Synopses & Reviews
Over the past seventy years, the D-Day landings carried out by Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy have become perhaps the most famous component of World War II history. Mentions of Operation Overlord immediately conjure up images of Higgins boats, cliff-top snipers, paratroopers, and utter chaos. But the critical events that preceded WWII’s most telling battle—the German occupation of Normandy, the construction of the Atlantic Wall by Erwin Rommel, the Nazis’ mounting defense of the French Coast—are too often overlooked. Similarly excluded are the Allied preparations, such as their rigorous training exercises in England and the extensive aerial planning implemented by the U.S. Air Force. In Normandy, French military historian Dominique François illuminates this tense buildup from both the German and Allied perspectives, moving effortlessly between the two sides to craft the first complete illustrated history of the Allied invasion of France, from its early development all the way to its conclusion at the end of August 1944. A rare collection of remarkable period photographs—many of them never before published—accompany François’ lucid descriptions, placing you directly in the middle of wartime action. From the Dieppe Raid to the tragedy at Slapton Sands, from the night drops and the beaches to the breakout and race across France, this expertly narrated volume makes a crucial moment in WWII history real for all readers and all times.
Now available in flexibound format, Normandy illuminates the tense buildup to the Allied invasion of France in World War II, covering both the German and Allied perspectives through previously unpublished period photographs.
The French defeat at the hands of the Nazis in June 1940 began a period of occupation and deprivation; four years later, the dawn landings of Allied forces on the beaches of France began la Bataille de Normandie
—the epic Battle of Normandy—rekindling hopes for liberation. The grandfather of author Dominique François, like many Frenchmen, dreamt of revenge, but did not live to see his country freed from the Nazis. Normandy
is the result of ten years of research by François, drawing on French and U.S. military archives as well as numerous photographs from his family’s collection that capture the hardships of occupied France. From the invasion to the breakout, Patton’s charge through France, and finally de Gaulle’s triumphant return to Paris, the Battle of Normandy was won at a terrible price. Normandy
covers all aspects of this turning point in World War II and includes more than 500 images, many never before published, as well as eleven detailed color maps of the beach landings, battle plans, and German and Allied operations and troop movements.
About the Author
Dominique François is a French military historian specializing in D-Day and the subsequent Normandy campaign. He has written fifteen books on the subject, including Normandy: Breaching the Atlantic Wall (Zenith Press, 2008). His expertise on D-Day is well known throughout France, and he has served as a consultant for the History Channel, NBC, and Inertia Films. He currently lives in Normandy, France.
Table of Contents
List of Maps Acknowledgments Introduction Part I: Four Years of German Occupation 1 June 1940: The Defeat of France 2 France under the Occupation 3 Construction of the Atlantic Wall 4 German Forces in Normandy on the Eve of the Allied Invasion Part II: Operation Overlord: The Plan 5 Strategic Preparations 6 Airborne Operations 7 Amphibious and Naval Operations Part III: D-Day: The Invasion 8 Airborne Missions 9 The Beaches 10 Consolidating the Beachheads Part IV: Expanding the Beachheads 11 The First U.S. Army and the Capture of Cherbourg 12 The Second British Army and the Battle of Caen Part V: Operation Cobra 13 Preliminaries 14 The Breakthrough at Saint-Lô Part VI: Normandy’S Stalingrad 15 The Counterattack at Mortain 16 The Falaise Pocket: The Road of Death (Todesgang) 17 The Race to Paris Epilogue Appendices A: The Battle?eld: Then and NowB: Unit InsigniaBibliography Index MapsOperation Overlord Plan German Forces in Normandy 1st Division Landing at Omaha Beach Utah Beach: D-Day Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches: D-Day The U.S. Drive to Secure the Cotentin Peninsula and Cherbourg The British and Canadian Capture of Caen Operation Cobra: The Breakout from Saint-Lô The German Attack at Mortain The Falaise–Argentan Pocket Cartography by Philip Schwartzberg, Meridian Mapping, Minneapolis