A near-future, neo-Nazi putsch in Germany catches US armed forces by surprise--in a largely realistic first novel about mechanized warfare by a West Point professor. The scenario is unpleasantly credible. As the German state starts to collapse under its crushing financial burdens, a charismatic fascist general uses a series of staged ""accidents"" to whip up anti-Semitic and anti-American feelings and make possible his seizure of the German military machinery. The moment is right. The Americans are reducing their presence on the Continent, and their thinly defended cache of nuclear weapons is still in the ground in Kriegspiel, ripe for the taking. Warnings of the danger are swept under the rug by the departing American general whose mind is fully occupied with final parades and parties. The assassination of the top US brass at one of those galas leaves cuckolded but capable Colonel Alexander Stern in command of his mechanized infantry brigade. Colonel Stern and his next-ranking officer, a rather rebellious Green Beret, quickly realize that they and their troops are the only possible defenders of the nuclear cache. They mount up their tanks, armed carriers, and other clanking beasts and grind down the autobahn to the rescue. Their opposition in the battle is led by a man they both know from happier days when the Germans and the Americans trained together. It will not be a walkover, and if the Americans fail, the Israelis are ready to nuke everybody for the sake of world peace. The military technicalities are, at times, more impenetrable than the armor plating--and elimination of air defense for the sake of the plot may be more than some armchair generals can swallow--but the ground war bristles with authenticity. Not for beginners.