65 years ago:
The Sixth Army Group reached the Rhine at Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 24, and its commander, Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, looked across its muddy waters into Germany. His force, made up of the United States Seventh and French First Armies, 350,000 men, had landed Aug. 15 near Marseille — an invasion largely overlooked by history but regarded at the time as “the second D-Day” — and advanced through southern France to Strasbourg. No other Allied army had yet reached the Rhine, not even hard-charging George Patton’s.
Could a November, 1944, crossing of the Rhine from the southern invasion force have “pre-empted” the German Ardennes offensive, also known as the Battle of the Bulge?
A book by David P. Colley, Decision at Strasbourg: Ike’s Strategic Mistake to Halt the Sixth Army Group at the Rhine in 1944 blames the missed opportunity on Eisenhower’s dislike of Gen. Devers and cautious nature.
I’ve not read the book (though it looks interesting) and must admit that I don’t know enough to have an opinion on the matter. As we approach the 65th anniversary of the Bulge, what do MO readers think? Would a southern Rhine crossing have derailed the German counter offensive before it began?
UPDATE: Also, I wonder if the absence of British forces in 6th Army Group had anything to do with the decision. Just wondering out loud.