Caen Controversy: The Battle for Sword Beach 1944 Hardcover – 15 May 2014
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Stewarts evaluation of the battle for Sword Beach is excellent. His Operational insight and ability to seamlessly flow into a tactical narrative make this a battlefield study of some significant worth ... Stewart is to be commended and Helion has published another quality book well worth the investment. --War History Online
This is by far the best analysis of the 3rd Division s actions of D-Day this reviewer has ever read. Most highly recommended. --Society of Friends of the National Army Museum Book Review Supplement
The book provides an extremely enjoyable and illuminating description of the events and activities of the 3 Br Inf Div which adds a significant degree of granularity to the events that occurred on Sword Beach and further inland on D-Day. By giving the reader insight into the various factors that influenced Brigadier Smiths thinking, Caen Controversy has opened up areas for further study and discussion. --Canadian Military History
About the Author
Andrew Stewart is a Senior Lecturer within the Defence Studies Department, King's College London, the academic component of the United Kingdom's Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC). Currently he is the Land Historian supporting the Higher Command and Staff Course and gives lectures and leads seminars on both conflict-related historical and contemporary issues. As a senior military history teacher he regularly leads European battlefield tours. In December 2001 he was awarded his postgraduate doctorate from the Department of War Studies, King's College London. This examined civil-military and coalition relations within the British Empire during the Second World War. A series of articles for leading academic journals have subsequently been produced and his first two books received favourable reviews. He remains a committed military historian and in addition to this volume he is also currently writing a book on British wartime planning to counter a possible German invasion which will be published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. He also acts as a 'Senior Conflict and Stabilisation Adviser' to the Stabilisation Unit, a specialist UK government body that works with fragile and post-conflict states. Married to Joanne, he lives in Oxford and enjoys watching cricket and beer tasting in his spare time.
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I bought it to find out more about an uncle in the 77th Assault Squadron, Royal Engineers who was killed in the landings on Queen White sector, and who as his commanding officer, Capt Arthur Low, wrote to Uncle's widow "was amongst the first to land, and was killed in that first great fight to establish a foothold". The book does not mention Uncle, but does describe the actions and movements of the Assault Squadron that day, from which I can see globally what they were doing. And, in the footnotes it explains that Arthur Low's reports are in the Cass papers in the Imperial War Museum, so one day perhaps we can go there and copy them. No doubt many will want to buy this book for similar family history research.
My only real niggle is that although the book is hard cover, the pages are not stitched in, they are glued. Reading it laid flat on a table has resulted in many pages coming loose.
Incidentally, a month after D-day, Uncle's widow received a letter from the Ministry of Pensions advising her she would be eligible from the 25th September for a war pension of £1..12s..6d per week plus an additional 11 shillings a week for her infant son. I know there were thousands killed that day, and the cumulative bill to the government would be substantial, but individually, just over £2 a week does not seem a lot to raise a family on. Pressing on at all costs was important in the overall project plan, but for the individual soldiers and their families it obviously came with a great long term cost.
This book has provided me with lots of further reading that I want to take up relating to Sword beach and the battle for Caen.