D DAY THE BATTLE FOR NORMANDY ANTONY BEEVOR PDF

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It was true: although Anglo-American losses ran at 2, men per division per month after D-Day, higher than the Russian losses of 1, per month on the Eastern front at the time, the Germans — who lost 2, per month — were comprehensively defeated in the campaign.

Yet as Antony Beevor never fails to point out in this most humanitarian work of military history, French civilian losses were huge too; in the first 24 hours of Operation Overlord alone, more than 3, French civilians were killed — more than double the number of American GIs who died on Omaha Beach. Caught in the crossfire between the biggest amphibious assault in history and fierce German resistance, even bombarded by their own Free French Navy, the people of Normandy paid heavily for their liberation.

The chapter on the Omaha Beach landings is almost the literary version of the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan, with the same horror and pace. In the 30 minutes before H-hour, the US 8th Air Force dropped 13, tons of bombs there, but because they did not want to hit the oncoming armada and flew in across the beaches rather than along them, the bombs missed, and German machine-gunners wreaked terror and chaos as the invaders disembarked.

With 11 of the 13 amphibious trucks carrying howitzers sinking, some men landing miles from the designated sites, and German mortar shell explosions turning beach pebbles into grapeshot, the beach soon resembled an abattoir. It is testament to their sheer doggedness that the Americans landed no fewer than 18, men there that day. Beevor draws attention to the role of tanks and destroyers in finally blasting a way through the beach defences; the naval guns grew so hot from firing that they had to be continuously hosed down with water.

Eisenhower, smoking four packets of Camel cigarettes a day and watching with tears in his eyes as the st Airborne Division took off from Greenham Common, emerges well from this book, though more for his diplomacy than his strategy.

The German high command is rightly also coruscated by Beevor, particularly for the absurd system whereby there was no central command in France at the time of D-Day, with responsibilities being shared between Rundstedt and Rommel, who profoundly disagreed about how to deal with the invasion.

Only about half of the book is about D-Day itself, for it continues with the breakout from Normandy, the bomb plot against Hitler, the closing of the Falaise Gap, and goes all the way to the liberation of Paris. Beevor maintains the tension throughout, while pointing out how, by mid, the quality of some German units in France was pretty low.

Astonishingly, one-fifth of the Wehrmacht forces in France in were made up of Poles and Russians who had changed sides earlier in the war, and who often lost little time in killing their German officers and surrendering. This would not have been the case had the Allies attacked a relatively unbloodied, full-strength Wehrmacht in or What must it have been like to parachute into occupied Normandy in the early hours before dawn on June 6, ?

Below was the certainty of murderous opposition — those whose chutes got caught in trees were often burned alive by flame-throwers — on a battlefield lit only by the moon and tracer-fire. What men they were.

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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

Share via Email In the early hours of 6 June , the allies launched the greatest amphibious assault of the second world war. Assisted by bombers and airborne troops, Operation Neptune, the first phase of Overlord, was the precursor to a campaign intended to drive the Germans out of France and the Low Countries. The attack took place during a brief break in unseasonally bad weather. Antony Beevor begins his account of this now almost mythic narrative five days earlier, by describing the head of the allied weather forecasting team, James Stagg, receiving a broadside from General Harold Bull, assistant chief of staff to the supreme commander, Dwight D Eisenhower. General Eisenhower is a very worried man. But although many other characters are equally well portrayed, from Churchill himself to US generals Bradley - with his specs and "hayseed expression" - and Patton, famous for his profanity, to Montgomery with his terseness and conceit, and De Gaulle with his arrogance and his long arms, it is the personal narratives of ordinary servicemen that drive this book. This is the same approach Beevor took in his justly acclaimed Stalingrad, Berlin: The Downfall and other books.

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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor: review

It was true: although Anglo-American losses ran at 2, men per division per month after D-Day, higher than the Russian losses of 1, per month on the Eastern front at the time, the Germans — who lost 2, per month — were comprehensively defeated in the campaign. Yet as Antony Beevor never fails to point out in this most humanitarian work of military history, French civilian losses were huge too; in the first 24 hours of Operation Overlord alone, more than 3, French civilians were killed — more than double the number of American GIs who died on Omaha Beach. Caught in the crossfire between the biggest amphibious assault in history and fierce German resistance, even bombarded by their own Free French Navy, the people of Normandy paid heavily for their liberation. The chapter on the Omaha Beach landings is almost the literary version of the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan, with the same horror and pace. In the 30 minutes before H-hour, the US 8th Air Force dropped 13, tons of bombs there, but because they did not want to hit the oncoming armada and flew in across the beaches rather than along them, the bombs missed, and German machine-gunners wreaked terror and chaos as the invaders disembarked. With 11 of the 13 amphibious trucks carrying howitzers sinking, some men landing miles from the designated sites, and German mortar shell explosions turning beach pebbles into grapeshot, the beach soon resembled an abattoir. It is testament to their sheer doggedness that the Americans landed no fewer than 18, men there that day.

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