Neptune : The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings
Overview - Seventy years ago, more than six thousand Allied ships carried more than a million soldiers across the English Channel to a fifty- mile-wide strip of the Normandy coast in German-occupied France. It was the greatest sea-borne assault in human history. Read more...
More About Neptune by Craig L. Symonds
Seventy years ago, more than six thousand Allied ships carried more than a million soldiers across the English Channel to a fifty- mile-wide strip of the Normandy coast in German-occupied France. It was the greatest sea-borne assault in human history. The code names given to the beaches where the ships landed the soldiers have become immortal: Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and especially Omaha, the scene of almost unimaginable human tragedy. The sea of crosses in the cemetery sitting today atop a bluff overlooking the beaches recalls to us its cost. Most accounts of this epic story begin with the landings on the morning of June 6, 1944. In fact, however, D-Day was the culmination of months and years of planning and intense debate. In the dark days after the evacuation of Dunkirk in the summer of 1940, British officials and, soon enough, their American counterparts, began to consider how, and, where, and especially when, they could re-enter the European Continent in force. The Americans, led by U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, wanted to invade as soon as possible; the British, personified by their redoubtable prime minister, Winston Churchill, were convinced that a premature landing would be disastrous. The often-sharp negotiations between the English-speaking allies led them first to North Africa, then into Sicily, then Italy. Only in the spring of 1943, did the Combined Chiefs of Staff commit themselves to an invasion of northern France. The code name for this invasion was Overlord, but everything that came before, including the landings themselves and the supply system that made it possible for the invaders to stay there, was code-named Neptune.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Naval historian Symonds (The Battle of Midway) makes an important contribution to the historiography of the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy with his newest, which focuses on two areas not fully explored in similar works: the strategy that led to the landings and the naval operation that landed the troops on the beach, Operation Neptune. The first half of the book concentrates on high-level planning. The second and more interesting half looks at the massive and little-known naval operation that transported the force onto the beaches of Normandy. This portion describes with great clarity the myriad specialized amphibious landing craft, equipment, skills, and training necessary to make the largest invasion in history feasible. The prose is distinguished by the author’s ability to simultaneously present an academic history supported by excellent research while captivating the reader with the individual narratives of soldiers and sailors who participated in the operation. Symonds has crafted an enjoyable and informative read for anyone interested in the history of WWII. (May)