The Supreme Commander to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the operations in Europe of the Allied Expeditionary Force 6 June 1944 to May 1945

our positions in this area improved. Coincidentally with approving the Arnhem operation, it was directed that operations be undertaken to clear Antwerp as a supply port on the north, essential to our continued offensive action. This was accomplished in November. While our forces moved slowly in attacks launched at selected points on the front to close to the Rhine, the enemy on 16 December launched a desperate and last counterattack designed to throw our campaign into disorder and to delay our planned advance deep into Germany. The attack was not without its immediate effect upon us, but the sturdy defense by our forces followed by our rapid and continuous counterattacks brought home clearly to Germany’s military leaders that this last effort had failed completely and that the Nazi war machine faced inevitable disaster. M y plan was to destroy the German forces west of the Rhine along the entire length of the front in a series of heavy blows beginning in the north, and it was my expectation that the enemy would, ashe had done in Normandy, stand without giving ground in a futile attempt to “fight it out ”west of the Rhine. Moreover, the air forces were used intensively to destroy his mobility. By March, when our forces crossed the river north of the Ruhr, at Remagen, and at various points to the south, resistance on the eastern bank was again reduced to resemble that in France following the breakthrough, particularly because the enemy, mistaking our intentions, crowded a great part of his remaining forces into the Ruhr area. Our attack to isolate the Ruhr had been planned so that the main effort would take place on the front of the Northern Group of Armies with a secondary effort on the Central Group of Armies’ front. This secondary effort was to be exploited to the full if success seemed imminent. Clearing the left bank of the Rhine throughout its length released the means required to strengthen this secondary effort. With the capture of the Remagen bridgehead and the destruction of enemy forces west of the Rhine, the anticipated opportunity became almost a certainty. Our forces were now able to bridge the Rhine in all sectors and they fanned out in great mobile spearheads through Western Germany, disrupting communications, isolating one unit from another, and in the area of the Ruhr completing perhaps the largest double envelopment in history, rendering that great industrial area useless to support what was left of the Nazi armies. As our forces moved rapidly eastward with the main effort in the center, to estab­lish contact with the advancing Russian armies at the Elbe, and in turn to swing swiftly north and south to cutoff any remaining refuge, the German High Command reluctantly recognized defeat and belatedly initiated negotiations which terminated with unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945. In these campaigns the United States of America and Great Britain worked as one nation, pooling their resources of men and material. To the Combined Chiefs of Staff, through whom the directives of the two governments were expressed, we constantly accorded our admiration for their well-devised system of command by which they applied the concerted national efforts. Their political leaders, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister, also contributed immeasur­ably to the success of our armies in the field once they had committed themselves to a course of action they never failed to give us unstinted support. References in this document to the operations of Allied and enemy units are based upon contemporary reports received at SIlA E F .Often these reports were not clear o r wrere fragmentary. The narration of our operations in full and accurate detail will be more adequately performed by historians, w'ho, aided by the complete records, will be able to present in their true perspective the magnificent achievements of each of the manifold units which composed the Allied Expeditionary Force.
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