The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. April 1945.

By Leo Kessler

Printed: 1989

Publisher: Leo Cooper. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 3

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Blue cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Because I found Kessler’s book to be an exceptionally informative and well written account of the last major battle fought by American forces in Europe during World War II, it was my intent to submit a review encouraging prospective buyers to purchase a copy. Kessler had written an in depth, detailed and vividly descriptive history of the American army’s final campaign in the spring of 1945 to encircle the last remaining combat units of the German army in western Europe. Commanded by Field Marshal Walter Model, beleaguered German troops were now fighting a last stand, defensive battle in an effort to stem the advance of no less than eighteen American divisions on German soil east of the Rhine. The battle zone, the so-called “Ruhr Pocket”, was the densely populated industrial area in northwest Germany straddling the Rhine’s tributary river, the Ruhr.

The Ruhr pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in April 1945, on the Western Front near the end of World War II in Europe, in the Ruhr Area of Germany. Some 317,000 German troops were taken prisoner along with 24 generals. The Americans suffered 10,000 casualties including 2,000 killed or missing.

Exploiting the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen on 7 March 1945, the U.S. 12th Army Group (General Omar Bradley) advanced rapidly into German territory south of Army Group B (Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal) Walter Model). In the north, the Allied 21st Army Group (Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery) crossed the Rhine in Operation Plunder on 23 March. The lead elements of the two Allied army groups met on 1 April 1945, east of the Ruhr, to create the encirclement of 317,000 German troops to their west.

While the bulk of the U.S. forces advanced east towards the Elbe river, 18 U.S. divisions remained behind to destroy Army Group B. The reduction of the German pocket began on 1 April by the U.S. Ninth Army, with the forces of the U.S. First Army joining on 4 April. For 13 days the Germans delayed or resisted the U.S. advance. On 14 April, the First and Ninth armies met, splitting the German pocket in half and German resistance began to crumble.

Having lost contact with its units, the German 15th Army capitulated the same day. Model dissolved his army group on 15 April and ordered the Volkssturm and non-combatant personnel to discard their uniforms and go home. On 16 April the bulk of the German forces surrendered en masse to the U.S. divisions. Organized resistance came to an end on 18 April. Unwilling to surrender with his rank of field marshal into Allied captivity, Model committed suicide on the afternoon of 21 April.


An American soldier at Rheinwiesenlager guards a massive crowd of German prisoners captured in the Ruhr pocket

Review: I found this: “First published 1989 by Leo Cooper” – “Copyright, Charles Whiting 1989, 2002″… (with no mention of Leo Kessler!) Following that, a hasty Internet search revealed that “Leo Kessler” and “Leo Cooper” were both pseudonyms used by Charles Whiting as pen names early in his writing career.              

Charles Henry Whiting (18 December 1926 – 24 July 2007), was a British writer and military historian and with some 350 books of fiction and non-fiction to his credit, under his own name and a variety of pseudonyms including Duncan Harding, Ian Harding, John Kerrigan, Leo Kessler, Klaus Konrad,[ K.N. Kostov, and Duncan Stirling.

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