D-Day 1944 The Making of Victory..
... from The History Press
Title: D-Day 1944 The Making of Victory
Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones
Publisher: The History Press
This new book on the topic of D-Day comes from historian Anthony Tucker-Jones, in the year of the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord. The basic structure of the book revolves about the question of Problem Solving, and it is interweaved with the historical events along with a lot of personal accounts from those who were involved. The introduction leads us in with an account of the landing Royal Marine Close-Support Centaurs on the day itself. The first of the 24 chapters then looks back at the failure of the Dieppe raid back in 1942. That failure was to provide lessons to the Allied attackers as well as the German defenders.
So the book goes on to consider the level of detail which the planners went into, and particularly the mechanics that were needed to ensure the invasion was a success. These include the development of the Mulberry Harbours, of which 2 were planned, along with the variety of specialised AFVs operated by the 79th Armoured Division under Percy Hobart, the 'Funnies'. Building and testing all these bits of kit, as well as landing craft, all needed time to be built, and their existence/purpose disguised to be hidden from German discovery. Even the detail of confusing the German intelligence service over where the landings would take place were all vital. You can read how the RAF planned their offensive operations to add to the confusion, and try to reinforce the idea that the invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy, and keep vital numbers of German units away from the actual invasion area.
Then once the invasion had happened, there were the actions that took place on the ground, and the subsequent decisions made by both sides as a result. Germany suffered large losses of men and equipment in the Falaise Pocket yet a large number of troops did manage to escape and get back across the Seine, to be able to return to Germany. The one other element which was a significant factor, but beyond human control was the weather. Among other influences, the storms soon after the landings did destroy the second Mulberry Harbour that would have been assembled off Omaha beach.
All this and much more make for a very interesting D-Day and story of the Normandy battles. At the back of the book are a number of appendices, and these provide even more information, such as details of the disposition of elements of 79th armoured division, more details of D-Day Training Facilities as well as the Order of Battle for both Allied and German Armies.
With so many books written about D-Day over many years, it is a challenge to find a new take on the subject, and I think Anthony has done it very neatly, and in a very readable style with his new book.
Thanks to Anthony and The History Press for my review copy.