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I liked this book and I consider it as a very precious thing, because it was a pleasure to read it and I learned from it A LOT!

This book describes comprehensively the installation of a German powerful coastal battery on Pointe-du-Hoc, a point from which it was possible to engage allied transport schips approaching both Utah and Omaha beaches. It then describes allied planning of operations necessary to destroy this target, continues with allied air raids and shelling of the site by warships, before we finally go to the landing by US Rangers itself. Author described also the landing on Omaha Beach at Vierville of those Rangers who couldn't arrive to the main target. They were then used by general Cota as shock troops in the breakthrough from the beach. The order given by him at that occasion, "Rangers, lead the way!", became from then on the motto of this whole elite formation.

The description of events goes well beyond the capture of the gun positions and guns themselves, as we can also follow the more and more desperate fight against German counter-attacks until finally the relief force arrival on D+2.

I learned a lot from this book but probably the most important thing was the importance of RAF air raid in the morning of 6 June which saw the use of 108 (one hundred eight) Lancasters against just this one coastal battery - as it turned out later, during the post-battle analysis of events, this attack in itself more or less put the whole battery of business. But NOT definitely, as it was proved when Rangers discovered the guns abandoned, but still very much operational and with plenty of ammo, just waiting for their crews to come back... The fire support provided by old battleship USS "Texas" was also extremely precious for Rangers as by partly breaching the cliffs and allowing the use of ladders it certainly saved dozens of lives.

I rather disagree with the conclusion by author that with the benefit of hindsight the raid seems to not have been necessary - those powerful guns WERE operational and without Rangers attack, with just a minimum effort German defenders could (and almost certainly would) have use them against allied landings, if not in the first hours of D-Day then without a doubt somewhere in the afternoon. Their destruction was therefore certainly worthy the casualties suffered, because on this "longest day in the history" every and each precaution had to be taken to make the landings a success. And a success they were - in part because Rangers indeed "led the way"...

Maps are EXCELLENT, illustrations are good and the lone colour table is honest (better than the cover illustration). The description of the battle may not always seem entirely clear, but this is because as most modern infantry engagements this fight simply was very complex and unavoidably even occasionally confused (hence the heart-breaking cases of friendly fire) - but as far as my personal taste is concerned, Steven Zaloga described this battle as clearly as it was humanly possible. In some places repeated readings are needed to follow the events, but it is nevertheless possible to understand them - and analysing and understanding clearly this incredible exploit is certainly worth every effort.

Bottom line, this is a very good book. To buy, read and keep. Enjoy!
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on 9 February 2014
Steven Zaloga certainly has the right formula in this book. The graphical additions, maps, photos, etc. are all working really well together.
I just read and reviewed "German Seaman" from Osprey and you can really tell the difference in quality.

The book is very dense, packed with details and it reads like an action book. the action story is sometimes pause with behind the scenes stories. You really feel in the action with the men and can feel in the distance the roaring from the D-Day landings.
You also get a realistic point of view from the German side. Their difficulties to gather their forces to mount a counter attack, the horrendous bombardments they endured, etc.

The first map describing the assault is really clear and it is easy to understand everything quickly. On the contrary, the second map is a bit confusing. I could not find some numbers references on the map. Not sure if it is a mistake.

One negative point pointed out in another review is the involvement of some other rangers forces which do not really have a place in this book or perhaps so long.

The author also describes really well the debate of the justification of the raid.
Personally, I think that the planners could not reallly cancel the raid last minute. With the information available to them, they probably took the best decision at the time. History is full of these "If" scenarios. Consequently I found the author making a bit too much of an issue on this particular point.

Overall a superb book. One of the few osprey where I gave a five star.

Usually, the quality of the Raid series is relatively high.
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on 23 January 2015
A small book book on men who experienced more test of character in every 5 short minutes than most of us have in a lifetime. They trained for a time with our Royal Marines on the cliffs at Lands End, on the edge of my grandfather's farm. They were admired; and still are. Read this book and see why.
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on 24 July 2014
I have found Steven j Zaloga books that I have read to be informative and enlightening. The use of photographs and maps for reference is always a great addition. This book is another great by him. Well worth reading.
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on 23 June 2014
If you're interested in WWII in General or D-Day in particular, this us an excellent read. These young soldiers had never been in combat before but still saw the job done.
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on 2 May 2013
A great book about the WW2 US Army Rangers who climbed the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on 6 June 1944, Read it and enjoy
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on 12 January 2011
A good summary of the raid.

Osprey with its limited number of pages and hefty price persists in including a double-page painting showing the raid whether it is the Bruneval raid, Pointe du Hoc, etc ... I find those paintings of poor quality, cheap, unnecessary, and useless.
The map depicting the succeeding steps of the operation is confusing because of too much information crammed on one page. Especially the counter-attack and relief phase.

Also a confusion between the caliber of the western flak bunker is repeatedly blurted out, 37 mm to 20 mm then reverting to 37 mm and back again. A fact which certainly does make a difference in the damage such guns can cause as well as in the firing rate and range.

Once again as others in this series, first hand accounts are sorely missed.

The participation of 5th Rangers as well as other companies from 2nd Rangers that landed on the western end of Omaha beach doesn't really find a place in the story of the raid. Certainly not in my view, three and a half pages (out of the 56 pertaining to the story)plus those cheap double page paintings ...
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on 6 February 2015
Amazing true story.
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