ORDER OF BATTLE by Ib J. Melchior


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A good, taut, action-suspense tale of crucial military-intelligence operations during the last days of German resistance to the Allies in April, 1945. The novel is based on the author's own wartime experiences, but substantial research has enabled him to recreate both sides of the desperate race for time in which the Nazi Werewolves, a fanatical, highly trained guerrilla organization, attempted to establish an impregnable base in the Bavarian Alps (die Alpenfestung) and to begin behind-the-lines sabotage and harassment tactics, including the assassination of General Eisenhower; while men of the U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps, having caught wind of these fantastic plans almost by accident during routine interrogation of refugees, struggle to convince skeptical superiors and personally lead the perilous search for hidden Werewolf headquarters. The book effectively and economically portrays both the terrified scramble and the tense, heroic risks of the last days of war; and perhaps best of all, the exquisite paranoia of times in which a construction worker, a farmer manuring his field, a frightened Fraulein, or even a wounded GI may metamorphose into a Werewolf. Character is minimal, emotions unobtrusively hadkneyed; military men grin and damn and josh and retch and try to repress formulaic yearnings of the heart and groin. But it doesn't matter much, for action is paramount here, and Melchior provides not one but two real squeaker endings for a fine adrenalin high.

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row