Following the successful landing by the Allied armies in Normandy in June 1944, Hitler's forces battled for two months to contain the bridgehead. However, when his last-ditch attempt to recover the initiative with Operation Luttich, the counter-attack from Mortain on August 7, failed, it was an implied admission that his armies in the West had been defeated.
From that starting point, Jean Paul Pallud takes up the story, following in the footsteps of the Germans as they retreat across France. The next days and weeks were ones of confusion for the German command with staffs and technical services dispersed; command and communication virtually non-existent; roads congested and strafed and directives to build new stop-lines almost immediately rendered obsolete by the flow of events, all within a matter of a few days.
Although the Germans lost nearly 300,000 men during the retreat, either killed, wounded, missing, or taken prisoner, nevertheless it was not necessarily an Allied victory as by the beginning of September German forces had turned round and were once more standing firm, this time along the 650 kilometres between Switzerland and the North Sea.
This, then, is that story told through hundreds of 'then and now' comparison photographs by the author. Included also are some quite amazing discoveries that he made along the way.