Disaster before D-Day

Disaster before D-Day

Stephen Wynn
ARRSE Rating
3 Mushroom Heads
Back in the days when I was in the Andrew, I did the fairly regular weekenders run between Pompey and Guz (Plymouth). On occasion, I took the road that winds along Slapton Sands and I have stopped by the Sherman tank that is there as part of the memorial to those service personnel who died. I had a vague understanding that the deaths occurred during practice landings for D-Day, when an allied convoy was attacked by German E-Boat.
Stephen Wynn takes the detail of the story much deeper than that.

Starting with an overview of military activity at Slapton Sands and a concise view of the planning for Operation Overlord, he sets the scene and the requirement. The book then explores, in much detail, the War Department requirement for training areas and the human impact of being forcibly relocated (and returned) with limited notice.

The book contains a series of relevant black and white photographs which bring the story to life. I found the detail of the exercise, leading up to the attack itself interesting and informative; leading to the conclusion that the deaths were tragic, avoidable (with hindsight) as the main point of failure is a common one in military operations, of poor communications. The perspective from the German side was insightful and I would have liked it if this had been explored in more depth.

As a detail driven person, I would prefer to see referencing in the text, in a more academic style, so I could look at further reading in areas of interest. I also found it interesting that the author only references internet sites as sources rather than other works, but maybe this reflects the modern way of gathering information; although I did wince slightly at the use of Wikipedia.
This book stands as a record for those who died and I thank Stephen for taking the time to research and publish it.

A solid 3 Mushroom Heads
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