This is another spectacular triumph for Steven Zaloga. I cannot fathom the amount of research he puts into his books or where he finds the time, but he does an incredible job.
Having been a founding member of the D-Day Museum (now National WWII Museum) in New Orleans, I thought I knew quite a lot about every aspect of D-Day from both sides of the fence, but this book literally changed my perspective on why Omaha Beach was such an anomaly in the D-Day landings. Every German machine gun nest, every defensive position, every gun, every mortar pit, every troop formation they had on-hand, is painstakingly accounted for here with a lot of photos I've never seen before. Many of the photos show the fortifications shortly after the battle, some are modern-day photos, and some show the emplacements being built and before June 6, 1944.
Zaloga is very careful not to place his conclusions out there as absolute fact, rather, he presents all the facts and data he could gather, then submits the multiple reasons, in his opinion that Omaha Beach turned into such a troublesome place for American troops when the rest of the landings occurred without much opposition. There lies the fascinating part of the story which is exaggerated today and has been turned into the stuff of legend and myth. Omaha Beach was not disproportionately heavily defended by the Germans - in fact, there were only four more anti-tank guns on Omaha than there were at Utah. There were only two 88mm guns capable of firing on Omaha Beach that morning, and both were knocked out fairly early in the conflict. The troops facing the Americans were just as sub-standard as those found everywhere else along the invasion front, yet somehow, they inflicted heavy casualties and held the Americans at bay. And did you realize there were only fifteen German troops atop the cliffs at Point du-Hoc? As legendary as the Ranger assault on Point du-Hoc has become, how many of you knew that the cliff was defended by only fifteen soldiers from a Nebelwerfer detachment, armed with three machine guns? THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK!
So why did Omaha Beach turn into such a disaster? Buy this book and find out - Zaloga has it figured out and lays out the facts and graphs wonderfully which will spell it out in simple black-and-white. It was a series of blunders, primarily the poor Naval bombardment, bad intelligence, and bad weather over the beach which made the aerial bombing completely ineffective, which doomed so many American soldiers that morning - blunders which were not made at Sword, Juno, Gold, or Utah beaches.
In the end, Zaloga presents an excellent book, providing the raw data very plainly that the Germans weren't any better at Omaha than they were anywhere else along the beach, it was simply a case of bad luck which led to their misfortune - and once more, how many times in war does a series of mistakes lead to what should have been an easy victory turn into a costly battle?
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - a very informative and well-illustrated piece of work.