On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the sw-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border. Although Hitler's generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. In January 1945, when the Red Army launched its onslaught towards Berlin, the once-feared German war machine was revealed to be broken beyond repair. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the Wehrmacht.
Antony Beevor is the author of Crete - The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize for Literature), Berlin - The Downfall, The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia) and D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (RUSI Westminster Medal). His books have appeared in thirty languages and have sold more than seven million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received four honorary doctorates and a fellowship from King's College London. He is a visiting professor at the University of Kent. He has received the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, and the Medlicott Medal for services to history. Ardennes was shortlisted for the Priz Medicis in France and he was made Commander of the Order of the Crown by the Belgian Government.