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Gold Beach Jig Sector and West (Battleground Europe) Paperback – 22 Jan 2002


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More About the Author

Tim Saunders (1956 - ????) served in the Army in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment for 30 years before leaving to become a full time military historian, battlefield guide and millitary history programme maker. He has an intuative knowledge of warfare and soldiers based on world wide service and operational experience.

His books have, thanks to the demands of the publishers, been focused on the Second World War but the Battleground Series is his chosen medium. 'I think the combination of text, maps and pictures is essential to any successful military history.'

Recently he has branched out into presenting and making military history DVDs for Battlefield History TV and Pen and Sword Books.

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About the Author

Tim Saunders is a professional serving soldier. He has led many battlefield tours and is now one of the our most experienced and best-selling authors with Hill 112, Nijmegen, The Island and Hell's Highway in print all in the Battleground series.

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Great Addition to D-Day History 31 Oct. 2002
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Tim Saunders, a British army officer and author of four other Battleground Europe titles, provides a fresh look at the British D-Day landings with his latest volume entitled Gold Beach Jig. This volume covers the western sector of the British landing on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944, focusing primarily on the operations of the 231st Brigade, and is a vast improvement over the earlier volume in the series that covered the King sector. Indeed, Saunder's diligent mining of regimental archives and incorporation of eye witness accounts from both sides combine to make this volume a real treat for military historians. Overall, the book is well written, graphically appealing and historically accurate.
Gold Beach Jig consists of ten historical chapters, beginning with background on the veteran 231st "Malta" Brigade, the German defenses around Gold and the Channel crossing. The assault on Jig Beach and the fight for the coastal town of Le Hamel are the core of the book and comprise 48 pages. The next four chapters cover the fight as it moves inland, including the seizure of Arromanches, the Longues-sur-mer battery and Port-en-Bessin. The tenth chapter covers the construction and operation of the British Mulberry artificial harbor at Arromanches and offers considerable detail on this often neglected subject. A final chapter discusses a modern-day tour of the 231st Brigade area of operations around Gold. A short British order of battle is provided and numerous photographs complement the text. Certainly the best aspect of this volume are the large number of annotated tactical maps and aerial photo mosaics which allow the reader to follow the tactical dispositions and movements in great detail.
Saunders provides considerable value-added material in this thin volume. I was particularly surprised about the mention of an Allied beach reconnaissance conducted prior to D-Day. The British had become concerned about the trafficability of a marshy area next to the beach and according to one British battalion commander, "experts were put ashore about three weeks before D-Day to test the beaches." The "Bobbin" carpet laying vehicle was quickly adapted to deal with this marshy area. This is the only mention I have ever heard of Allied troops walking on these beaches prior to the invasion. Another interesting item is that Gold Beach was not entirely a British affair; one American 155mm artillery battalion was attached to the British 50th Division and landed on Gold on D-Day. Another interesting incident involves the separate visits of Montgomery and Eisenhower to the 231st Brigade just prior to the invasion; atypically, the British troops booed the bombastic "Monty" and applauded the plain-speaking "Ike." Saunders also provides interesting detail on the 79th Armored Divisions "funnies," including the composition of the six assault teams used on Gold.
Although the British had meticulously planned the assault and had ample firepower support, the landings on Jig Beach did not go smoothly. Problems began when the prepatory bombardment failed to hit several German batteries, and a single German obsolete 77mm gun proceeded to decimate the assault breaching teams. The British wisely decided not to launch their DD tanks in the high seas off Gold - unlike the Americans who sank almost all theirs off Omaha - but the tanks landed 40 minutes behind schedule. Smoke and confusion caused both lead battalions to drift eastward and land off their assigned beaches. British leader casualties slowed down calls for naval gunfire support. Once ashore, the British armor got stuck in a massive traffic jam trying to squeeze through the handful of breaches in the German obstacle belt and without armor support, the British infantry advance inland was slowed to a crawl. Finally, the presence of a company of the high-quality German 352nd Division in Le Hamel held up the British for eight hours. Saunders concludes that the 231st Brigade was one of the few Allied units to achieve nearly all their D-Day objectives, but obviously this was not accomplished easily.
After moving off Jig Beach, the 231st Brigade was assigned a myriad of objectives in order to safeguard the western flank of Gold and to link-up with the Americans coming from Omaha Beach. One of the more challenging objectives was the Longues-sur-mer coastal battery, with four 152mm guns, that posed a real threat to the invasion shipping. Saunders makes an interesting point about the problems of German inter-service rivalry undermining their defense in Normandy when he quotes a German army officer who says, "the battery was under command of the Kriegsmarine [German Navy] until the Allied landing began; as a result, little coordinated fire control planning had taken place." Amazingly, the battery was effectively suppressed on D-Day by cruiser gunfire alone and then easily captured by ground assault on D+1.
Another interesting chapter covers the attack of the 47th Royal Marine Commando on Port-en-Bessin. Although the commandos came ashore on Jig Beach two hours after the initial landings, they lost 10% of their men, their commanding officer and most of their equipment to German mines. Despite this setback and much confusion on the beach, these highly motivated troops acquired new weapons from the dead and wounded from both sides, re-organized their depleted ranks and pressed on to the objective. Despite the lack of heavy weapons, the commandos still managed to seize the heavily fortified coastal port and even captured two flak ships. Saunders' description of 47 Commando on D-Day clearly demonstrates what well motivated and well-trained troops can accomplish despite setbacks.
Especially good with photographs 28 July 2014
By DRC PLC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Especially good with photographs, maps and documents. Compliments and improves upon the other Gold Beach -- King book in this series.
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