The Telegraph - The D Day Landings

The Telegraph - The D Day Landings

Philip Warner
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Operation OVERLORD, arguably the biggest, most complicated military operation that has ever taken place occurred 75 years ago. This book was originally published by William Kimber, London in 1980, then again in 2004 for the 60th Anniversary and now in 2019 for the 75th Anniversary. After an interesting introduction, the book breaks into anecdotal stories from members of the armed forces who were involved.

To quote from the introduction “Most of this book consists of the recollections of unassuming men. They found themselves on that day and the succeeding days in extraordinary situations, performing deeds of which they did not even know they were capable, and which in retrospect seem so fantastic as to be scarcely believable. For the facts of D Day are that it was such an enormous and unique occasion that even though a man had been a soldier, sailor or airman most of his adult life and had exercised his skills in similar though lesser events, the assault was on such a scale that it made everyone a novice, whether general or private, whether pilot flying high over the battlefield or private crawling over it and digging in.”

The chapters are broken down by broad units rather than cap badges, for example ‘The Navies’ and ‘On the Beach – the Sappers and others’ which adds a level of context. The 8 pages of black and white photographs bring the stories to life and make it easier to visualise if you have no other knowledge of D Day.

I found the stories fascinating although others may find them rather uninspired, as they are not stories per say, rather they are reflections of actual events. It is very much a coffee table book that you can pick up and put down at will, without losing the thread. Some of the stories are very short whereas some are long and detailed. They are a capture of living history and I enjoyed the opportunity to live the moment through the eyes of those who were there. I remain in awe of those people, what they did was incredible (although they do not see it that way,) and I am very grateful for it.

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