Normandy '44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France

Normandy '44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France

by James Holland
Normandy '44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France

Normandy '44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France

by James Holland


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On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a new history of the momentous Normandy campaign with fresh insights from award-winning historian James Holland

D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the seventy-six days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed the Allied landing, have become the defining episode of World War II in the west—the object of books, films, television series, and documentaries. Yet as familiar as it is, as James Holland makes clear in his definitive history, many parts of the OVERLORD campaign, as it was known, are still shrouded in myth and assumed knowledge.

Drawing freshly on widespread archives and on the testimonies of eye-witnesses, Holland relates the extraordinary planning that made Allied victory in France possible; indeed, the story of how hundreds of thousands of men, and mountains of materiel, were transported across the English Channel, is as dramatic a human achievement as any battlefield exploit. The brutal landings on the five beaches and subsequent battles across the plains and through the lanes and hedgerows of Normandy—a campaign that, in terms of daily casualties, was worse than any in World War I—come vividly to life in conferences where the strategic decisions of Eisenhower, Rommel, Montgomery, and other commanders were made, and through the memories of paratrooper Lieutenant Dick Winters of Easy Company, British corporal and tanker Reg Spittles, Thunderbolt pilot Archie Maltbie, German ordnance officer Hans Heinze, French resistance leader Robert Leblanc, and many others.

For both sides, the challenges were enormous. The Allies confronted a disciplined German army stretched to its limit, which nonetheless caused tactics to be adjusted on the fly. Ultimately ingenuity, determination, and immense materiel strength—delivered with operational brilliance—made the difference. A stirring narrative by a pre-eminent historian, Normandy ‘44 offers important new perspective on one of history’s most dramatic military engagements and is an invaluable addition to the literature of war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802148964
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 05/19/2020
Pages: 864
Sales rank: 89,795
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

James Holland is the author of Big Week, The Rise of Germany and The Allies Strike Back in the War in the West trilogy, as well as Fortress Malta, Dam Busters, and The Battle of Britain. Holland regularly appears on television and radio and has written and presented the BAFTA shortlisted documentaries Battle of Britain and Dam Busters for the BBC, among others. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he has his own collection at the Imperial War Museum.

Table of Contents

List of Maps xi

Maps xii

Principal Personalities lv

Gallery of Portraits lx

Foreword lxiii

Prologue 1

Part I The Battle Before D-Day

1 The Atlantic Wall 9

2 Command of the Skies 28

3 Understanding Montgomery and the Master Plan 51

4 Countdown 65

5 The Winds of War 82

6 Big War 100

7 Air Power 118

Part II Invasion

8 D-Day Minus One 133

9 D-Day: The First Hours 147

10 D-Day: Dawn 170

11 D-Day: The American Landings 187

12 D-Day: The British and Canadian Landings 206

13 D-Day: The Turning of the Battle 225

14 D-Day: Foothold 243

Part III Attrition

15 Bridgehead 271

16 Fighter-Bomber Racecourse 293

17 Linking Up 306

18 The Constraints of Wealth and the Freedom of Poverty 321

19 Behind the Lines 342

20 The Grinding Battle 354

21 The Great Storm 373

22 EPSOM 393

23 Cherbourg and the Scottish Corridor 413

24 Trouble at the Top 434

25 Bloody Bocage 453

26 Living Like Foxes 471

Part IV Breakout

27 A Brief Discourse on Weapons and the Operational Level of War 497

28 Crisis of Command 518


30 Saint-Lô 557

31 COBRA 569


33 LÜTTICH 599

34 Tank Battle at Saint-Aignan 613

35 The Corridor of Death 627

Postscript 643

Glossary 653

Appendices 656

Timeline: Normandy 1944 667

Timeline: D-Day 679

Notes 693

Selected Sources 723

Acknowledgements 757

Picture Acknowledgements 761

Index 765

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