The GI Offensive in Europe

The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941–1945

Peter R. Mansoor

Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Book Award

Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award

“This valuable account deserves a spot on the shelves alongside the works of Stephen Ambrose and Paul Fussell.”

Kirkus Reviews

“From the mobilization of an ill-trained and poorly equipped army in 1940 to the juggernaut of 69 infantry divisions by 1945, Mansoor provides a thoughtful and highly readable analysis along the bloody road to victory over the German army. A powerful story; strongly recommended.”

Library Journal
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Choice Outstanding Title

The German Wehrmacht was one of the most capable fighting forces the world has ever known, but in the end it was no match for the Allies. Some historians contend that the Allies achieved victory through brute force and material superiority. But, as Peter Mansoor argues, all of the material produced by U.S. industry was useless without trained soldiers to operate it, a coherent doctrine for its use, and leaders who could effectively command the formations into which it was organized.

This book provides a comprehensive study of America's infantry combat performance in Europe during World War II, showing that the Army succeeded by developing combat effective divisions that could not only fight and win battles, but also sustain that effort over years of combat. While American industry admittedly enabled the U.S. to sustain its overseas armies, the effectiveness of those forces ultimately rested on their organizational capabilities and ability to adapt to combat in a variety of lethal environments and to learn from their mistakes.

Mansoor analyzes the impact of personnel and logistical systems on the Army's strength, explaining how leaders used these systems to keep a small number of divisions at a high state of combat effectiveness. During the critical battles of 1944-45, American divisions were able to sustain this high level while their Wehrmacht counterparts disintegrated, demonstrating that the Army's endurance in extended combat was the most critical factor in its ultimate success. Mansoor also takes a close look at the personalities and capabilities of division commanders, infantry tactics and operations, logistics, and the benefits and weaknesses of stateside training.

The American army won, asserts Mansoor, because unit for unit at the division level it was more effective than its adversaries. By showing how U.S. infantry developed more quickly and fought better than commonly believed, The GI Offensive in Europe contributes significantly to the history of the U.S. Army in the European theater and to our overall understanding of military effectiveness.

About the Author

Peter R. Mansoor is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, currently serving as Special Assistant to the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, The Joint Staff. In June 1999 he will become Commander of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, at Fort Hood, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University and has taught military history at West Point

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series