Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga

Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga

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Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga

Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga

Campaign 278

The campaign in the Cotentin peninsula was the first Allied victory in Normandy after the D-Day landings themselves. The capture of a major port was a key part of the Overlord plan, and Cherbourg, just to the north-west of the landing beaches, was the obvious first target.

This entry in the Campaign series covers the entire Cotentin campaign. We start with the early battles to expand the D-Day beachhead, which included a series of attacks on coastal defence gun batteries. Next comes the attack west across the base of the Cotentin peninsula. At this point Hitler intervened for the first time, making the task harder for his troops by refusing to give permission for units that weren't needed at Cherbourg to escape south before the route was closed. As a result one division had to fight its way south, suffering heavy losses on the way. Once the Americans had reached the west coast, they turned north and began the advance towards Cherbourg. Once again Hitler intervened, preventing his troops from retreating into the Cherbourg defences promptly. Instead more men were lost attempting to fight in open country. Next came the attack on Cherbourg itself, first on the extensive land defences outside the port and then the attack on the port. Finally the last resistance, in the peninsular to the west of Cherbourg, had to be overcome.

This was one of the quicker sieges of the European campaign. US forces reached the land defences of Cherbourg on 21 June, the senior German commanders surrendered only five days later, on 26 June, the last hold-outs in Cherbourg surrendered on 29 June and the fighting at Cap de la Hague ended on 30 June. This despite an impressive ring of fortifications around Cherbourg, as shown on the high quality campaign maps.

This is a good entry in the campaign series, telling the story of a fairly short campaign in some detail, and covering both sides of the battle, as well as providing information on the aftermath of the battle - the fairly quick clearance of the port, and Cherbourg's role as a major Allied supply base across the summer and autumn of 1944.

Opposing Commanders
Opposing Forces
Opposing Plans
The Campaign

Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 96
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2015

Maps are presented in the DjVu format. File size 30 Kb - 1 Mb.

Campaign 1: Normandy 1944 - Allied Landings and Breakout

(Stephen Badsey. Osprey Publishing, 1990)

Map 1. Operation "Overlord", D-Day, 6 June 1944 (p.34-35)

Map 2. D-Day. The landing of British 8 Brigade Group at "Sword" Beach, 0730 hours, 6 June 1944 (p.38-39)

Map 3. Operation "Overlord". Situation 1 July 1944 (D+24) (p.50-51)

Map 4. Operation "Goodwood". Tactical situation, 1000 hours 18 July 1944 (p.62-63)

Map 5. Operation "Goodwood", 18-20 July 1944 (p.66)

Map 6. "Goodwood" result, 20 July 1944 (p.67)

Map 7. Operation "Cobra", 25 July 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 8. Mortain counter-attack. Dawn, 0500 hours 7 August 1944 (p.74-75)

Map 9. The Breakout, 16 August 1944 (p.78-79)

Map 10. The Falaise Pocket, 16 August 1944 (p.82-83)

Campaign 3: France 1940 - Blitzkrieg in the West

(Alan Shepperd. Osprey Publishing, 1990)

Map 3. Rommel at the Meuse. Night of 12/13 May 1940 (p.46-47)

Map 4. Guderian at the Meuse. 1500 hours 13 May 1940 (p.50-51)

Map 6. The Panzer Breakthrough (p.74)

Map 7. The Fall of Cambrai. 18 May 1940 (p.78-79)

Map 9. Last Days in the North (p.87)

Campaign 5: Ardennes 1944 - Hitler’s Last Gamble in the West

(James R. Arnold. Osprey Publishing, 1990)

Map 1. Planned Routes of Advance: 1 SS Panzer Corps (p.26)

Map 2. “Wacht am Rhein” - The German Plan (p.27)

Map 3. The German Assault, to 20 December (p.35)

Map 4. US 110/28th Division’s Delaying Action. 16 to 18 December 1944 (p.38-39)

Map 5. The German Assault, from 20 to 24 December (p.63)

Map 6. The Defence of Bastogne (p.70-71)

Map 7. The Battle for Champs. 25 December 1944 (p.74-75)

Map 8. Combat at Baraque de Fraiture. 20 to 23 December 1944 (p.82-83)

Campaign 16: Kursk 1943 - Tide Turns in the East

(Mark Healy. Osprey Publishing, 1992)

Map 1. The Kursk Salient: German Offensive Intentions and Soviet Dispositions (p.6)

Map 2. The Offensive of Model’s Ninth Army, 5-11 July 1943 (p.34)

Map 3. The Assault on Cherkasskoye by XLVIII Panzer Corps on 5 July 1943 (p.38-39)

Map 4. Von Manstein’s Assault on the Voronezh Front, 5-14 July 1943 (p.42)

Map 5. The Battle for Ponyri. 5-12 July 1943 (p.50-51)

Map 6. The Tank Battle for Prokhorovka. 12 July 1943 (p.78-79)

Map 7. The Soviet Offensive Against the Orel Bulge, 12 July to 18 August 1943 (p.82)

Map 8. Operation “Rumantsyev”: The Soviet Counter-Offensive Against Belgorod and Kharkov (p.87)

Campaign 18: Guadalcanal 1942 - The Marines Strike Back

(Joseph N. Mueller. Osprey Publishing, 1992)

Map 1. The Strategic Situation, July-August 1942 (p.6)

Map 2. American Landing on Guadalcanal (p.26-27)

Map 3. American Landings on Florida, Tulagi, Tanambogo and Gavutu Islands (p.27)

Map 4. August-September 1942 Operations on Guadalcanal (p.42-43)

Map 5. Battle of the Tenaru. 20-21 August 1942 (p.46-47)

Map 6. Battle of “Bloody Ridge”. 12-14 September 1942 (p.54-55)

Map 7. The Matanikau Offensive of 7-9 October 1942 (p.66)

Map 8. The Battle for Henderson Field, 23-5 October 1942 (p.66-67)

Map 9. The November 1942 Battles on Guadalcanal. Victory at Koli Point (p.74-75)

Map 10. The January Offensive. Clearing the slopes of Mount Austen and the Matanikau sector (p.82-83)

Map 11. Victory an Guadalcanal, January to February 1943 (p.87)

Campaign 24: Arnhem 1944 - Operation “Market Garden”

(Stephen Badsey. Osprey Publishing, 1993)

Map 1. The Allied Pursuit, 26 August to 10 September 1944 (p.6-7)

Map 2. Market-Garden, The Plan 17 September 1944 (p.26-27)

Map 3. Operation Market: The Allied Fly-in, 17 September 1944 (p.34-35)

Map 4. Market-Garden: Area of Operations, 16-26 September 1944 (p.42)

Map 5. Arnhem: British Airborne Division Operations, 17-21 September 1944 (p.46-47)

Map 6. Arnhem Bridge, 17-23 September 1944 (p.50-51)

Map 7. The River Crossing at Nijmegen. 1500-2000 20 September 1944 (p.62-63)

Map 8. 1st Airborne Division Perimeter, Oosterbeek. 20-26 September 1944 (p.66-67)

Campaign 30: Midway 1942 - Turning-Point in the Pacific

(Mark Healy. Osprey Publishing, 1993)

Map 3. Air Search Patterns of First Carrier Air Fleet, 0430 onwards, 4 June (p.51)

Map 4. The Japanese air strikes on the island of Midway, 0400 to 0643 hours, 4 June 1942 (p.58-59)

Map 5. Operations on 4 June 1942 (p.66-67)

Map 6. The Carrier Air Strikes on Nagumo’s Carriers, 0920-1200 (p.70-71)

Map 7. The destruction of the Japanese flagship Akagi, 1026 hours to 0500 hours, 4 June 1942 (p.78-79)

Map 8. The Loss of Yorktown, 1050 hours on 4 June to 0500 hours on 7 June 1942 (p.82-83)

Campaign 42: Bagration 1944 - The Destruction of Army Group Centre

(Steven Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 1996)

Map 1. Strategic Situation on the Eastern Front, 23 June 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Opposing Forces, 23 June 1944 (p.23)

Map 3. Operation Bagration: Red Army Operations, 23 June - 10 July 1944 (p.46-47)

Map 4. Breakthrough at Orsha, 23-26 June 1944 (p.54-55)

Map 5. The Liberation of Minsk, 29 June - 3 July 1944 (p.66-67)

Map 6. The Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive, July-August 1944 (p.74-75)

Map 7. The German Counter-Attack on the Magnuszew Bridgehead, 8 August 1944 (p.78-79)

Map 8. Strategic Situation on the Eastern Front, 23 August 1944 (p.83)

Campaign 60: The Ebro 1938 - Death knell of the Republic

(Chris Henry. Osprey Publishing, 1999)

Map 1. The strategic situation in Spain prior to the Ebro offensive, July 1938 (p.7)

Map 2. The Campaign: the crossing of the Ebro, 24-25 July 1938 (p.30-31)

Map 3. The first day of the crossing, Ribaroja - Flix Sector (p.38-39)

Map 4. The assault on Villalba de Los Arcos and Cuatro Caminos, 26 July - 2 August (p.46-47)

Map 5. The assault on Gandesa, 26-31 July 1938 (p.50)

Map 6. The attack on the Sierra Pandols, 9-15 August (p.58-59)

Map 7. The destruction of the Fayon - Mequinenza Pocket, 6-7 August 1938 (p.63)

Map 8. The final nationalist counter-offensive, 30 October - 16 November 1938 (p.70)

Campaign 62: Pearl Harbor 1941 - The Day of Infamy

(Carl Smith. Osprey Publishing, 2001)

Map 1. The Japanese Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (p.8)

Map 2. Pearl Harbor 0730 hrs December 7, 1941 (p.28-29)

Map 3. The First and Second Attack Wave Paths (p.40)

Map 4. The First Attack Wave, Pearl Harbor, 0750-0810 hrs (p.44-45)

Map 5. The Attacks on Hickam Field Army Air Base, 0755-0920 hrs (p.52-53)

Map 6. The Attacks on Ewa, Wheeler Field and Bellows Field (p.60)

Map 7. The Attacks on Kaneohe Naval Air Station (p.61)

Map 8. The Second Attack Wave, Pearl Harbor, 0905-0945 hrs (p.72-73)

Map 9. The path through the harbor of the USS Nevada’s attempted escape (p.76-77)

Map 10. The Japanese Tidal Wave, December 1941 - January 1942 (p.84)

Campaign 73: Operation Compass 1940 - Wavell's Whirlwind Offensive

(Jon Latimer. Osprey Publishing, 2000)

Map 1. The Mediterranean Theatre (p.6)

Map 2. The Italian Invasion of Egypt (p.10)

Map 3. Operation Compass, 9-11 December 1940 (p.30-31)

Map 4. Assault on Bardia, 3-5 January 1941 (p.50-51)

Map 6. The Advance to Derna and Mechili (p.66)

Map 7. The Road to Beda Fomm (p.79)

Map 8. The Battle of Beda Fomm, 5-7 February 1941 (p.82-83)

Campaign 74: The Rhineland 1945 - The Last Killing Ground in the West

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2000)

Map 1. The Rhineland: German and Allied Positions at Start of Offensive (p.6)

Map 2. Operation Veritable, 8 February 1945 (p.26)

Map 3. The Capture of the Reichswald Forest and Cleve, February 1945 (p.27)

Map 4. The Capture of the Schwammenauel Dam, 5-9 February 1945 (p.38-39)

Map 5. British 43rd (Wessex) Division Advance to the Goch Escarpment, 13-17 February 1945 (p.46-47)

Map 6. Operation Grenade, February 1945 (p.54)

Map 7. US 84 Division Cross the River Roer at Linnich, 24 February 1945 (p.58-59)

Map 8. Operation Blockbuster, February 1945 (p.70)

Map 9. Clearing the Southern Rhineland, March 1945 (p.78)

Campaign 75: Lorraine 1944 - Patton vs. Manteuffel

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2000)

Map 1. The Strategic Situation, 1 September 1944 (p.7)

Map 2. Hitler’s Planned Panzer Offensive, 10 September 1944 (p.10)

Map 3. Patton’s Third Army Crosses the Moselle River, 5-11 September 1944 (p.34)

Map 4. The Destruction of Panzer Brigade 106, 8 September 1944 (p.38-39)

Map 5. 4th Armored Division Encircles Nancy, 11-14 September 1944 (p.46)

Map 6. The Destruction of Panzer Brigade 112 at Dompaire, 13 September 1944 (p.58-59)

Map 7. Tank Battle at Arracourt, 19 September 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 8. Arracourt: 25-29 September 1944 (p.82)

Campaign 77: Tarawa 1943

(Derrick Wright. Osprey Publishing, 2000)

Map 1. Japanese Possessions, November 1943 (p.11)

Map 3. The Landing Beaches, November 20, 1943 (p.30)

Map 4. The Marines Attack, November 20, 1943 (p.46)

Map 5. USMC Gains by 1800 hrs, November 20, 1943 (p.47)

Map 6. Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. D-Day, November 20, 1943 (p.50-51)

Map 7. Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. D-Day+1, November 21, 1943 (p.62-63)

Map 8. USMC Gains by 1800 hrs, November 21, 1943 (p.74)

Map 9. USMC Gains, November 22-23, 1943 (p.75)

Map 10. Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. D-Day+3, November 23, 1943 (p.78-79)

Campaign 80: Tobruk 1941 - Rommel's Opening Move

(Jon Latimer. Osprey Publishing, 2001)

Map 1. The British Position in the Mediterranean, March 1941 (p.6)

Map 2. Rommel’s Dash Across Cyrenaica, 31 March - 11 April 1941 (p.30)

Map 3. The German Attack of 13-14 April (p.47)

Map 4. Rommel’s Attack on Ras el Madauur, 30 April - 2 May 1941 (p.54-55)

Map 5. Perimeter Dispositions on the Morning of 5 May 1941 (p.59)

Map 6. Operation “Brevity”, 15-16 May 1941 (p.66-67)

Map 7. Tobruk - Main Defences and Principal Bombing Targets (p.71)

Map 8. Operation “Battleaxe”, 15-17 June 1941 (p.78-79)

Map 9. A German map showing the Tobruk defences (p.80)

Campaign 81: Iwo Jima 1945 - The Marines Raise the Flag on Mount Suribachi

(Derrick Wright. Osprey Publishing, 2001)

Map 1. Area under Japanese Control, end of September 1944 (approx) (p.8)

Map 2. Japanese Defense Sectors and US Landing Beaches (p.20)

Map 3. Assault on Mount Suribachi, D-Day - D+4 (p.44-45)

Map 4. Assault on the Meatgrinder, D+6 - D+19 (p.52-53)

Map 5. The Attack North, D+5 - D+16 (p.60-61)

Map 6. US Gains by end of D+19 (p.68)

Campaign 88: Operation Cobra 1944 - Breakout from Normandy

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2001)

Map 1. Strategic Situation in Normandy, 2-24 July 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Operation Cobra - The Plan (p.34)

Map 3. Carpet Bombing of Panzer Lehr Division, 25-26 July 1944 (p.38-39)

Map 4. Operation Cobra - The Breakthrough 25-30 July 1944 (p.54)

Map 5. The Race for the Breton Ports (p.58)

Map 6. Counterattack at Mortain, 7 August 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 7. Normandy to the Seine - 6-25 August 1944 (p.82-83)

Campaign 92: St. Nazaire 1942 - The Great Commando Raid

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2001)

Map 2. From Falmouth to St. Nazaire (p.37)

Map 3. The Run in to the Docks (p.40)

Map 5. St. Nazaire ten minutes after HMS “Campbeltown” rams the Dock Gates, 28 March 1942, 01.45 hrs (p.52-53)

Map 6. The Commandos Attack Targets around the Normandie Dock, 28 March 1942 (p.56-57)

Map 8. Attacks on the Southern Targets and the Breakout, 28 March 1942 (p.72-73)

Campaign 96: Okinawa 1945 - The Last Battle

(Gordon L. Rottman. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. Strategic Situation, March 1945 (p.6)

Map 3. The Landing Beaches, 1 April 1945 (p.55)

Map 4. Ie Shima Assault, 16-21 April 1945 (p.67)

Map 5. The Japanese Counteroffensive, 4-6 May 1945 (p.74-75)

Map 6. Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, 13-19 May 1945 (p.78-79)

Map 7. Withdrawal of 32nd Army, 25 May to 4 June 1945 (p.82)

Map 8. Final Stand in the South, 11-21 June 1945 (p.86-87)

Campaign 100: D-Day 1944 (1) - Omaha Beach

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2003)

Map 1. German Forces in the Grandcamps Sector, 6 June 1944 (p.8)

Map 2. Omaha Beach - Cross-Sectional View (p.21)

Map 3. Assault Landing Plan, 116th RCT, Omaha Beach (West) (p.24)

Map 4. V Corps D-Day Objectives (p.28)

Map 5. Omaha Beach 16th Regimental Combat Team Sector, 6 June 1944, 0630 hrs (p.44-45)

Map 6. Omaha Beach 116th Regimental Combat Team Sector, 6 June 1944, 0629 hrs (p.48-49)

Map 7. 2nd Rangers at Pointe-Du-Hoc, 0710 hrs 6 June - 0300 hrs 7 June 1944 (p.76-77)

Map 8. V Corps D-Day Operations, 6 June 1944 (p.88)

Campaign 104: D-Day 1944 (2) - Utah Beach & the US Airborne Landing

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. German Defenses on the Cotentin Peninsula, 6 June 1944 (p.15)

Map 2. US Airborne Landings, 6 June 1944 (p.31)

Map 3. Battle for the la Fiere Bridge, Merderet River, 6-9 June 1944 (p.42-43)

Map 4. Assault Waves, Combat Team 8, Utah Beach, 06.30-09.00 hrs, 6 June 1944 (p.54-55)

Map 5. Securing Utah Beach, 7 June 1944 (p.66)

Map 6. Battle for Carentan, 10-13 June 1944 (p.70)

Map 7. Cutting off the Cotentin, 10-18 June 1944 (p.79)

Map 8. The Capture of Cherbourg, 22-30 June 1944 (p.86-87)

Campaign 105: D-Day 1944 (3) - Sword Beach & the British Airborne landings

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. British 6th Airborne Division - D-Day, 6 June 1944 (p.26)

Map 2. German Defences of Sword Beach Area (p.27)

Map 3. British 6th Airborne Division - The Eastern Flank, 6 June 1944, 0020 hrs - 2100 hrs (p.38-39)

Map 4. The Landings on Sword Beach (p.51)

Map 5. 3rd Division on Queen Red and Queen White Beaches, 6 June 1944, 0725 hrs - 1500 hrs (p.54-55)

Map 6. 21st Panzer Division’s Counterattack, 6 June 1944, approx 1600 hrs - 2100 hrs (p.70-71)

Map 7. Night of 6 June - The Allied Lodgement (p.75)

Map 8. Expanding the Beachhead and the Battle for Caen (p.86)

Campaign 107: Poland 1939 - The birth of Blitzkrieg

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. The German Attack, 1 September 1939 (p.37)

Map 2. Defense of Westerplatte, 1-7 September 1939 (p.40-41)

Map 3. Cavalry vs. Armour at Mokra, 1 September 1939 (p.48-49)

Map 4. The Race for Warsaw, 7 September 1939 (p.61)

Map 5. Bzura Counter-Offensive, 9-12 September 1939 (p.68)

Map 6. Bzura Counter-Offensive, 13-14 September 1939 (p.69)

Map 7. The Battle for Warsaw, 8-26 September 1939 (p.76-77)

Map 8. Eve of the Soviet Attack, 17 September 1939 (p.81)

Campaign 110: Peleliu 1944 - The forgotten corner of hell

(J. Morgan & G. Rottman. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. Strategic situation, late 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. The Palau Islands, 1944 (p.11)

Map 4. Peleliu - D-Day, 15 September 1944 (p.42-43)

Map 5. The Battle for Peleliu, 15-23 September (D-Day to D+8) (p.59)

Map 6. Capture of Angaur Island, 17-20 September (p.67)

Map 7. Securing the North, 24-29 September (D+9 to D+14) (p.74-75)

Map 8. The Umurbrogol Mountains (p.83)

Map 9. Reduction of the Umurbrogol Pocket, 27 September - 27 November (p.86-87)

Campaign 112: D-Day 1944 (4) - Gold & Juno Beaches

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. German Defences - Gold Beach (p.34)

Map 2. 69th Brigade, 50th Division, King Sector, Gold Beach. 6 June 1944, 0730 hrs - 1500 hrs (p.42-43)

Map 3. British Assault on Gold Beach (p.54)

Map 4. German Defences - Juno Beach (p.59)

Map 5. Canadian 3rd Brigade on Nan White and Red Beaches. 6 June 1944, 0755 hrs to mid-afternoon (p.66-67)

Map 6. Canadian 3rd Division Landings on Juno Beach (p.71)

Map 7. Situation at Midnight, 6 June (p.79)

Map 8. Villers-Bocage, 12 June 1944, 0855 hrs - 0910 hrs (p.86-87)

Campaign 115: Battle of the Ardennes 1944 (1) - St. Vith and the Northern Shoulder

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2002)

Map 1. Strategic Situation, 16 December 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Planned Routes of Advance of 6th Panzer Army (p.11)

Map 3. Battle for the Twin Villages, 17-18 December 1944 (p.34-35)

Map 4. Initial Attacks of 6th Panzer Army (p.43)

Map 5. Destruction of 106th Infantry Division, 16-19 December 1944 (p.58)

Map 6. Kampfgruppe Peiper, 18-23 December 1944 (p.74-75)

Map 7. Hitlerjugend Halted at Dom Butgenbach, 18-21 December (p.78-79)

Map 8. Defense of St. Vith, 17-23 December (p.83)

Campaign 127: Dieppe 1942 - Prelude to D-Day

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing. 2003)

Map 3. German Defences of Dieppe (p.35)

Map 5. 4 Commando's Destruction of Hess Battery, 19 August 1942, 0450-0900 hrs (p.46-47)

Map 6. Green Beach, 19 August 1942, 0455-0845 hrs (p.58-59)

Map 7. Assault on Dieppe, 19 August 1942, 0507-0830 hrs (p.62-63)

Map 8. Dieppe - The Air Battle (p.78)

Campaign 129: Operation Barbarossa 1941 (1) - Army Group South

(Robert Kirchubel. Osprey Publishing, 2003)

Map 1. The eve of Barbarossa - Army Group South (p.6)

Map 3. The Uman Kessel, 16 July - 3 August 1941 (p.46-47)

Map 5. The Capture of the Crimea (p.67)

Map 6. Battle of the Sea of Azov, 26 September - 7 October 1941 (p.70-71)

Map 7. The Donbas and Rostov (p.75)

Map 8. The Battle for Rostov, 17 November - 3 December 1941 (p.78-79)

Campaign 134: Cassino 1944 - Breaking the Gustav Line

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. Advance to the Gustav Line (p.6)

Map 2. US Fifth Army’s Attack on the Gustav Line (p.34)

Map 3. US VI Corps’ Landings at Anzio, 22 January 1944 (p.39)

Map 4. US II Corps’ Attack North of Cassino, 24 January - 12 February 1944 (p.50-51)

Map 5. New Zealand II Corps’ Attack (p.58)

Map 6. The Third Battle of Cassino, 12-19 March 1944 (p.62-63)

Map 7. Operation Diadem - The Allies Break Through the Gustav Line (p.74)

Map 8. Polish II Corps Captures the Monastery, 11-18 May 1944 (p.78-79)

Campaign 136: Meiktila 1945 - The battle to liberate Burma

(Edward M. Young. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. The Burma Front, 1 November 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Operation “Extended Capital” (p.34)

Map 3. IV and XXXIII Corps Crossings of the Irrawaddy River (p.38)

Map 4. 7th Division Cross the Irrawaddy, 14-16 February 1945 (p.42-43)

Map 5. The Armored Thrust to Meiktila, 21-28 February 1945 (p.54)

Map 6. The Battle for Meiktila, 1 March 1945 (p.58-59)

Map 7. Defense of Meiktila, 5-14 March 1945 (p.70)

Map 8. The Defence of Meiktila, 15-29 March 1945 (p.78-79)

Map 9. The Advance on Rangoon, April-May 1945 (p.90)

Campaign 137: Saipan & Tinian 1944 - Piercing the Japanese Empire

(Gordon L. Rottman. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. Japanese Defenses, Saipan (p.21)

Map 2. Japanese Defenses, Tinian (p.25)

Map 3. D-Day - Green Beach, Saipan. 15 June 1944 (p.44-45)

Map 4. Central Saipan, 27 June (p.66)

Map 5. Japanese Banzai Attack, Night of 6/7 July 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 6. J-Day, Tinian. 24 July 1944 (p.78-79)

Map 7. The Capture of Tinian, 25 July - 1 August (p.86)

Campaign 139: Guam 1941 & 1944 - Loss and reconquest

(Gordon L. Rottman. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. Strategic Situation Pacific Theater, December 1943 (p.6)

Map 2. Mariana Islands, summer 1944 (p.10)

Map 3. Japanese Defenses, Guam (p.26)

Map 4. Beach Sketch, Northern Sector (p.36)

Map 5. Beach Sketch, Southern Sector (p.40)

Map 6. Securing the Beachhead, 21st and 9th Marines, 21 July 1944 (p.46-47)

Map 7. The Fight for the Beachheads (p.50)

Map 8. The Capture of Orote Peninsula, 24-30 July (p.54-55)

Map 9. The Japanese Counterattack, Night of 25/26 July (p.62-63)

Map 10. Daily Progress, 21 July - 10 August 1944 (p.74)

Campaign 143: Caen 1944 - Montgomery's break-out attempt

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. First Allied Moves on Caen (p.6)

Map 2. Counterattack by 12th SS-Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend", 7 June 1944 (p.30-31)

Map 3. Operation "Epsom", 24-30 June (p.38)

Map 4. Operation "Charnwood" and the Capture of Caen (p.51)

Map 5. Operation "Jupiter" - The Attack on Hill 112, 10-11 July 1944 (p.58-59)

Map 6. Operation "Goodwood" - Plan of Attack (p.67)

Map 7. Operation "Goodwood", 18-21 July 1944 (p.74-75)

Campaign 145: Battle of the Bulge 1944 (2) - Bastogne

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. German Objectives Southern Sector (p.11)

Map 2. 5th Panzer Army vs. 28th Division (p.30)

Map 3. 7th Army vs. XII Corps (p.35)

Map 4. Bastogne Encircled, 19-23 December 1944 (p.42-43)

Map 5. Patton’s Relief of Bastogne (p.67)

Map 6. Battle for the Road Junctions, 23-27 December 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 7. Blunting the Spearhead, 24-27 December 1944 (p.82-83)

Map 8. Eliminating the Bulge, 3-28 January 1945 (p.90)

Campaign 146: The Marshall Islands 1944 - Operation "Flintlock", the capture of Kwajalein and Eniwetok

(Gordon L. Rottman. Osprey Publishing, 2004)

Map 1. Strategic Situation in the Pacific, January 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Marshal and Gilbert Islands, January 1944 (p.10)

Map 5. D-Day Roi-Namur, 31 January 1944 (p.39)

Map 6. Roi-Namur Islands, D+1 - D+2. 06.50 hrs, 1 February - 14.18 hrs, 2 February 1944 (p.42-43)

Map 8. Kwajalein Island, D+1. 09.30 hrs, 1 February - 19.20 hrs, 4 February (p.58-59)

Map 9. Capture of Burton, 3-4 February 1944 (p.68)

Map 10. Engebi Island, 08.43 - 18.30 hrs, 18 February 1944 (p.70-71)

Map 11. Capture of Eniwetok Island, 19-21 February 1944 (p.78)

Map 12. Capture of Eniwetok Island, 19-21 February 1944 (p.79)

Map 13. Capture of Parry Island, 22 February 1944 (p.81)

Campaign 147: Crete 1941 - Germany’s lightning airborne assault

(Peter D. Antill. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 1. Balkans Campaign, 6-30 April 1941 (p.11)

Map 3. Maleme, 20-22 May 1941 (p.38-39)

Map 4. Souda Bay / Prison Valley, 20-22 May (p.46)

Map 7. German Advance on Platanias, 23 May 1941 (p.66-67)

Map 8. German Advance on Galatos, 24-26 May 1941 (p.70-71)

Map 9. The German Advance and Allied Retreat, Hania to Sphakion, 27-31 May (p.74)

Campaign 148: Operation Barbarossa 1941 (2) - Army Group North

(Robert Kirchubel. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 2. Operation "Platinfuchs" (p.52)

Map 5. Soviet Attacks around Staraya Russa, 12-23 August 1941 (p.68-69)

Map 6. German Joint Assaults on Baltic Islands, 13 September - 22 October 1941 (p.72-73)

Map 7. Battle on the Luga River Line and approaches to Leningrad, August-September 1941 (p.76-77)

Map 9. Strategic Overview, Finland (p.88)

Map 10. Strategic Overview, Army Group North (p.89)

Campaign 149: Falaise 1944 - Death of an army

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 1. Allied Frontline before the Breakout Battles (p.6)

Map 4. Capture of Mont Pincon (Point 365) (p.42-43)

Map 5. Operations "Totalise" and "Tractable" (p.54-55)

Map 6. Forming the Falaise Pocket (p.62)

Map 7. Sealing the Pocket, 18-21 August 1944 (p.74-75)

Campaign 152: Kasserine Pass 1943 - Rommel’s last victory

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 1. The Strategic Situation, February 10, 1943 (p.9)

Map 2. Preliminary Moves in Central Tunisia, January 30 - February 3, 1943 (p.32)

Map 3. Rival Axis Plans, January 30 - February 20, 1943 (p.36)

Map 4. Sidi Bou Zid, February 14-15, 1943 (p.44-45)

Map 5. Kasserine Pass, February 20-22, 1943 (p.56-57)

Map 6. Operation "Wop", March 16-23, 1943 (p.69)

Map 7. El Guettar, March 23, 1943 (p.72-73)

Map 8. US II Corps in Northern Tunisia, April 23 - May 9, 1943 (p.81)

Campaign 155: Anzio 1944 - The beleaguered beachhead

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 1. Strategic Situation in Italy, January 1944 (p.6)

Map 2. Anzio Beach Head, 1 February 1944 (p.26)

Map 3. Operation "Shingle", 22 January 1944 (p.30-31)

Map 4. Battle for the Thumb, 3-11 February 1944 (p.46-47)

Map 5. Operation "Fischfang", 16-20 February 1944 (p.54-55)

Map 6. Operation "Seitensprung", 28 February - 3 March 1944 (p.70)

Map 7. Operation "Buffalo", 23-24 May 1944 (p.78)

Map 8. The Race for Rome, 31 May - 1 June 1944 (p.83)

Campaign 156: The Doolittle Raid 1942 - America’s first strike back at Japan

(Clayton Chun. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. Japanese Conquest of the Pacific, December 1941 - April 1942 (p.6)

Map 2. Japanese Areas of Defensive Responsibility, April 1942 (p.26)

Map 3. Task Force 16’s Route, April 13-21 (p.38)

Map 4. The Launch of the B-25B Bombers, and the Sinking of The Japanese Picket Ships, April 18 (p.50)

Map 5. The Doolittle Raid over Tokyo Bay (p.54-55)

Map 6. The Attack on Nagoya by 40-2297 (p.74-75)

Map 8. The Planned and Actual Landing Sites Following the Doolittle Raid (p.86)

Campaign 158: El Alamein 1942 - The Turning of the Tide

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 3. Alam El Halfa: Rommel’s Last Chance, 31 August - 4 September 1942 (p.)

Map 4. Alam Halfa: Rommel’s Final Offensive (p.52)

Map 5. Alamein: Operations "Lightfoot" and "Supercharge" (p.64)

Map 6. The Dog Fight, 26-30 October 1942 (p.76-77)

Map 7. Operation "Supercharge": The Break Out, 2-4 November 1942 (p.80-81)

Campaign 159: Berlin 1945 - End of the Thousand Year Reich

(Peter Antill. Osprey Publishing, 2005)

Map 1. From the Vistula to the Oder. Soviet Offensive Operations, January-February 1945 (p.6)

Map 2. The Encirclement of Berlin, 16-28 April 1945 (p.38)

Map 3. Attack on the Seelow Heights. Soviet Operations 14-19 April 1945 (p.46-47)

Map 4. Squeezing the Berlin Pocket, 23-28 April 1945 (p.51)

Map 5. Into the Centre of Berlin. Soviet Operations 28 April - 2 May 1945 (p.62-63)

Map 6. Breakout of the 9th Army, 28 April - 1 May 1945 (p.67)

Map 7. Assault on the Reichstag. Soviet Operations 28 April - 2 May 1945 (p.70-71)

Campaign 163: Leyte Gulf 1944 - The world’s greatest sea battle

(Bernard Ireland. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. The Philippines as an Objective (p.6)

Map 2. Approach of Japanese Attack and Decoy Forces (p.23)

Map 3. Leyte: Assault Organization (p.27)

Map 4. Japanese Plan of Attack (p.30)

Map 5. Northern Landings, Leyte, 20 October 1944 - 1000 (p.34-35)

Map 6. The Battle off Samar - 25 October 1944 (p.59)

Map 7. The Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944, 0820-0850 hrs (p.62-63)

Map 8. The Battle of Surgao Strait, 25 October 1944 (p.82)

Campaign 165: Iraq 1941 - The battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad

(Robert Lyman. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. British and German Operations in Iraq, April-June 1941 (p.6)

Map 2. British Movements April-June 1941, With Pre-War Iraqi Army Dispositions (p.14)

Map 3. British Operations in Basra, May 1941 (p.30)

Map 4. Habbaniya and Falluja, 16-22 May 1941 (p.34-35)

Map 5. The Siege of Raf Habbaniya, May 1941 (p.38)

Map 6. Advance to Baghdad, 28-30 May 1941 (p.66-67)

Map 7. The British Advance to Baghdad, May 1941 (p.79)

Map 8. Capture of Ashar, 7 May 1941 (p.82-83)

Campaign 167: Moscow 1941 - Hitler’s first defeat

(Robert Forczyk. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. Strategic Dispositions on the Eastern Front, 30 September 1941 (p.6)

Map 2. Dispositions on the Moscow Axis, 30 September 1941 (p.14)

Map 3. German Attacks and Soviet Reactions, 30 September - 15 October 1941 (p.31)

Map 4. Soviet Delaying Action at Mtensk, 5-10 October 1941 (p.46-47)

Map 5. German Assault at Borodino, 13-18 October 1941 (p.52-53)

Map 6. The Defence of Tula and Guderian’s Final Attacks, 29 October - 5 December 1941 (p.60)

Map 7. The Yakhroma Bridgehead, 27-29 November 1941 (p.68-69)

Map 8. Typhoon’s Last Gasp: 15 November - 5 December 1941 (p.76)

Map 9. Initial Soviet Counterattacks and German Withdrawals, 5-16 December 1941 (p.85)

Campaign 175: Remagen 1945 - Endgame against the Third Reich

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. Closing on the Rhine, 8 February - 10 March 1945 (p.6)

Map 2. Operation "Lumberjack", March 1-7, 1945 (p.38-39)

Map 3. Remagen, March 7/8, 1945 (The capture of the Ludendorff Bridge) (p.46-47)

Map 4. Bouncing the Rhine, March 24-28, 1945 (p.66)

Map 5. Breakout from Remagen, March 24-28, 1945 (p.70)

Map 6. Operation "Voyage", March 29 - 1 April, 1945 (p.74-75)

Map 7. Encircling the Ruhr, March 24 - April 4, 1945 (p.82)

Map 8. Aftermath of Remagen, April 4-18, 1945 (p.86)

Campaign 178: The Rhine Crossings 1945

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2006)

Map 1. The Rhine with Allied and German Positions (p.6)

Map 2. 21st Army Group’s Operations (p.34)

Map 3. Operation "Widgeon": 1st Commando Brigade’s Attack on Wesel (p.42-43)

Map 6. Operation "Varsity": US XVIII Airborne Corp’s Assault East of the Rhine (p.58-59)

Map 7. From the Rhine to the Baltic (p.80)

Map 8. Expanding 21st Army Group’s Bridgehead, 24-28 March 1945 (p.88-89)

Campaign 181: The Siegfried Line 1944-45 - Battles on the German frontier

(Steven J. Zaloga. Osprey Publishing, 2007)

Map 1. The strategic situation August 25 - September 11, 1944 (p.10)

Map 2. The Westwall defenses in the Aachen sector (p.19)

Map 3. This schematic shows a typical stretch of the Westwall near Aachen in the area first penetrated by the 1/26th Infantry. The dragon's teeth (1) were positioned in front, with a string of bunkers behind (2) the bunker's machine guns provided overlapping fields of fire (3) (p.22)

Map 4. The first battle of Aachen: the Stolberg corridor, September 12-29, 1944 (p.34)

Map 5. The second battle of Aachen, October 7-21, 1944 (p.46-47)

Map 6. The Hurtgenwald, November 2-7, 1944 (The battle for Schmidt and Vossenack by the 28th Infantry Division) (p.50-51)

Map 7. Operation Queen: November 16 - December 9, 1944 (p.62)

Map 8. Operation Queen: November 16 - December 9, 1944 (US V Corps seizes Hurtgen and Grosshau in the Hurtgenwald) (p.70-71)

Map 9. The final push: VII Corps reaches the Roer. December 10-16, 1944 (p.87)

Campaign 183: Denmark and Norway 1940 - Hitler’s boldest operation

(Douglas C. Dildy. Osprey Publishing, 2007)

Map 1. Deployment of Naval Forces for the Invasion of Norway, 2000 hrs, 8 April 1940 (p.31)

Map 2. The Invasion of Denmark, 9 April 1940 (p.35)

Map 3. Seaborne Assaults in Oslofjord, 9 April 1940 (p.38-39)

Map 4. Deployment of Royal Navy Forces to Counter the Invasion of Norway, 9 April 1940 (p.46)

Map 5. The German Capture of Southern and Central Norway, 12 April - 3 May 1940 (p.58)

Map 6. The Battles around Lillehammer, 20-24 April 1940 (p.62-63)

Map 7. Deployment of Forces for the Battle of Narvik, 10 May 1940 (p.74)

Map 8. Allied Forces Recapture Narvik, 12-28 May 1940 (p.78-79)

Campaign 184: Stalingrad 1942

(Peter Antill. Osprey Publishing, 2007)

Map 1. The Eastern Front, May 1942 (p.6)

Map 2. Operation "Blau", June-November 1942 (p.35)

Map 3. German Assault on Stalingrad, 14-26 September 1942 (p.52-53)

Map 4. German Assault on Stalingrad, 27 September - 7 October 1942 (p.60-61)

Map 5. German Assault on Stalingrad, 14-29 October 1942 (p.64-65)

Map 6. Operation "Uranus", 19 November - 12 December 1942 (p.72)

Map 7. Operation "Wintergewitter", 12-23 December 1942 & Operation "Koltso", 10 January - 2 February 1943 (p.77)

Map 8. Operation "Little Saturn", 16 December - 1 January 1943 (p.80)

Campaign 186: Operation Barbarossa 1941 (3) - Army Group Center

(Robert Kirchubel. Osprey Publishing, 2007)

Map 2. Boldin Counteroffensive (p.34)

Map 3. Minsk Encirclement, 24 June - 3 July 1941 (p.38-39)

Map 4. Timoshenko Counteroffensive (p.59)

Map 6. Operation Typhoon (The plan of assault on Moscow) (p.70-71)

Map 7. German Advances towards Moscow (p.79)

Campaign 189: Sevastopol 1942 - Von Manstein's triumph

(Robert Forczyk. Osprey Publishing, 2008)

Map 1. Strategic dispositions, 24 September 1941 - 7 May 1942 (p.7)

Map 2. The German offensive, 17-26 December 1941 (p.10)

Map 3. Operation Trappenjagd, 8 May 1942 (p.37)

Map 4. Soviet defences in Sevastopol, 2 June 1942 (p.45)

Map 5. [Variant 2] Initial ground attack of the German LIV Corps on X-Day, 7 June 1942 (p.52-53)

Map 6. [Variant 2] XXX Corps attack at Chapel Hill, 13 June 1942 (p.64-65)

Map 7. The fight for Fort Maxim Gorky I, 17-25 June 1942 (p.68)

Map 8. [Variant 2] XXX and LIV Corps breach Sevastopol’s inner defensive line, 29 June 1942 (p.80-81)

Campaign 196: Gazala 1942 - Rommel’s greatest victory

(Ken Ford. Osprey Publishing, 2008)

Map 1. Operation Crusader: Eight Army’s advance to El Agheila and retreat back to the Gazala Line (p.6)

Map 2. Rommel’s attack on the Gazala Line (p.34)

Map 3. Rommel eliminates 150th Brigade’s defensive box (p.49)

Map 4. Operation Aberdeen: Ritchie’s attempt to crush Rommel’s forces in the Cauldron on 5 June (p.56)

Map 5. The decisive armoured actions of 12 and 13 June 1942. The British armour is comprehensively defeated by Rommel to the south-east of the Knightsbridge Box (p.68-69)

Map 6. Eighth Army’s withdrawal and Rommel’s attack on Tobruk (p.76)

Map 7. The action at Matruh, 26-28 June 1942. Auchinleck fights a delaying action before withdrawing to the El Alamein Line (p.86-87)

Map 8. Eighth Army’s retreat to the El Alamein Line (p.90)

Pointe du Hoc

In either direction from the east or west you will take the D514 road until you get to the turn off at the D514A road, there you will take a right hand turn heading north until you reach the official parking lot for Pointe du Hoc.

There is ample parking but come early if you can as this is a major tourist destination in the summertime and there often coaches and buses full of visitors.

This is the kind of destination that needs to be visited with as fewer people around as possible to get the full effect. When I visited here in 2013 I arrived by 7:30 a.m. and there was no one there. It's a self guided tour and there is no admission fee, just walk in and around and you really get a good picture of what it was like for the U.S. Army Rangers on the morning of June 6th, 1944.

The leistand or 636 type bunker at the northern most point of the batterie.

The official U.S. Army Ranger memorial at Pointe du Hoc.

Looking out across the barbed wire that straddle the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc.

All photographs on this visit were taken on Friday, August 16th & Saturday, August 17th, 2013 and are subject to copyright. Please be respectful and do not copy them for your own personal or professional use. If you would like to contact the photographer and admin of this web site please e-mail [email protected]

I used two different cameras on the 2013 visit. The Nikon Coolpix 35mm and the Apple iPad mini.

One of the many allied bomb craters casued during D-Day leaving the area looking like a lunar landscape.

One of the bunkers a type L409A now has an observation deck built on top for the many visitors to this historic site.

One of the open emplacements at the batterie.

A closeup shot of the mount for one the open air emplacement guns at Pointe du Hoc.

One of the ammo niches that run the circumference of the gun emplacement.

One of the steel doors frozen in time inside one of the 134 type bunkers.

One of two 694 type casemates at the Point du Hoc batterie.

Point du Hoc was occupied by the 2nd Battery of Army Coastal Artillery Regiment 1260 (2/HKAA.1260) equipped with six French GPF 155mm K418(f) guns. When originally constructed in 1943 the site had six open concrete gun pits (see above photos), but in 1944 it was being reconstructed to protect each gun with a fully enclosed H671 casemate. By June 1944, four of six casemates for the guns had been completed, along with an H636 observation bunker (see top of page right photo) and L409a mounts for 20mm Flak 30 anti-aircraft cannon. Heavy allied bombing raids were so destructive that the guns were withdrawn inland ad were not present on D-Day.
(source material D-Day Fortifications in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga).

The crew of this exquisite 636 observation bunker would have had a commanding view of the ships and landing craft on the morning of June 6th, 1944.

A breathtaking view from the promontory at Pointe du Hoc, the 636 leistand bunker to the left.

Design and development

Coastal defense had been the responsibility of the Kriegsmarine (navy) since the reforms of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1888. Kriegsmarine doctrine focused on the defense of German ports, not on repelling major amphibious attacks. In World War I, the Kriegsmarine’s resources proved to be inadequate for coastal defenses outside of Germany, for example in Flanders, so the army had to be brought in to assist. After World War I, the Kreigsmarine remained responsible for coastal defense, so the army ignored this mission. German army fortification engineering concentrated on land defense, a capability influenced by the experiences of World War I and brought up to date with the construction of the Westwall (Siegfried Line) along the French border in the late 1930s.¹

At the time of World War II, the Kriegsmarine did not have an autonomous coastal defense force, but rather the coastal defense mission was the responsibility of regional commanders. In the case of the Normandy beach area, Sea Defense Command-Normandy led by Rear Admiral Hennecke in Cherbourg was subordinate to Adm. Krancke of Naval Command West. From a naval perspective, coastal defenses included short-range submarines, torpedo boats, mine warfare and coastal artillery. Due to the limited space here, the primary focus is on the Navy’s shore-based coastal defenses.

The Kreigsmarine coastal artillery was considered an adjunct of the sea force, and its traditional missions were to engage enemy ships near the shore, protect harbor entrances and support friendly warships in combat. Engagement of land targets and defense against enemy landing forces were only secondary missions. As a result, the Kriegsmarine coastal artillery force was based primarily on large-caliber guns suitable for engaging enemy warships rather than on small-caliber artillery more suitable for use against large numbers of landing craft. The Kriegsmarine’s coastal defense efforts in France were concentrated near the ports both due to its traditional doctrine, and the widespread view that the Allies’ main objective would be a port.

The Kriegsmarine did not have the resources to conduct a defense along the thousands of kilometers of coastline under German control in 1941, so once again the army was gradually brought in to assume more and more responsibility for this mission. This began piecemeal in the autumn of 1940 when the army’s artillery branch was brought in to reinforce the navy’s coastal batteries for planned operations against Great Britain, including the construction of fortified long-range artillery positions on the Pas de Calais. When Operation Sealion failed to materialize, the mission of the Wehrmacht forces in France shifted from offense to defense. Gradually, German infantry divisions being used for occupation duty took over more and more of the coastal defense mission.

In 1941–42 the German occupiers began to consider how to deal with future threats, and the planning concentrated on the most likely objectives such as ports and harbors. Starting in December 1941, the OB West (Commander-in-Chief West) began to designate some of these ports as fortified areas (Festungsbereichen). The port defenses would include both seaward and landward approaches since the Wehrmacht worried that the Allies could stage airborne landings behind the ports. These initial defensive efforts were quite modest due to a lack of resources and included ordinary field entrenchments as well as concrete fortifications.

This provides a good example of the type of kettle emplacements first built along the Normandy coast, in this case one of the six 155mm K420(f) gun emplacements at StP 152 near Gatteville. This type of emplacement is patterned after the World War I style, and appropriately enough the gun seen here is a captured French St. Chamond Modele 1916, a type widely used in Normandy due to its excellent 21km range. (NARA)

The shift from kettle emplacements to fully enclosed casemates is well illustrated here in this overhead view of one of the batteries of 7/HKAA.1261 at Gatteville, to the northwest of Utah Beach, armed with the 155mm K420(f) gun. Four of the H679 were still under construction on D-Day, so the gun is still seen in its original kettle emplacement. (NARA)

The army did not have a specific coastal defense doctrine and its existing tactical doctrine was not inclined toward the use of linear coastal defense tactics as a response to an amphibious invasion. Instead, the German army generally dealt with amphibious landings by staging vigorous counterattacks against the beachhead as soon as possible. This doctrinal preference was evident in the German response to the Allied landings on Sicily in July 1943, Salerno in September 1943, and Anzio in January 1944 these landings were not contested in their initial phase with coastal defenses. The one exception was the Wehrmacht’s successful repulse of the British/Canadian raid on Dieppe in 1942, which took place at a heavily defended port, already fortified by the Kriegsmarine in accordance with their traditional port defense mission.

Germany was gradually provoked into linear coastal defense in France by the frequent British Commando raids. In the wake of the British raid on St. Nazaire in February 1942, Hitler issued Fuhrer Directive 40 on March 23, 1942, that ordered the construction of fortifications along the Atlantic coast. This scheme was not based on accepted Wehrmacht doctrine, but reflected Hitler’s infatuation with grand architectural projects and the romantic allure of impregnable fortresses guarding continental Europe. The Wehrmacht high command, preoccupied with the war against Russia, paid little attention to this program.

The Wehrmacht’s Festungspionere Korps (Fortress Engineer Corps) had been created in the late 1930s for designing and supervising the construction of fortifications. When the first major prewar fortification project, the Westwall, began in the late 1930s, the corps was too small to actually conduct its construction. As a result, the construction work was undertaken by the paramilitary Organization Todt that had been responsible for the construction of the German autobahn. This pattern remained the same in France, with the Festungspionere developing the fortification plan, and Organization Todt undertaking the construction. Much of the work in France was contracted out to

Cherbourg 1944 (The first Allied victory in Normandy)

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Steven Zaloga offers up a rigorous and absorbing study of the first major Allied operation in Normandy after the D-Day landings - the capture of Cherbourg. Blending expert analysis, specially commissioned artwork and illustrative maps.

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Cherbourg 1944 (eBook, ePUB)

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Bitte loggen Sie sich zunächst in Ihr Kundenkonto ein oder registrieren Sie sich bei bü, um das eBook-Abo tolino select nutzen zu können.

Steven Zaloga offers up a rigorous and absorbing study of the first major Allied operation in Normandy after the D-Day landings - the capture of Cherbourg. Blending expert analysis, specially commissioned artwork and illustrative maps, this book tells the story of the bitter struggle to capture this vital point. Cherbourg was recognized by both the German and Allied High commands as crucial to the Allied foothold in Normandy - it was the nearest major port and was desperately needed by the Allies for major logistical operations to support their forces on long stretches of open beach. Hitler, …mehr

War In The Dark

Well before the film’s debut we could hear the drumbeat of publicity. Steven Spielberg, America’s favorite moviemaker, was going to give us a film about World War II. The title, Saving Private Ryan , gave away nothing. Unlike Schindler’s List , which translated Thomas Keneally’s best-selling book on the Holocaust to the screen, Saving Private Ryan would build its plot around an obscure incident from the invasion of Normandy. Four brothers from the Niland family had had a very bad war by the summer of 1944: Two had been killed on D-Day, and another was thought to have been killed in Burma. The last brother, Fritz, had jumped with the 101st Airborne Division into Normandy, where the odds were that he would make his family’s final contribution to the Good War. An enterprising Army chaplain, Father Francis Sampson, found the paratrooper and pulled him out of the fighting. The story was good enough to merit the approval of the most jaded critic, and it was true besides.

But Hollywood could never leave a fact alone. Father Sampson would disappear during the script conferences, to be replaced by eight Rangers, led by a captain played by Tom Hanks. Having survived their own assault on Omaha Beach, Hanks and his men now have the mission to rescue the last of the brothers. Hanks & Co. have little enthusiasm for this crackbrained idea, but they are experienced combat soldiers and therefore can expect to have acquired an intimate acquaintance with “chickenshit,” a wartime term best defined by former 2d Lt. of World War II infantry, now Emeritus Professor, Paul Fussell as that which “has absolutely nothing to do with winning the war.” Of course Hanks’s squad completes the mission, but not without cost.

Few can doubt that when the history of film in the twentieth century is written, Steven Spielberg will have a place in the front ranks. He has learned to calculate our cultural rhythms so keenly that we invest his work with transcendent significance. We so cheerfully accept his power over our imagination that we forget his other talent as one of America’s great entertainment businessmen. His market power is now at least as great as his artistic power. The fabled promoters of movie history, Cecil B. DeMille, Darryl F. Zanuck, and Irving G. Thalberg, are amateurs compared with Spielberg. So what began as a drumbeat became a tightly composed symphony of press releases, photo ops, tie-ins, interviews, and film clips. Web sites and chat rooms began to appear on the Internet. For weeks before the film’s release, hardly a day passed without reference to Saving Private Ryan on television.

The buzz said that Saving Private Ryan was going to be a new kind of war film, one that unflinchingly depicted the sharp end of war, the essence of war itself—the infantryman’s war. Saving Private Ryan was going to be the greatest war film ever made, hands down, no kidding, about any war. When Saving Private Ryan hit the screen, it would immediately be recognized as the gold standard for an entire genre of film, and that standard would be founded upon the very action that had always defied being captured on film: combat soldiers, individually and in small groups, more threatened than assisted by the vast mechanical accessories of modern war.

Spielberg and his equally gifted star, Tom Hanks, struck just the right notes too, promoting the film in modest, even reverential tones, selling their movie by understatement. Indeed, the impression conveyed was that this film was not to be seen as entertainment. Dark precautions went out: The first twenty-five minutes, re-creating the assault on Omaha Beach, might be “too intense” for some people. The film had a serious, high-minded purpose. Saving Private Ryan would not be an empty military pageant like The Longest Day , shuttling platoons of stars across the screen to declaim hollow patriotic rhetoric. Nor would it burden its audiences with cynical reservations about the war or the cause for which it was fought. No need to fear such dialogue as that from The Naked and the Dead , uttered in exhausted fatalism by the member of a much less successful infantry patrol, “…we broke our ass for nothin’,” which elicits the reply, “Higher strategy.” No, by telling a simple story, Saving Private Ryan would reinvest the Second World War with the straightforward dignity it deserves and by so doing take its audience closer to the essential truth of this war—perhaps any war—than any other film had ever done.

When the film actually appeared, any doubts that this movie was quite as good or as original as advertised were quickly shouted down. Box-office returns, which quickly exceeded fifty million dollars and as of this writing are nearly two hundred million, overwhelmed contrarians like Vincent Canby of The New York Times and Louis Menand of The New York Review of Books . The thoughtful reviews they offered were widely regarded as acts of lese majesty. Other commentators happily perpetrated all manner of rhetorical inanities, using the film to wag reproving fingers at effete baby boomers who were filling up theater seats. We were happy to be insulted, and to insult. On the Web the chat, as captured by John Gregory Dunne in a recent New Yorker article, was less than genteel when someone named Brad declined to be impressed. “Let me guess. You are a wannabe hippie. Take your poetry reading, latte-drinking, non-shaving, sandal-wearing BUTT to Arlington National Cemetery and then come back on line, pudboy.” This, from Darren, who despises Brad because Brad has the bad grace to suspect that war is not fun. Darren thinks he knows more about war by eating popcorn in the dark. Hell hath no fury like a noncombatant.

So a question worth asking is how we came to think we know more about war than we actually do. What body of knowledge did we rely upon before Saving Private Ryan came along? The answer is that what most Americans today know of war comes from film—theatrical films, contemporary newsreels, propaganda and training films, documentary films, video films, and now gun-camera films. From the Mexican War onward armies and cameras have gone to war together, producing still photography now easily adapted to film. But if one were to calculate which war dominates film, as Peter Maslowski has done in his fine study Armed With Cameras: The American Military Photographers of World War II , the Second World War has no competitors.

All the major armies of the Second World War deployed still and film camera units to document combat action. Millions of still photos, thousands of miles of film were shot on all fronts, at sea, in the air, and on the ground. Some of the American photographic units included veteran filmmakers, among them John Huston, Darryl Zanuck, Edward Steichen, George Stevens, and David O. Selznick. Filming the war demanded not only technical expertise but courage as well, for American cameramen labored under strict instructions not to “re-enact” combat footage. Combat film would be shot in combat. The lengths to which photographers went to capture just a few minutes of fighting were extraordinary. On several occasions combat cameramen raced ahead, unprotected, toward enemy lines, just to make a shot of an American assault head-on.

But combat proved to be disappointingly un-Hollywood. Shooting footage of air, sea, and land combat posed difficulties unique to each setting, and shots of actual ground fighting were perhaps the most difficult of all to make. Photographers and filmmakers at the time understood their problem very well: Ground combat, as practiced, did not easily submit to translation onto film. One of the most fundamental rules of infantry combat was “Never bunch up.” A “tight shot” for a camera was also a tight shot for the enemy. Both friendly and enemy fire was disobligingly invisible. If the air was full of lead or shrapnel, combat infantrymen tried to disappear. The most savage firefights seemed to take place on an empty battleground. And if it was nearly impossible to film one’s own side in action, getting a shot of enemy action was downright miraculous. In the entire Pacific war, despite near-suicidal efforts by battalions of cameramen, only two sequences of Japanese infantrymen in actual combat were ever captured. The disjuncture between the demands of reality and the expectations of audiences already conditioned by years of cinematic clichés about war, and enforced by the prohibition on re-enactments of combat, was too much for John Huston. Huston’s film The Battle of San Pietro , acclaimed when it was released to theaters in 1945 and afterward as the most realistic visual documentation of combat in the war, was shot well after the fighting it purported to depict. Sound effects were added in the editing room, along with the narration. Screams of pain and anguish were not available for recording, but the Army Air Force Orchestra, the St. Brendan’s Boys’ Choir, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir filled in the blanks. As Maslowski observes, “Watching a video of San Pietro with the sound turned off is a supremely dull experience.”

If combat cameramen risking their lives around the world contended dangerously with the inherent barriers between film and war, neither was Hollywood free to indulge in artistic license. Especially during the first two years of the war, when an Allied victory was by no means a foregone conclusion, the Office of War Information and the Office of Censorship exercised reviewing authority over both print and film. Not until mid-1943 was a photograph of a dead American soldier shown anywhere in the United States, not in print, not on news film. In the last two years of the struggle, concerned about war weariness on the home front, government officials thought they might reinvigorate domestic morale by permitting more violent representations of the struggle showing more bodies would remind everyone how serious this war still was, just in case they missed the deliveries of the Western Union telegrams.

Under the circumstances it was hardly surprising that theatrical filmmakers kept clear of reality. Instead the eighty million people who attended the movies each week were treated to wonderfully forgettable offerings such as Bowery Blitzkrieg (1941), starring Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall, or Joan of Ozark (1942), with the redoubtable comedienne Judy Canova. Citizens of College Station, Texas, concerned about Japanese saboteurs in their midst, found alarming confirmation of their fears in We’ve Never Been Licked (1943). They need not have worried the cadets of Texas A&M were on the job. Newsreels and official films gave the public its closest look at the real war. Those few theatrical films that pretended to depict combat on the ground, such as Sahara , Guadalcanal Diary , and Gung Ho! —all released in 1943—merely increased the distance between the fighting fronts and the home front. The best wartime film, Casablanca , was not even about war as such here the war was simply a great inconvenience, or a great opportunity.

The best American World War II films appeared at war’s end and after. By then the public had other sources to draw upon for its understanding of the war: those who had actually fought in it. But combat veterans weren’t particularly interested in talking even if they had been, a public that knew of war only as depicted in the movies knew so little it did not even know what questions to ask them. Too, making a film about war in the victory years was commercially as well as artistically risky what combat veteran would pay to see a pale version of his experience? How could a filmmaker take on such a job when he knew that thousands of veterans would be looking over his shoulder, critiquing every frame, every shot, every piece of dialogue, every piece of action?

More war films were made anyway, and soon. The Story of G.I. Joe , which took its plot from Ernie Pyle’s famous wartime eulogy to a beloved infantry captain in Italy, was released in 1945. Pyle’s account of one infantry captain’s death was highly sentimental, suitably antiseptic for wartime consumption, and promoted the comforting notion that all soldiers loved and admired their officers. Eisenhower thought it was the best film of the war. But Pyle himself was unable to enjoy its success. He was killed during a mopping-up operation on an obscure Pacific island that year.

Postwar films were about to take on a new, harder edge, antisentimental and antiheroic. High-mindedness was suspect, and life in film became darker, elemental, colored with the fatalistic outlook of a soldier who had seen too much combat. The war found its way into films that had nothing to do with war, but snatches of dialogue still wore combat gear. Life was no longer fair. Honor was a sucker’s game. Being good had nothing to do with whether one survived. From the gangster film White Heat (1949), listen to this exchange between Paul Guilfoyle and James Cagney:

“You wouldn’t kill me in cold blood, would you?”

“No. I’ll let you warm up a little.”

A Walk in the Sun , based on Harry Brown’s novel and directed by Lewis Milestone, who in 1930 had brought All Quiet on the Western Front to the screen, came out in 1945 and was the first in a class of hardheaded war films: no patriotic diction here, no improbable heroics, no references to irrelevancies such as grand strategy or the self-important angst of high command, just a morning’s march with infantrymen who have had a long war that is getting longer by the minute. For the characters here the war was not about the Four Freedoms it was about getting through the morning alive, and maybe the afternoon and night too if they were lucky, and then about doing it all again the next day and the day after.

But A Walk in the Sun was not going to tell any veteran of infantry combat anything he didn’t already know. Only one postwar film spoke directly to the veterans in terms that may have helped them contend with their experiences. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) followed three veterans as they struggled to return to normal life in a world that seemed to understand little and care less about the war they had just survived. The movie won eight Oscars.

As The Best Years of Our Lives made plain, memories of the war were already fading, shouldered aside by postwar routines and Cold War anxieties. At some indiscernible point, as if by common, unstated agreement, filmmakers pointed their war films at those who were innocent of war altogether. Like A Walk in the Sun , 1949’s Battleground was unlikely to appeal to combat veterans because it aimed to reproduce their experiences. Producer Dore Schary had trouble finding support in Hollywood for making yet another war film. Even so, audiences in 1949 saw the release of the best ever movie about war in the air, Twelve o’Clock High , and, importantly, John Wayne’s now-fabled Sands of Iwo Jima .

No two films are less alike. Based on a script by two veterans of the 8th Air Force’s bomber offensive against Germany at the height of the war, Twelve o’Clock High follows a bomber-group commander—Maj. Gen. Frank Armstrong in real life—as he fights against the pressures of wartime command, eventually succumbing to its fatigues. Gregory Peck’s portrayal of the haunted commander is so appealing the film is still shown to approving audiences in the military academies.

Sands of Iwo Jima is one of two films that belong in movie history not so much because of how faithfully they reproduce war as because of their influence upon those who saw them. After John Wayne’s portrayal of the tough marine, Sergeant Stryker, hit the screen, there were proto-gyrenes all over America, and they took Wayne’s cinematic conduct as a standard of behavior with them into their own wars. Veterans of World War II might react suspiciously to Wayne’s heroics, but their sons did not. Marine trainees at Camp Pendleton were hired as extras for Tony Curtis’s 1961 film biography of Ira Hayes, the Native American who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima, The Outsider . When the director asked them why they had enlisted, half of them said it was because they had been inspired by Sands of Iwo Jima .

Six years after Sergeant Stryker died in front of a Japanese pillbox on a Hollywood back lot, a movie was released that would share with Sands of Iwo Jima the dubious fame of fixing in the minds of America’s youth a picture of combat and how one should behave in combat that has been sustained until the present day. To Hell and Back was a war film with a difference: Audie Murphy, America’s most highly decorated World War II soldier, played himself, suggesting that here was a chance for the audience to see what combat was really like. What the audience didn’t know was that Murphy was still suffering from the aftereffects of his real war and would continue to do so for the rest of his life. The experience of trying to reproduce his life in combat was not easy for him, nor did he regard the result as particularly satisfying. To Hell and Back was a more highly stylized view of war than any number of war films, and Murphy knew it. He was “a lot braver” in the film than he had been in the war, he said, but his modesty only added to his aura. War could be heroic again, at least until all the future heroes in the audience found out otherwise.

The fifties and early sixties were the heyday of the war movie. War movies with a hard edge were still being produced, but they were not about World War II. In 1951 The Steel Helmet , set in the Korean War, came out, followed three years later by The Bridges at Toko-Ri . In 1957 perhaps the best World War I movie ever made, Paths of Glory , revealed Stanley Kubrick as a director with a decidedly unsentimental view of war. Kubrick’s film was banned in France for a time and, notably, from some American military posts. Lewis Milestone filmed S. L. A. Marshall’s Korean War saga, Pork Chop Hill , in 1959. All these films had much in common with their predecessors: Like the best of the earlier films, they reduced the war to the individual human level. Unlike the worst, they refused to indulge in the easy moralizing that had proved so irresistible so often to Hollywood.

Late in the fifties David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai inaugurated a subclass of war film that proved to be incomparably more popular. The military extravaganza capitalized upon new film, sound, and screen technology. In Lean’s film and the blockbusters that followed— The Longest Day (1962), In Harm’s Way (1965), and The Battle of the Bulge (1965)—the screen always had more people on it than were in the audience and more military equipment than one would need to defend a small nation. These were films on the industrial scale, made with the enthusiastic and substantial assistance of the Department of Defense. Grand history, great events, great men provided the rough plots for these panoramas, but beyond that anything that got between the audience and the popcorn was unwelcome. That included reality.

The Vietnam War effectively and promptly killed the war movie, or so film historians say. Why produce a theatrical film about war when the American public saw the war in Southeast Asia on the evening news? Yet even in 1970, as the war was grinding to its melancholy conclusion, one of the most popular war films ever, Patton , was released, and so was the dreadful Pearl Harbor extravaganza Tora! Tora! Tora! Compared with the war in Vietnam, the Disneyfied version of World War II was more satisfying to contemplate than body counts. Perhaps this was when Studs Terkel conceived his idea of “the Good War.”

Once the Vietnam War was safely past, World War II extravaganzas returned to the Pacific with Midway in 1976 and MacArthur in 1977, the latter proving that films on military egomaniacs don’t automatically sell. But Patton , portrayed so broadly and with such near-psychopathic glee by George C. Scott, was as satisfying to the war lover as to the most diehard antiwar activist.

Film historians and critics might regard Patton and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now as antithetical. But while filmmakers were still trying to tell a whole story, audiences were reading segments of their films, some no longer than a television commercial, as reference points for themselves. Scott’s memorable opening monologue in Patton , giant American flag filling the screen, could by itself be made to bear any number of interpretations quite apart from how the director and the actors saw the scene as contributing to the rest of the production. Robert Duvall’s burlesque portrayal of the slightly mad Air Cav colonel could be alternately hated or admired, without regard for the meaning Francis Ford Coppola invested in it. Today, if I were to ask my students, all professional soldiers, to replay a scene from Apocalypse Now , Duvall’s scene would be the one, but their interpretations of it would be as varied as they are.

In The Barefoot Contessa , Humphrey Bogart’s character, a director, delivers this line: “Life every now and then behaves as if it had seen too many bad movies.” During the Gulf War, as troops in one particular unit began their attack on Iraqi ground defenses, their commander ordered “The Ride of the Valkyries” played over loudspeakers on their tanks and fighting vehicles. I later asked their commander if he had a great number of Wagnerians in his unit. But no, of course not. That was what Robert Duvall had his own loudspeakers play during his heliborne assault on the VC village in Apocalypse Now , both to unnerve the enemy and to suffuse his own men with Götter-dämmerung-like frenzy—a case of life imitating art imitating life. If it wasn’t true in the film, real battle would make it so, and the real commander, a decade after, knew exactly the effect he wanted to achieve. This improbable convergence between film and combat was momentary no doubt. As the more unfortunate among these troops would discover, the distance between film and combat was as great as ever.

At first I had no intention of seeing Saving Private Ryan . Having studied with and taught professional soldiers about the experience of combat for twenty years, I had no desire to see an attempt to reduce to film anything I knew about this subject. But I knew, too, that my students would want to know, insist on knowing, what I thought about this movie—not as a film critic but as a military historian. How did this film compare with others of its kind, the ulterior question being, of course, How close does it come to the real thing? In the end avoiding the film seemed like avoiding responsibility. So I went, unenthusiastically, as an obligation, in self-defense.

I saw a good war film, one that was informed by a high purpose, executed with the technical brilliance we have come to expect from its director, played by skilled actors representing the usual collection of American “types”: the selfless officer, the tough sergeant, the wise guy, the hick, the intelligent one who will funk it, the medic, and so on. The plot line was, well, dopey, but then the troops drew lots of dopey missions during World War II, and on the scale of dopiness, this one wasn’t that high. Any night attack was dopier. The dialogue was noble and pure and thus quite unsoldierly, since the linguistic currency of the World War II American soldier came down mostly to inventive variations on the word fuck , made to serve a multiplicity of meanings. But that would have made for a dull script, and one completely at variance with the film’s high-mindedness. The twenty-five-minute gush of violence on Omaha Beach could hardly have moved a theater audience now inured to the daily police blotter roundups that pass for the evening news everywhere or nightly television programs featuring “Greatest Disasters on Video.” I saw several families, complete with small children, happily munching their way through the whole film. Everyone else seemed pleased to be getting their money’s worth.

Aficionados of war films often judge their quality on the basis of accuracy—of historical fact, of military equipment, of technical military procedures. Some will have discovered by now that on the real Omaha Beach the defending Germans did not emplace their machine guns outside the casemates but inside them. Students of the finer points of minor tactics will have noted the highly improbable, near-academic discussion between Hanks and his men on the best way to silence one of said annoying German machine guns. How many discussions on setting up enfilading fire had there been in the maelstrom at Omaha Beach? These characters were supposed to be veterans, and veterans communicate and move in close combat by nonverbal means, signals, a jerk of the head, a wave of the rifle or hand—if even that. They don’t talk because experience will have taught them that no one can hear anything above the din of combat anyway. Screaming is common, however, not to communicate but to expel the overwhelming rush of terrified excitement. Soldiers old and new have testified frequently to being hoarse after a battle, though they don’t recall having spoken to anyone.

Afterward, once Hanks and his men embark on their quest for the immensely valuable Private Ryan, it is clear that no one is in any danger as they stroll across the Normandy meadows in perfect view of the cameras, and the enemy too. Showing hours of a seemingly empty Norman countryside of course was beyond even the talents of Steven Spielberg to make interesting. Some acute fans of aerial warfare will also wonder what the marvelously beautiful P-51, an “air superiority fighter,” was doing busting tanks when the incomparably ugly P-47s commonly drew ground-support missions and the weapons to do the job. Details of this sort, interesting as they may be to future tacticians and military historians, merely distract us from the uglier facts about what is actually happening in such situations.

As for these ugly facts, including what modern industrial-strength war does to human beings who get in the way, the intense combat action so inventively filmed at the invasion beach, which in reality took several movies’ worth of hours to accomplish, would not have made a movie by itself. Cinematic conventions had to be obeyed, and so the combat action does not resume until the end is near, when a highly problematic defense of a village guarding a vital river crossing is hastily mounted. The Germans advance with machinelike confidence, somehow knowing, as we do, that they have the Americans outgunned. Not during the spectacular on Omaha Beach but here, during the fighting for the village, is where we see the single most violent scene. It is also the most intimate. Two soldiers engage in hand-to-hand combat, in a grappling frenzy of rifle butts, fists, and knives, reducing the whole war to a small room. We see one soldier consummate his victory over the other slowly, while he whispers soothingly to his enemy as if he were a lover. Outside, the combat builds toward a conclusion we know by now is not going to be a happy one. Of course the noble Hanks will be killed, but his death is arch-heroic. His mortal wounds are invisible, but the high-mindedness of his death fills the screen. Horatius is at the bridge again.

Audiences have every reason to be impressed by Saving Private Ryan . And Spielberg has every reason to be happy with what he has done. In addition to the box-office returns, he has been acclaimed by veterans’ groups and even awarded a medal by the Army to add to his already substantial laurels. Perhaps no other war film has received such approval from old soldiers, who rather more willingly than before have come forward to recount their own experiences. But what, exactly, are the veterans approving? The film may refresh their experiences, but it is highly unlikely that the film will add to their memories. No, the film is for everyone else. Beginning and ending in an American military cemetery in Normandy, it is a eulogy to the victory generation, and it is praise thankfully received.

One of the great myths of war is that fighting in one somehow makes one a better person, someone who has gained admission to a world on the extreme edges of human behavior that everyone else can only imagine. But war still holds its appeal to those who are innocent of the real price required to know it. Some commentators have actually expressed regret they did not fight in World War II (a regret, it should be noted, that is easy to express half a century later). This kind of knowledge cannot be had on the cheap. War in the dark is no substitute. Judged by this standard, there never has been a good war film, and there never will be. But, for me, the best films about war are those whose makers try to look squarely at war for what it is, not for how they think it should be. Such a standard is not often compatible with artistic or commercial or vicarious ambitions, which is why there are so few good war movies to choose from.

Just as certainly, scenes, bits of dialogue, or expressions of character will be enlisted for the public storehouse of imagined knowledge about modern war. Inevitably, some who have seen Saving Private Ryan and others like it will decide that war is an experience worth having. They need not be denied. If they are serious, these cinematic warriors need only go find themselves a war. The world has plenty to choose from. There they will learn that some experiences are better had only on film.

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The 'Battle Over Germany' is, obviously, too big a topic for any one book to cover - let alone an 'Osprey' but Steven Zaloga has, yet again, written an excellent summary.

This book 'hits' all the key points, the early losses, the build up of air power, the arrival of long range escort fighters, the arrtrition of the Luftwaffe fighter force and Bomber Harris's reluctance to 100% commit to the 'day time' war against fuel - just when Allied air superiority made it safer to bomb in day time rather than night bombing!

Steven Zaloga then provides a good cross section of further reading to develop on what he has written.

I 100% recommend this book as an 'enjoyable' read in its own right and as a starter on WWII Allied bombing strategies.

This is a very good effort on the subject for a 90 page book. It discusses the American bomber and escorting fighter development and also the German defense effort. The booklet especially discusses the targeting of the German aircraft industry in late 1943 / early 1944 and eventually the synthetic oil industry.

I have been reading about the German aerial defense effort in WW II for decades now and I am always amazed at how the Germans were constantly behind the 8-ball. There are a variety of reasons, of course, but in my analysis the number one reason was a culture of perpetual short-term thinking. Add to that a simultaneous culture of just plain poor decision-making at the top in terms of operations, airplane technical development, industrial effort, and deployment.

The Allies knew early that defeating the Luftwaffe was essential to a successful invasion of Normandy in the summer of 1944. Although this book is ostensibly about Operation Pointblank in early 1944, the real story here is the search for a winning method, a search that began at least with the arrival of U.S. Army Air Forces in Britain by 1942. Further, as the Royal Air Force had already committed to nighttime strategic bombing of Germany, this narrative is focused to a significant degree on the U.S. Army Air Force and its willingness to experiment.

"Operation Pointblank 1944" is an Osprey Campaign Series Book, authored by Steven Zaloga. The setup provides the standard coverage of opposing commanders and their forces and plans, but the heart of the narrative is the extended search for the right tools and the right method to defeat the Luftwaffe. The story includes the development of escorting fighters and their proper employment over Germany. It also includes the search for the right target sets in Germany, including shifting interests in ball-bearings, aircraft factories, and synthetic oil, that might cripple the Luftwaffe. The narrative is a bit challenging to follow in places, but there is plenty of good information here. Recommended as an introduction to a complex topic of air warfare.

Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga - History

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Espionage: from Cold War to Asymmetric Conflict

Joseph Fitsanakis specializes in intelligence and national security with an emphasis on international espionage. He has taught and written extensively on intelligence policy and practice, intelligence history, communications interception, cyber espionage, and transnational criminal networks. His writings have been translated into several languages and referenced in media outlets including The Washington Post, BBC, ABC, NPR, Newsweek, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Wired. Before joining Coastal Carolina University, Dr. Fitsanakis built the Security and Intelligence Studies program at King University, where he also directed the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies. At Coastal, he teaches courses on national security, intelligence communications, intelligence analysis, intelligence operations, and espionage during the Cold War, among other subjects. Dr. Fitsanakis is also deputy director of the European Intelligence Academy and senior editor at, an ACI-indexed scholarly blog that is cataloged through the United States Library of Congress.

Mark Kramer is Director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. Originally trained in mathematics, he went on to study international relations as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and was also an Academy Fellow in Harvard's Academy of International and Area Studies. He has published many books and articles.

His latest books are Imposing, Maintaining, and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain: The Cold War and East‐Central Europe, 1945� ( 2013 ), Reassessing History on Two Continents ( 2013 ), Der Kreml und die Wende 1989 ( 2014 ), and Der Kreml und die Wiedervereinigung (2015), and he is also the editor of a three‐volume collection, The Fate of Communist Regimes, 1989� , to be published in late 2016.
___________________________ __

Mark Mazzetti is a correspondent for The New York Times, where he has covered national security from the newspaper's Washington bureau since April 2006. In 2009, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the intensifying violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Washington's response. The previous year, he was a Pulitzer finalist for revelations about the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program. He is the author of The Way of the Knife (Penguin 2013) a bestselling account of the CIA's covert action forces.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, he has made several reporting trips to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Mazzetti received a 2011 Polk Award (with colleague Dexter Filkins) for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was the recipient of the 2006 Gerald R Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.

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The book describes how decisions based on fantasy and wishful thinking inevitably result in failure. If ever there was a naval and military operation based on those precepts, it was the attack on Dakar. Probably the most astounding assumption was that any landings would be unopposed. It was also assumed that most of the French officers and soldiers in Dakar were pro-de Gaulle and would surrender after a short demonstration by the British navy. Finally, the level of forces needed to amount a successful attack were grossly underestimated. The accompanying troops had neither the training nor the equipment to mount an attack against a defended beach or other position.

None of the assumptions turned out to be true. Little naval or military intelligence on Dakar and the French forces were available, and what was available was selected to support the desired decisions and expected outcome.

The book describes the top-level decision making and planning as well as the local miscues at the site. When the planning assumptions turned out to be wrong, the whole attack had to be abandoned. There were no alternatives available.

Watch the video: Surrender in Cherbourg


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