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As 6th June, the 75th anniversary of the world’s largest amphibian invasion fast approaches, it was, perhaps, perfect timing to have the opportunity to read and review this gem of a book.
Interspersed with personal anecdotes from those who were there, complimented by some excellent photographs, maps and diagrams, and littered with incredible stories of bravery, D-Day is a fascinating insight into not only what happened on the day of the invasion but also the huge range of talent, ingenuity and downright genius that came into play as Operation Overlord was organised and kept secret from the occupying German forces.
Trickery, subterfuge, technology and invention all played their part. Will Fowler has created an excellent work for people who would like to understand how the liberation of Europe began but who don’t have the will or the time to wade through the vast array of works written on the subject.
This book brings it all together in sufficient detail that you can appreciate and applaud without being bogged down. I learned a lot from reading this book, an awful lot, and my respect for the generation who gave so many lives that we may enjoy ours, grew with that experience.
In any military operation throughout history, few 24-hour periods have been as crucial as that of 6 June 1944. Nearly 7000 ships landed over 132,000 US, British and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy in the biggest amphibious landing ever attempted. During that first day, the Allied forces were at their most vulnerable to German counterattack, as Field Marshal Rommel had realised. Had the Germans mounted a significant attack and the landings failed as a result, the course of the war in Europe would have been significantly altered. With the aid of specially commissioned maps, D-Day: The First 24 Hours describes the dramatic history of the first 24 hours of the Normandy landings and explains in detail the events that occurred in each landing zone. The book begins with an overview of the immense preparations for the landings and the location of German forces around Normandy. The Allies, able to read the secret German Enigma codes and thus discover the Germans' dispositions, were desperate to persuade the Germans that the landing would be in the Pas de Calais area north east of Normandy, and the various Allied deception plans are described. D-Day: The First 24 Hours then gives a dedicated chapter to the airborne and glider landings that preceded the main assault, before describing each of the individual beach landings in turn, from west to east. Five beaches were the battlefields for the beginning of the liberation of Europe - codenamed Utah and Omaha for the US beaches, and Gold, Juno and Sword for the British and Canadian. Each landing operation is fully detailed, including the slaughter of US troops at Omaha beach, the chaotic scattering of airborne forces throughout the French countryside, the logistical nightmare of consolidating each bridgehead, the British and Canadian failure to push into Caen, and smaller actions such as the US Rangers scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to clear German gun batteries.
Publication date: 07/03/2019
Publisher: Amber Books Ltd
|Publication date:||7th March 2019|
|Publisher:||Amber Books Ltd|
|Categories:||Battles & campaigns, Second World War, Theory of warfare & military science,|
Will Fowler has worked in journalism and publishing since 1972, specialising in military history. He is the author of several books on the subject.More About Will Fowler