Eisenhower's Guerrillas : The Jedburghs, the Maquis, and the Liberation of France
Overview - The challenges facing General Dwight Eisenhower before the Invasion of Normandy were not merely military but political as well. He knew that to liberate France, and to hold it, the Allies needed local help, which would necessitate coordinating with the highly independent French resistance groups known collectively as the maquis. Read more...
More About Eisenhower's Guerrillas by Benjamin F. Jones
The challenges facing General Dwight Eisenhower before the Invasion of Normandy were not merely military but political as well. He knew that to liberate France, and to hold it, the Allies needed local help, which would necessitate coordinating with the highly independent French resistance groups known collectively as the maquis. The Allies' objective was to push the Germans out of France. The French objective, on the other hand, was a France free of all foreign armies, including the Allies. President Roosevelt refused to give full support to Charles de Gaulle, whom he mistrusted, and declined to supply the timing, location, and other key details of Operation Overlord to his Free French government. Eisenhower's hands were tied. He needed to involve the French, but without simultaneously involving them in operational planning.
Into this atmosphere of tension and confusion jumped teams consisting of three officers each -- one from the British Special Operations Bureau, one from the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, one from the Free French Bureau Central de Renseignement -- as well as a radioman from any one of the three nations. Known as the Jedburghs, their primary purpose was to serve as liaisons to the maquis, working to arm, train, and equip them. They were to incite guerilla warfare.
Benjamin Jones' Eisenhower's Guerrillas
is the first book to show in detail how the Jedburghs -- whose heroism and exploits have been widely celebrated -- and the maquis worked together. Underscoring the critical and often overlooked role that irregular warfare played in Allied operations on the Continent, it tells the story of the battle for and liberation of France and the complexities that threatened to undermine the operation before it even began.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In this solid history, Jones, professor of history at Dakota State University in Madison, S.Dak., details the campaign code named Jedburgh, conducted in occupied France during the months after D-Dayone of the most successful and least familiar special operations of WWII. He clarifies the complex synergy of political and military considerations that shaped the fragile coordination of British and U.S. special forces; the French resistance fought with the Allies militarily but against them politically and pursued distinctively French objectives. Joness major contribution is to demonstrate that the French Résistance successfully achieved all its aims, often despite Britain and America. This unlikely outcome reflected Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhowers recognition that the invasion needed the resistance militarily, to disrupt the German rear areas, and administratively, to assume government functions in liberated areas. It also showed Charles de Gaulles ability to maintain the notion of French sovereignty in the face of German occupation, Vichys legacy, and British attempts to conduct British policy as Britain saw fit. The combat record of the Jedburgh/Maquis collaboration was mixed and complicated, with successes having more to do with Wehrmacht choices than Allied plans. Nevertheless, Jones confirms that cooperation between the resistance and the Allies meant the difference between a failed insurgency and a successful revolution. (Feb.)