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Goodwood: The British Offensive in Normandy, July 1944 (Stackpole Military History) Paperback – 31 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (31 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811735389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811735384
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Goodwood *Comprehensive retelling of the controversial British operation near Caen*Told from both the British and German perspectives*Heavily illustrated with maps and photos, including detailed aerial reconnaissance photos taken during the battle: While American infantry slogged its way through the hedgerows of western Normandy in July 1944, the British were waging a largely armored campaign to the east n Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Realthing on 15 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
This book provides an in-depth and thoughtful account of the battle at the tactical level. Comprehensive use is made of contemporary evidence, including very interesting air photographs of the battle. The author holds back from the controversies over the strategic questions surrounding Goodwood and Montgomery and the book is all the better as a result.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Goodwood: The British Offensive........ 25 Mar 2009
By William L. Robinson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
BE CAREFUL, THIS IS A REPRINT, with a slightly different title, of a book previously published by Pen & Sword Books. A very good book, but check to make sure you don't already have this title (Operation Goodwood: The Great Tank Charge July 1944). I had to return this to Amazon since I already had purchased the Pen & Sword edition several years ago. Also, note that the Amazon listing does not make it clear that this is a reprint. If you don't already own this book, it is a very detailed description of this important Normandy battle. This is a very good book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Definitive Work On Goodwood, Montgomery's Failed Offensive on the Left in Normandy 11 Jun 2009
By David M. Dougherty - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very fine scholarly work on an armoured attack east of Caen in 1944 from the British side. The appendices alone are well worth the price of the book, but perhaps the finest aspect of the book is the author's use of aerial photographs and maps to show the progress of the fighting. The reader can look at the maps, understand what is happening, then view the aerial photographs to see the tank tracks showing the movements, and burning tanks that have just been mentioned in the narrative. Wow and double wow! It is extremely rare to see a combat action covered so well. I am hard-pressed to describe my feelings about a work that leaves so little uncovered and a narrative that presents all sides.

If there is anything missing it is a thorough discussion of Montgomery's intentions and expectations of this battle. Certainly he told Eisenhower that Goodwood would be the decisive breakthrough that would release the allies from their cage in Normandy, but when the attack failed to breach the German lines in spite of heavy casualties Montgomery declared the attack was just a "fixing" attack to draw off German strength away from the American effort in Operation Cobra (the breakout through St. Lo.) Of course, it is fascinating to read how Montgomery's efforts always achieved their objectives through his lowering of expectations after the fact. Britain could no longer replace its battlefield losses, so was forced to husband its resources. Montgomery was forced to depend on American or Commonwealth (specifically Canadian) manpower and he only attacked when he possessed overwhelming force and expected great gains that would enhance his reputation and increase his fame. To use British troops for a sideshow was not an option.

In Goodwood, a weak German regimental-sized force, mostly infantry with lightly armoured anti-tank weapons, stopped three armoured divisions on an eight mile front from achieving their objectives. Prior to the attack the German units were forced to undergo massive aerial and artillery bombardments and total air supremacy by the Allies (in open country) during the attack. That they held together at all was amazing. It is no wonder that Montgomery expected a decisive breakthrough. How this all happened is the subject of this book.

Goodwood reversed the British dogma of the day that the infantry achieved the opening that the armour exploited. Here the armour was to break through with the infantry following. However, the British did not use armoured infantry like the Germans used Panzergrenidiers -- the infantry followed in trucks. Without close-in infantry support the mobile German anti-tank guns wreaked havor on the British armoured formations from fortified villeges with essentially interlocking fields of fire. It all makes for a fine and instructive story.

I recommend this work to all those interested in World War II and coordinated armour and infantry attacks.
Operation Goodwood 15 April 2014
By J. Blackburn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love reading war books, however, this is not one of my favorites. It does cover the history of the event in a timeline way, but to me it seems very sterile. This said, I still think history buffs should read it.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Operation Goodwood 14 July 2009
By Dave Schranck - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't read other authors on this campaign but it appears Mr Daglish is an expert on this operation. He provides evidence from the smallest incident to the largest engagement. He delivers many anecdotal experiences to balance the dry tactical stuff. He provides many maps and photos to assist his narrative. Most people will really like this book.
The main thrust of the operation was VIII Corps' 1000 tanks driving against a relatively thinly defended line of infantry plus several batteries of 88s and outnumbered panzers of the 21st PzD. In addition to the tank divisions two Canadian Infantry divisions were on the flanks. Before their launch, there was a massive aerial bombardment. Yet with all of this and more going on, the story didn't seem to reflect its size.
During the whole book, from the coverage there seemed like a 100 or 200 tanks not a thousand tanks were being launched. In the manner the author wrote the book, it just didn't seem like a major operation. Talking about crossing a minefield, getting past a railroad embankment and other minor situations seemed to detract from the size of the operation. Making a big deal over mythical 88s or von Luck also didn't set well. While there was adequate background on the German commanders and their units, there could have been more. More about Montgomery, Dempsey would also have been nice. The planning for this offensive was also short changed. Not having close infantry support was also a mistake.
(It just occurred to me that I have been influenced from the books just read pior to reading Operation Goodwood. I read three books on Kursk and the tactical descriptions on the southern salient dealing with 48th PzC, 2nd and 3rd SS PzCs were more dramatic and influenced my opinion on this British offensive.)
There was little introduction to this operation. It would have been better for a fuller rendition of the military and political environment leading up to Operation Goodwood since the landings. I know toward the back of the book, the author states that it wasn't in his purview to do so but it would be better for newcomers like myself to understand the importance of this operation by explaining the troubles the British were having at Caen.
Also toward the end of the book, it was only couple paragraphs, but I didn't like Mr Daglish's blast to all Montgomery critics. Montgomery was a major influence on the final plans of Overlord and with all the intelligence gathered, he still underestimated the German response in Caen and didn't plan sufficiently or have adequate resources for the Caen sector. And his excuse that he was helping the Americans breakout by keeping the Germans at Caen seems a little thin. One wonders what the Normandy campaign would have been like if Caen was taken by D+1. I could write reams on this subject but I'm getting too far afield.
There are a number of things I did like about the book. There were a number of decent maps that helped and I also liked the novel use of aerial photos but these aerial photos were taken from a great height and take away a little of its practicality. It would have been much better if the photos were taken during the battle as well. Seeing the hordes of tanks advancing would have been great but this is just wishful thinking.
The best part of the book to me was the first eight appendices. They were:
The Goodwood Battleground
Army maps and map references
Telling the time
Armour in combat during Goodwood
Lessons learned from Goodwood
Order of Battle - 11th Armoured Div
Order of Battle - 21st Panzer Div
Bombing the Goodwood Battlefield
I learned more about the battle from these appendices than I did the narrative. This section alone was worth the price of the book.
Most reviewers liked this story, giving it 5 stars. I acknowledge the author has worked hard in giving the details he has but I feel there are tangential holes that needed to be filled in. I also acknowledge that I have biases on certain aspects of the Normandy offensive that may color my review. I do believe most people will like this book and is worth having in your library as part of your Normandy collection.
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