Excerpt from an early draft of the manuscript for a book entitled: “Eisenhower and Summersby: The General and His Wartime Aide.”
By the time he received his fifth star in December 1945, Eisenhower had been responsible for the success of four amphibious operations (which Clausewitz called the most difficult tactical maneuver). The last, at Normandy, involving 156,000 men in one day, was the largest in history. It was part of a larger assault codenamed “Overlord” — with its D-Day naval phase codenamed “Neptune.” The former included not just the landings but the ensuing campaign on the European continent to destroy the German army and Hitler’s regime. It thus met Clausewitz’s definition of “an offensive for the total overthrow of the enemy,” an undertaking recalling Napoleon’s ill-fated invasion of Russia in 1812 – that was the most difficult strategic military undertaking. The enemy is on the defensive, always the stronger mode of battle. He is behind fortifications on familiar terrain, protecting his home soil, and if he retreats, he has ever shorter lines for reinforcement and supply.