Landing on the Edge of Eternity

Landing on the Edge of Eternity

by Robert Kershaw
Landing on the Edge of Eternity

Landing on the Edge of Eternity

by Robert Kershaw



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Early in 1944, German commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took a look at the sloping sands and announced "They will come here!” He was referring to "Omaha Beach”. The beach was then transformed into three miles of lethal, bunker-protected arcs of fire, with seaside chalets converted into concrete strongpoints, with layers of barbed wire and mines. When Company A of the US 116th Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in D-Day’s first wave on 6th June 1944, it lost 96% of its effective strength. This was the beginning of the historic day that Landing on the Edge of Eternity narrates hour by hour—midnight to midnight—tracking German and American soldiers fighting across the beachhead. The Wehrmacht thought they had bludgeoned the Americans into submission yet by mid-afternoon, the American troops were ashore. Why were the casualties so grim, and how could the Germans have failed? Juxtaposing the American experience—pinned down, swamped by a rising tide, facing young Wehrmacht soldiers fighting desperately for their lives, Kershaw draws on eyewitness accounts, memories, letters, and post-combat reports to expose the true horrors of Omaha Beach. Landing on the Edge of Eternity is a dramatic historical ride through an amphibious landing that looked as though it might never succeed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681779317
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Format: eBook
Pages: 400
File size: 84 MB
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About the Author

Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1973 and went on to command the 10th Parachute Battalion. His active service included several tours in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, and Bosnia. After retiring from the British Army as a full Colonel, he became an author of military history and a battlefield tour guide. He has written twelve books published in Great Britain and has participated in numerous National Geographic and History Channel documentaries. Robert lives in England.

Table of Contents

Some of the Voices from Omaha ix

Abbreviations and Glossary xv

Maps xvii

Introduction xxiii

Prologue: 1:00 A.M. June 6, 1944 xxix

1 The Far Shore 1:00 A.M. to 4:30 A.M.

The Plage d'Or 1:00 A.M. to 4:00 A.M. 1

Where the German Soldier Stands Nobody Gets In! 3:00 A.M. to 4:30 A.M. 21

2 Force "O" Midnight to 3:30 A.M.

The Funnel Midnight to 3:00 A.M. 40

GIs: Government Issue. 1:30 A.M. to 3:00 A.M. 53

"Strictly Power." The Plan. 2:30 A.M. to 3:30 A.M. 64

3 The Storm Breaks 2:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M.

"Whole World Against Us" 2:00 A.M. to 4:55 A.M. 79

"Bacon and Eggs on the Edge of Eternity" 2:30 A.M. to 4:30 A.M. 88

"A Series of Flashes on the Horizon." The Bombardment 5:50 A.M. to 6:20 A.M. 103

4 Death Ride 4:15 A.M. to 6:30 A.M.

A Wild Death Ride 4:15 A.M. to 6:15 A.M. 113

Sie Kommen! 5:00 A.M. to 6:30 A.M. 125

France Looked Sordid and Uninviting 6:15 A.M. to 6:30 A.M. 132

5 First Wave Floundered 6:30 A.M. to 7:30 A.M.

Vierville Cliff Shoulder, Right 6:30 A.M. to 7:20 A.M. 140

Colleville Cliff Shoulder, Left 6:30 A.M. to 7:30 A.M. 162

6 Pointe du Hoc, "The Jib" 6:40 A.M. to 11:10 A.M.

The Cliff 6:40 A.M. to 7:30 A.M. 183

The Plateau 7:30 A.M. to 11:10 A.M. 195

7 Win or Lose! 6:45 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.

The Center. Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer 6:45 A.M. to 8:00 A.M. 203

Leaders 7:00 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. 217

Stop the Boats 8:30 A.M. 231

8 The Crisis 8:30 A.M. to Midday

Dilemmas 8:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. 241

More Infantry 9:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. 258

9 Village Fighting 11:30 A.M. to Dusk

Colleville, East 11:30 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. 269

Vierville, West 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. 284

Saint-Laurent, Center 11:30 A.M. to Dusk 294

10 Tenuous Foothold 4:00 P.M. to Midnight

Kampfgruppe Meyer 4:00 P.M. to 11:55 P.M. 301

Pointe du Hoc. The Angle Midday to Midnight 308

Dusk to Darkness 5:00 P.M. to Beyond Midnight 316

Beyond 24 Hours 331

Bibliography 349

Endnotes 353

Index 366

Acknowledgments 376

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