I went in June 2004 for the 60th Anniversary, what is particularly moving is driving along you will see small round signs, on closer inspection they show the exact date and time and name rank unit of fallen soldier.
I am currently trying to put together a research paper on the Normandy landings and the build up to D-Day, but Iâm afraid Iâm a bit of an academic mong and donât have a great deal of prior knowledge. I chose the topic as I thought the subject interesting not because I knew much about it.
A Research paper,? so do some research, it has to be the most writen about 24 hours in history
There recently was an interesting piece on the 'Coast' TV show about the int build-up - lots of people sending in pre-war holiday snaps, postcards, etc and the derring-do of sappers carrying out covert beach recces to establish ground conditions.
Weather was a major issue and control of Iceland was key in the Allies being able to 'out-forecast' the Germans. (Hence why senior commanders were back in the Fatherland on leave).
Most disturbingly, the local population was French.
Some great stuff about on D Day weather, lots of politics, US - UK rivalry (we were right by the way), cutting edge technology fro Norwegians and a generous helping of derring do.
In relation to your original post the problems seemed to be
managing the politics
keeping the whole thing as secret as possible for as long as possible
putting the Germans off balance (see point above)
picking the right moment in terms of tide, moon and weather
assembling and coordinating a massive all arms operation
getting off the beaches
reinforcing the beach head
keeping the force supplied with food, fuel, ammunition, spare etc etc
I've been looking at this a little myself recently. If you wanted a research topic a few areas I noticed which were 'underdeveloped' were (along the theme of);
The effectiveness of the pre deployment training.
A comparrision between the attitudes of British and American soldiers.
Effective use of air cover/naval guns?
The use of SIGINT against the defenders.
The difference between the army of 1939 and 1944 - with regards to its use of fire/manoeuvre/armour etc.
Whilst I would consider myself an academic with a speciality in military history - my primary area of research concerns UN ops and not the Second World War. I certainly havenât read all of the literature surrounding it and so these many have been covered else where.
Iâm afraid Iâm a bit of an academic mong and donât have a great deal of prior knowledge. I chose the topic as I thought the subject interesting not because I knew much about it.
Iâve been trawling tinternet and libraries for weeks but havenât been able to grab any inspiration for an essay with regard to the problems faced by the allied troops on the beaches. My sole current point consists of âlots of Germansâ
Does anyone have any pointers of where to look more specifically with regard to what problems were faced (very general I know, but it gives me a greater scope to work with). Iâm not looking for (nor indeed am I allowed) anyone to help me write the essay, but a few steers would be greatly appreciated and this site hasn't let me down yet.
I am not sure what you expect from this forum, but aren't;lt you being lazy by asking for someone to spoon feed you?
D Day is one of THE most documented operations in military history - and Mr Google offers 451million entries on D Day the internet. The top one is wikipedia D Day. This and the associated entry for Operation overlord contains a lot of basic information.
It doesn't sound as if you are really engaging your brain on this research. A typical group of Junior Soldiers in week four with low BARB test scores can identify 20 relevant bullet points within 10 minutes, just by using their imagination backed by their knowledge from computer games and films.
You need to think through the problem to benefit from the education.
Were there really "loads of Germans " compared to the Allies?
What were the relative strengths and weaknesses of each side?
What did each side do to attempt to frustrate the other
What were the plans of each side a- and how well did they work?
How well did each side's training/ leadership/motivation enable their soldiers to perform
If you are genuinely seeking to find a new angle and not simply monging it, you need to find something not already written about. D Day is a tough topic because it's been written about so much. You would be better writing about the invasion of Southern France or Italy or the Dodecanese in 1943. Even the professionals struggle to find a new angle. Anthony Beevoir managed to write about the French Civilian experience in his 65th anniversary tome, but most of what he wrote has already been written.
Its funny but my girlfriend boys, fifteen year old twins had this as a history question the other day? they borrowed all my D Day books and believe it or not did the research themselves, so get off your Arrse and do a trip to the library
Research the Order of Battle. Take a list of Regiments and Battalions. Look for County regiments etc, like Light Infantry and county yeomanry regiments. The war diaries for these units stand a good chance of living in the relevant county hall records office.
I stumbled across the War Diary for a Durham Light Infantry battalion (forget the number) in Durham County Hall. Unfortunately for you, they didn't land until D+ several after the beaches were cleared and went straight off into the ulu.
If you were looking for a history of the build-up or the breakout it would be right up your street and I could have told you that they camped in a field only a mile or two from my home near what is now Rownhams Services on the M27. Also they were the nearest unit to Villers-Bocage when it kicked off. And co-incidentally I learned that my uncle spent the build up with 25 Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment camped on the site now occupied by my office at Hursley Park near Winchester. They DID land on D-Day (his third D-Day landing after Sicily and Messina) but tbh I cannot remember the regimental history (I have a scanned copy of his original) telling me much about D-Day.