Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle that Shaped World War II in Europe

Overview

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. It was also the crucible of combat tactics and logistic techniques that would decide the outcome of World War II... The Battle of Normandy began on D-Day. June 6, 1944—the day that the Allied forces launched the great crusade to free Europe from the iron grip of Nazi Germany. Tightly constricted hedgerow country and bitter German resistance held the Allied advance to a crawl—until they broke through and trapped the Nazi ...

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Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle that Shaped World War II in Europe

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Overview

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. It was also the crucible of combat tactics and logistic techniques that would decide the outcome of World War II... The Battle of Normandy began on D-Day. June 6, 1944—the day that the Allied forces launched the great crusade to free Europe from the iron grip of Nazi Germany. Tightly constricted hedgerow country and bitter German resistance held the Allied advance to a crawl—until they broke through and trapped the Nazi armies. Yet within weeks of this stunning disaster, the Germans smashed the most dangerous Allied offensive yet. How was this possible? Noted author John Prados answers this vexing question with an account that reframes the Normandy breakout. Shifting between battle action and command decisions on both sides, Normandy Crucible lucidly illustrates how this campaign molded the climactic battle for Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

Mark Perry
"Prados reframes the Normandy Campaign and, in so doing, tells us the story we do not know."
America In WWII Magazine
Normandy Crucible is a well-written account of the campaign that started the battle for France. Drawing on primary sources that include official unit histories and the memoires of senior commanders and delving deep into the workings of Ultra, Prados has produced a solid read.
Kirkus Reviews

A fresh point of view on the 1944 battle that emphasizes intelligence, logistics and the battle's unexpected strategic consequences.

While researching Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II (1995), prolific military historian Prados (How the Cold War Ended, 2010, etc.) noticed that histories of the Normandy campaign paid scant attention to ULTRA code-breaking (declassified in the 1970s) and provided weak explanations of why the Wehrmacht, fleeing in disorder in August, recovered so quickly. The author concentrates on the month from mid-July to mid-August, six weeks after the landing. The British were battling for Caen, nine miles from the coast despite its scheduled capture on day one. Stalled American forces were about to launch Operation Cobra, another offensive aimed at breaking out. Allied frustrations paled next to those of the Germans, who were vastly outnumbered and harried by Allied air supremacy. By the end of August, the Allies were racing across France and predicting victory by Christmas. A month later, they suffered a bloody nose at Arnhem, and by November resistance brought the advance to a halt. This should have come as less of a surprise because ULTRA intercepts as early as June revealed Germany mobilizing another million men. In addition, despite Hitler's penchant for stand-fast orders and suicidal offensives, he worked hard to strengthen defenses on Germany's Western border.

Prados has done his homework, writes fine battle descriptions and makes a convincing case that events during the summer of 1944 predicted the subsequent course of the war.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451236944
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 622,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. John Prados is a senior research fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects, at the National Security Archive. He also directs the Archive’s Iraq Documentation Project, as well as its Vietnam Project. He holds a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University. His books Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975, Keepers of the Keys, and Combined Fleet Decoded were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has published articles with Vanity Fair, The Journal of American History, Scientific American, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Prologue: The Decision 1

1 German Nightmares 13

2 Allied Anxieties 50

3 The Beginning of Disaster 89

4 A Hurricane of Steel 111

5 All the Führer's Horses 159

6 The Cauldron 200

7 Normandy Crucible 252

Appendix 271

Endnotes 281

Bibliography 297

Index 309

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Just a bit off

    I have read quite a few books on Normandy over several years. This book is a bit off. He refers to British General Alanbrooke. Well he was Gen Alan Brooke as CIGS during the war and only later was Viscount Alanbrooke. He called the Mulberry harbors "gooseberries." He does give some German perspective that is not found on many other books, and much of his detail seems accurate. But I am concerned by a couple basic mistakes. I do not find his writing style up to the level of most authors. And the chapter on Fortitude is just confusing at best. I can't recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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