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Six Armies in Normandy: Unforgettable Account of The Allied Invasion of France Paperback – June 6, 1983
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Noted British military historian John Keegan takes an innovative approach to the invasion of Normandy, correctly observing that, while colossal, it was merely the beginning of a series of furious battles in northern France. He accordingly tackles not only the actions of June 6, 1944, but the subsequent Normandy campaigns by five Allied nations and their German opponent. Focusing on specific actions, such as the U.S. 101st Airborne night drop into France and the British infantry battles surrounding the city of Caen, Keegan provides an exciting chronological account of the action in Normandy that offers stirring accounts of considerable depth about specific tactical decisions. Beyond the vivid battle stories, Six Armies in Normandy will engage those who study battles and tactics intellectually and also provides valuable insight into the diplomatic activity between Allied nations necessary for victory in Europe. --Robert McNamara
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John Keegan was a Senior Lecturer in the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Great Britain and is now the Defense Editor of ‘The Daily Telegraph’. He is the author of many books on military history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. This 1982 book has an ‘Introduction’, ‘Prologue’, eight chapters, ‘Epilogue’, ‘Bibliography’, and ‘Index’. The ‘Prologue’ tells of Keegan’s boyhood in the West Country of England where his family was relocated for WW II. He tells of his memories about the soldiers there. This is a well-written and readable book that will educate you.
Chapter 1 discusses the generals and their opinions. The cross-channel invasion had lower priority than other theaters of operation that weakened the enemy. Chapter 2 describes the American paratroop operations with details about the D-Day jump. Things did not go as planned but they succeeded. Chapter 3 tells about the Canadian efforts at Dieppe and then on D-Day. The fighting in the “Scottish Corridor” is described in Chapter 4. A great storm damaged the Mulberries, portable docks. The hedgerows of Normandy limited movement. Chapter 5 tells about the English military operations. The Royal Tank Regiment was equipped with Sherman tanks which had thin side armor.
Bombers attacked German forces. The actions of the German Army are described in Chapter 6. Losses in the East could not be resupplied, the Allies advanced in the West. The Allies were helped with secret information on German plans. The German Army continued to suffer losses (Chapter 7). Polish soldiers in exile formed the II Corps and fought in France. The German Army was pushed back (Chapter 8). The French countryside was not hospitable to the French Resistance. De Gaulle did not want an uprising in Paris to avoid destruction. He wanted French forces to liberate Paris and sent LeClerc to Paris where he received a surrender agreement.
The ‘Epilogue’ provides a summary of the war. The Second Front ended the U-boats from the French Atlantic ports, and German radar posts. British and American bombers could attack German cities. The Red Army presence led Romania and Bulgaria to switch sides. The former was the main source of natural oil for Germany. Bombing the railway system disrupted German shipping of supplies. France suffered more damage than in the First World War. It ends with Keegan’s comments on the unlikelyhood of any surprise attack as in 1914 or 1940.
This book describes the suffering of soldiers that is not mentioned in other history books.