Sunday, November 14, 2021

Review of "Normandy: Utah Beach, St Mere Eclise," by Carl Shilleto

 Review of

Normandy: Utah Beach, St Mere Eclise, by Carl Shilleto, ISBN 0850527368

Five out of five stars

An account of one sector of the Normandy landings

 The invasion of continental Europe by the Allied forces on June 6, 1944 was the most complicated and massive seaborne invasion ever performed. Over 150,000 Allied soldiers departed from ships and landed on a 50 mile front. The Navies and Air Forces engaged in massive bombardments of the German defensive positions and thousands of troops were dropped behind the beaches, either by parachute or via glider.

 On some of the five landing points there was relatively light opposition, yet on others, there were massive Allied casualties. Therefore, no one book can truly cover all aspects of what was in many ways five separate operations, at least initially.

 As the name implies, this book is about the landings on Utah Beach, which were conducted by U.S. Army soldiers. St. Mere Eglise is a town near where the Utah Beach landings took place and the main road through it was where any German reinforcements would almost certainly have to travel on. Therefore, it was the target of a large number of paratrooper drops.

 While there were many commanders in the Allied chain of command, one that had the most significance on the day of the invasion was Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr, the son of the former President. He was the first senior officer to hit the dirt and he personally scouted the immediate area. Understanding the circumstances, he ordered further landings to be rerouted to his location, which was some distance from the target.

 Focusing on the area known as Utah Beach of the Normandy landings, this book is a detailed description of what went right, what went wrong and how the invading Allied forces were able to overcome the wrong and take the first steps that ended with the defeat of Germany and the end of the Second World War in Europe. It is an excellent history of one sector of the major battle that took place on the shores of occupied France.

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