It was a week of almost incredible military events. In six days the western Allied armies took 189,611 prisoners; in all their battles in World War I the Americans had taken less than one-third of that total. In those six days at least 25,000 Germans had been killed or wounded. These were the casualties of a Wehrmacht falling swiftly apart.
To the Last. There was no overall pattern to German resistance. Along the Netherlands front, in the crisscross of canals, Canadians had to battle for every yard as they drove to link up with another drop of airborne troops. There Field Marshal Johannes Blaskowitz, with his 50,000 troops, faced certain isolation. The Germans blew dikes, set up new lines behind 400 square miles of flooded lowlands. Blaskowitz meant to fight to the last.
To the Elbe. By this week it was clear where all the Allied armies were heading. Field Marshal Montgomery had thrown a left hook aimed for the North Sea and the submarine bases at Emden, Wilhelmshaven. He had columns within shelling range of Bremen. He punched his right hard & fast toward Hamburg, the biggest German port. If the Germans in the north counted upon a last stand in Denmark, or possible flight through it to Norway, Monty might soon scramble their ideas.
U.S. Ninth Army tanks were on the Autobahn to Berlin, only 128 miles away.
The First Army's armor was within 140 miles of the capital, speeding toward the Elbe. As they had cut off the Ruhr, Lieut. Generals Simpson and Hodges were now in position to form another trap, with Berlin as its center. Lieut. General Patton's tankmen were apparently going to face a cohesive enemy on the roads to Leipzig.
The Nazi plan was also clearto string resistance out until the last spring snapped. By now all of Germany, from Hamburg to Vienna, from the Oder to the Ysselmeer, was one gigantic pocket.