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The 101st. Airborne in Normandy

The 101st. Airborne in Normandy

ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
101st Airborne Division was activated in August 1942 in Louisiana, and its first combat mission was Operation Overlord. On D-Day―June 6, 1944―101st and 82nd Airborne dropped onto the Cotentin peninsula hours before the landings, tasked with capturing bridges and positions, taking out German strongpoints and batteries, and securing the exits from Utah and Omaha Beaches.

Things did not initially go smoothly for 101st Airborne, with cloud and antiaircraft fire disrupting the drops resulting in some units landing scattered over a large area outside their designated drop zones and having to waste time assembling ― stymied by lost or damaged radio equipment ― or trying to achieve their objectives with severely reduced numbers.

Casualties were high in some areas due to heavy pre-registered German fire. Nevertheless, the paratroopers fought on and they did manage to secure the crucial beach exits, even if they only achieved a tenuous hold on some other positions. A few days later, 101st Airborne were tasked with attacking the German-held city of Carentan as part of the consolidation of the US beachheads and establishment of a defensive line against the anticipated German counteroffensive. The 101st forced their way into Carentan on 10 and 11 June. The Germans withdrew the following day, and a counteroffensive was put down by elements of the 2nd Armored Division. This fully illustrated book details the planning of the airborne element of D-Day, and the execution of the plans until the troops were withdrawn to prepare for the next big airborne operation, Market Garden.

Casemate have provided 128 fact packed pages with illustrations, personal profiles together with maps and weaponry descriptions. This is an stunning example of how a small booklet should be, all you need to give you a working knowledge of this unit's actions in Normandy with vignettes such as photos of the troopers with their Mohawk haircuts applying war paint on each other to bolster their confidence; the Germans said it just made them easier to identify and kill.

This is is a condensed "Band of Brothers" with profiles of Richard Winters and Easy company as well as the German and American Generals . The descripion of the battles such as Carentan are as clear as you need them to be. I would suggest this series of books Men, Battles, Weapons would be the ideal starting place for sixth formers taking history of WW2 to start whilst still providing interest to the older reader. I am so pleased to have been able to review it.

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