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Caen 1944: Montgomery's break-out attempt (Campaign) Paperback – August 20, 2004
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The introductory sections in Caen 1944 are a bit too superficial, with little effort to provide insightful analysis on the strength and weaknesses of both sides. For example, Ford makes little comment on the limited extent of combined arms training in the British armor units prior to D-Day, but this clearly had an impact upon their early performance in Normandy. On the other hand, the desperate German shortage of decent infantry forced them to commit virtually all their armor to defensive missions, thereby robbing them of the initiative.Read more ›
With that in mind the first five sections in the book, except the Chronology which was good covering June 6th to July 20th, in the traditional Osprey format are pretty good but could have been better with greater detail, a few more pages. The sections in question are Origins, Opposing Commanders, Opposing Armies and Opposing Plans. I also feel Mr Ford was not critical enough on Montgomery or his commanders in the first few days of the invasion. Their plans and execution of those plans in capturing Caen, knowing how important it was, was dismal. I know it wasn't an easy assignment but thoughts of Anzio in the recent past should have spurred them on with greater intent and resources. I also wish Mr Ford had discussed more fully the interaction of Montgomery and Eisenhower and Montgomery's reasoning (or excuse) for staying in place in the Caen sector to anchor the Germans from moving west toward Bradley.
I thought the author did a good job in describing the initial attack on D-Day toward Caen and the Canal and the subsequent attacks towards or near Caen. (Operations: Epsom, Charnwood, Jupiter and Goodwood.) Mr ford devotes 59 pages to the battle action.
The author includes four 2-D maps and three 3-D maps; I thought all of them were very good except the one 3-D map of the assault on Hill 112. Most of the action is right in the crease and makes following the action more difficult.Read more ›
In terms of content, it appears that Montgomery was at the very least overly optimistic in thinking his forces could take Caen on D-Day. That optimism or high faith in his abilities may have been shaken when thirty-six days later the city were finally in Allies hands. What happened in between were five largely unimaginative battles. The opponents were, for the most part, evenly matched in numbers and materiel, however, the Allies enjoyed air superiority and ever increasing resources. Monty's later face-saving claim that he drew off large numbers of German forces to give the Americans a chance to breakthrough is accurate in hindsight but not the original strategy.
This delay and others across the front in the summer of 1944 forced the Allies to be cautious and resulted in a strategy based on overwhelming force to be delivered on a broad front. As we all know, this was the right way to go but it lacked imagination and certainly contributed to the impatient Market Garden operation and a lengthening of the war given the Battle of the Bulge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The French city of Caen was a D-Day objective for British forces landing in Normandy on 06 June, 1944. Read morePublished 15 months ago by HMS Warspite
Concise description of battles with good maps and movements of different units of both sides.Good description of armies involved in the battles.Published on June 12, 2013 by Sergio Barassi Fernandez