Book Review: The Tigers of Bastogne: Voices of the 10th Armored Division in the Battle of the Bulge

The Tigers of Bastogne: Voices of the 10th Armored Division in the Battle of the Bulge by Michael Collins and Martin King is an account of the actions of the 10th Armored Division at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Michael Collins has been a historical interpreter and museum staffer for the New England Air Museum, the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum, the Irish American Heritage Museum, and the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center. He lives in Hartford, Connecticut. Martin King is a British citizen who resides in Belgium. He is the author of Voices of the Bulge, a series of interviews with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. 

The Tigers are the young 10th Armored Division, part of Paton’s 3rd Army, who had a divisional motto of “Terrify and Destroy”. They were tasked with defending Bastogne against what would be eight German Divisions who completely surrounded them. The Americans were outnumbered 5-1 and without proper cold weather gear, food, and ammunition. The 10th AD would receive support from the 101st Airborne Division and air drops. The 101st , however, would receive most of the credit for holding Bastogne in the media and the minds of many. This was Germany’s last ditch offensive to try and turn the tide of the war and they did not hold back. Hitler took a personal interest in Bastogne after the American media compared it to the Alamo. Not only was this a battle for a piece of land it became a psychological battle for morale and support at home. 

General Anthony McAuliffe, of the 101st Airborne (and “Nuts” fame), said, “It seems regrettable to me that Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division didn’t get the credit it deserved at the battle of Bastogne. All the newspaper and radio talk was about the paratroopers. Actually the 10th Armored Division was in there a day before we were and had some very hard fighting before we ever got into it.” 

Collins and King attempt to correct a historical misconception and properly assign credit to the the 10th Armor Division. They retell the battle, day by day, using records, reports, and an abundance of personal journal entries from soldier who fought the battle. Also included are the narratives form Silver and Bronze Star recommendations. The soldier’s journals come from across the ranks from privates up to colonels. The book reads move like a thesis than than a narrative history. The writing has a distinct purpose and its style helps in presenting the case. Rather than just telling the story the authors’ goal is to separate historical fact from the media hype of 1944. 

Although the book presents a vast amount of information and great detail, some previous knowledge of the Battle of the Bulge is very helpful. The authors assume the reader already have plenty of background information; more of a lead in to the battle would be helpful. The additional maps provided a visual picture to the the text. The authors’ purposes are met and they succeed in making their case. There can be little doubt in the readers mind that the 10th AD did stand strong at Bastogne and deserve credit for doing so. This book is recommended for military and World War II historians.

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