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D-Day, the First 72 Hours (Revealing History (Paperback)) Paperback – 1 May 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075242842X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752428420
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.6 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,350,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"startling...the author reveals the real reason why the daring attack failed"

About the Author

William F. Buckingham is a leading expert on the First and Second World Wars. His other books include Tobruk: The Great Siege 1941-42, D-Day: The First 72 Hours and Paras: The Birth of British Airborne Forces. Supervised for his PhD by the doyen of First World War studies Sir Hew Strachan, he now teaches History at the University of Glasgow. He is currently writing a definitive new history of the Battle of Arnhem, also for Amberley Publishing. He lives near Glasgow.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Having read various books on the events of D-day, I have to say that I wasn't expecting to be surprised by this volume, but I'm happy to say that I was. Compared to many books on the subject it can be quite dry at times, mainly because it initially goes into a lot of necessary detail regarding the planning of operation Overlord, but also because it's relatively sparing with regards to first hand accounts of the men on the ground. However - and it's a BIG however - he takes to task the received (and it has to be said, mostly American) version of D-day, which is that the British and Canadians assaulted relatively lightly defended sectors of the Normandy coast and then once safely ashore "sat down" (in Omar Bradley's frankly libellous assessment) and abjectly failed to achieve their set tasks... whereas the Americans stormed hell on earth, saved the British and Canadians and won the war.

In fact the British and Canadians broke through much stronger defences than those faced on Omaha and then defeated the only dangerous counter attack of the day - only failing to take Caen, which they are always criticised for - because it was far to ambitious an objective for any unit to achieve, and was also swarming with German armour. The near disaster on Omaha was caused not by the defences but by the lack of training the U.S. forces received prior to the attack (most of which consisted of practising boarding landing craft) coupled with micro managing by the U.S. high command. For the same reason the U.S. 4th Division at Utah, faced with only light defences, actually performed badly once ashore, moving slowly inland with an astonishing lack of urgency that the author compares unfavourably with the heroics performed by the highly trained and motivated American airborne divisions the 4th was supposedly meant to rescue. All this is eye opening to say the least - especially if you've ever read anything by Stephen Ambrose.
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Format: Paperback
Detailed analysis of the D-Day landings in a thoughtful and flowing book. Much better than Ambrose who has an extreme bias toward the American (we won the war) mentality. Ambrose gave the impression that D-Day was an all American affair with minor help from Canadians & British. Buckingham puts the story straight!
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Format: Paperback
Buckingham presents the story of the assault divisions who hit the beaches of Normandy of 6 June and carried on the fight for the next several days before the follow-up formations began to arrive on the line and lend their weight to the battle.

The work starts by providing useful information on the training and preparation that these assault units undertook before venturing to Normandy. Although the first few chapters do feel like they have been padded out, its only till later in the book that the information in these few chapters really start to show their relevance when Buckingham analyses the events of 6 June and beyond, showing that events unfolded as they did largely due to pre-invasion training, organisation and command changes.

For the invasion itself he makes the rarely seen point of explaining why the beaches were codenamed as they were, and that the most developed and in-depth defences in Normandy lay in front of the Second British Army landing zones; one of the reasons, along with a panzer division counterattack, why Caen was not captured on 6 June. Buckingham acknowledges the fact that all units landing did not complete all there assigned objectives and provides analyses of this subject asking some tough questions. He also provides scathing criticism where he feels it is mostly deserved; in the latter case, it is mostly aimed at the organisation and command structure of the American assault formations (it should be noted that he highly praises the actions of the American parachute formations for their actions and fighting near enough non-stop since they landed). While I cannot comment if these criticisms are just deserved, due to a lack of knowledge about American actions in Normandy, his comments do provide interesting reading and food for thought.
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