Steven J. Zaloga has gone to great lengths to research the city of Metz and the fighting that took place there in 1944 as the allies launched their attacks to seize the city in the Moselle region as it was the gateway they needed to push into central Germany. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order and are well written. Zaloga covers and discusses the fighting in the area conducted by the allied and axis forces, the various operations that were carried out and their outcomes and the overall success of taking Metz and its defenses. Anyone interested in the fighting for the city of Metz and the surrounding area, its bunkers, anti-tank barriers and all other defensive positions and World War Two military history will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.
There are a total of 71 black and white photographs and 1 color photograph. The majority of the photographs are very nice and will help the military vehicle, figure and diorama modeler well. They range from aerial photographs to overall wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. They contain subjects such as aircraft, vehicles and armor, troops, commanders, buildings and the fortifications of the city of Metz themselves. There are a few well known and often published photographs and several that I have not seen before. I appreciate the fact that there are photographs that are new to me as this makes this volume even more exciting for me to sit down and read. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. Zaloga has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the city of Metz in 1944 and the operations to seize the fortified city and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent photographs that will help out the armor and non-armored vehicle modeler, the figure modeler and even the aircraft modeler. Many of the photographs could assist the diorama modeler for inspiration for many projects due to the wealth of details they contain.
There are 4 black and white illustrations and 3 color illustrations by illustrator Steve Noon that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:

- Key to military symbols (B&W)
- Air Strike On Fort Driant (Color)
- Air Strike On Fort Driant, same image with detailed caption (B&W)
- Blasting The Moselle Bridgehead (Color)
- Blasting The Moselle Bridgehead same image with detailed caption (B&W)
- Tank Skirmish At Guébling, November 14, 1944 (Color)
- Tank Skirmish At Guébling, November 14, 1944 same image with detailed caption (B&W)
There are 8 maps included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:

- The strategic situation, September 25, 19444
- West-Stellung defense lines in Lorraine
- Festung Metz
- Attack on Fort Driant, September 27-October 12, 1944
- XX Corps Crosses The Moselle At Thionville, November 9-14, 1944
- The encirclement of Metz, November 9-19
- Battle For Metz, November 14-19, 1944
- The Lorraine Offensive, November 8 to December 19, 1944
There are 3 informational charts provided which are well done, nicely detailed and cover:

- Third US Army
- 1. Armee (AOK 1)
- Heeresgruppe G assessment of correlation of forces in Lorraine
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through them. They go into very specific detail as to the individuals shown and their contributions during the campaigns, detailed information on vehicles, both armored and non-armored, such as their type, location, unit they are attached to, and when appropriate, the date that they were destroyed and who destroyed them. The details themselves are basically miniature history lessons as they detailed what is happening, or happened, in the photographs and give specific detail as to what was done afterword and by who. I was very impressed by Zaloga’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.
I am impressed with the book as it examines and discusses the city of Metz and the fighting that took place there in 1944 very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
The German Fortress Of Metz 1870-1944
Fortress No. 48
Clayton Donnell
Osprey Publishing

War Leader book No. 1
Charles Whiting
Ballantine’s Illustrated History of World War II

Osprey web site:

Amazon web site with an inside search of this title:
Highs: Nicely written text and captionsNice period photographs
Lows: The quality of some of the photographs
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of the fighting that took place the city of Metz in 1944 that is well researched and written.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-591-5
  Suggested Retail: US $19.95 / UK £14.99 / C
  PUBLISHED: Mar 18, 2012

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


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