"By November 1944, the U.S. 29th Infantry Division had stormed ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day, battled through the hedgerows and towns of Normandy, clashed with German paratroopers for control of Brest, and waged a six-week-long battle of attrition in western Germany, suffering more than 100 percent casualties during these five brutal months---but the division's combat service had not even reached its halfway point. In Our Tortured Souls, acclaimed military historian Joseph Balkoski picks up the story of the 29th on the eve of the all-out offensive intended to carry the Allies to the Rhone River by Christmas and end the war soon thereafter. The plan for the 29th seemed simple enough. As part of Gen. William Simpson's Ninth Army, with the 2nd Armored Division to the north and the 30th Infantry Division to the south, the division was to drive ten miles eastward, breaking through several German strong points, defended by poorly regarded Volksgrenadier soldiers, crossing the Roer, and seizing Jülich, beyond which lay the Rhine and Germany's heartland. The offensive encountered problems from its beginning on November 16, 1944, when it took days, not the expected hours, to crack the Germans' first line of defense. The cold, wet weather slowed the advance, turning roads into mud and inflicting painful trench foot on the soaked 29ers, and the much-maligned Volksgrenadiers tenaciously defended their native soil. By the time the offensive was halted three weeks later on the western banks of the Roer, the 29th Infantry Division had suffered 2,600 casualties but had not crossed the river or captured Jülich. The offensive fell short of its objectives in other sectors as well: The Allies would not reach the Rhine by Christmas, and the war would last another five months. With his trademark combination of meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Balkoski reconstructs this tragic chapter in the history of the 29th Infantry Division."--Jacket of book.