The 101st Airborne in Normandy, June 1944...

...a Casemate Illustrated title, new from Casemate Books

Title:  The 101st Airborne in Normandy, June 1944

Author: Yves Buffetaut

Publisher:  Casemate Books

ISBN:  978-1-61200-523-2

This is the second of the Casemate Illustrated series produced in cooperation with the French publisher, Histoire et Collections, who first published this in French language back in 2015 as part of their Militaria series.  This new version is an English translation published under licence by Casemate Books.  

While there were two US airborne divisions involved in the landings on the Cotentin peninsula on D-Day, this is a focussed look at the 101st Airborne, the 'Screaming Eagles'.  Starting with the background to the landings, with parachute and glider borne units all involved.  Chapter 1 deals with Planning and Preparation.  Among the archive photos are the C-47s, Waco Gliders and some Horsas, provided by the British for their larger cargo capacity for the heavy equipment.  Amongst the artwork in the book is an illustration of the 52 C-47 and glider combinations that took part, including the name of the pilot of each one.  This is followed by chapter 2, dealing with the Airborne Invasion itself.  That is followed by another which tells the story of just one company, the men of 'Easy Company' made famous thanks to the US historian Stephen Ambrose and the hugely successful Band of Brothers TV series based on the book.  It leaves the final chapter to tell the story of the capture of the 101st in Carentan.

As well as the detailed text there are plenty of archive photos throughout the book, along with some fine colour artwork, maps and more.  These extras include profiles of both US and German commanders, such as US Brig. General Anthony McAuliffe, who had jumped into Normandy, and who would come to greater fame thanks to his 'Nuts' response to the German surrender demand at Bastogne the following December. On the German side, Oberstleutnant Friedrich Freiherr von der Heydte had taken part in the invasion of Crete, part of the Ramke Brigade in North Africa, in defence of Rome and he commanded Falschirmjager Regiment 6, the 'Lions of Carentan', and who had his men evacuate the town when they were out of ammunition to be able to defend it any longer.

This is a well told story and supported by photos, maps, fine artwork that the modellers among us will enjoy along with other bit of supporting information.  Great too see this English language edition and well worth reading.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin