After D-Day in 1944 many British troops believed the war would be over by Christmas. The German Army in Normandy had been destroyed, but by Christmas the Allies were still fighting through Holland, whilst the Germans had reorganised and were fighting back.
Ken Tout, using his own experiences on the frontline and interviews with many veterans, recounts how the last gasps of the German Army saw some of the fiercest and most fanatical fighting of the whole war. Major offensives include Hitler's last desperate attempt to reverse the tide of war in the Battle of the Bulge and the Western Allies' epic struggle to cross the Rhine. Also explored are the lesser known, but no less important, battles for the Hochwald and Reichwald, and the extraordinary journey of the Polish 1st Armoured Division from defeat and exile to final victory. This last year of war is filled with stories from the tragedy of whole groups of men being frozen to death in battle areas to the triumph of logistics, ingenuity and bravery. Soldiers, who had lived for so long under the horrors of war that as they neared the end their desperate desire to survive grew ever stronger, speak of how these last battles took their toll on a wearied army.
Fighting continued up to VE Day in May and some units were in action for days longer as confusion reigned about the enemy surrender. Even after the fighting had finished, the war was not over for these men who had to round up and guard German prisoners of war, and watch over thousands of displaced people. As our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan remind us today, war does not necessarily end when a ceasefire is declared.