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D-Day Fortifications in Normandy [Paperback]

Steven Zaloga , Hugh Johnson

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Book Description

Nov. 10 2005 Fortress (Book 37)
German defenses along the Normandy beaches were part of the larger Atlantic Wall fortifications designed to defend Fortress Europe. When Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took command of the invasion front in late 1943, he began a program to enhance fortifications along the Normandy coast as he believed that any Allied assault had to be stopped on the invasion beaches themselves. His most important contribution to the defenses was an extensive program of improvised beach obstructions to complicate any landing attempt. This book analyses these fortifications and describes how the Allied forces overcame them on the morning of June 6, 1944.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (Nov. 10 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841768766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841768762
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #493,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This book is really nice and is relevant to military historians, architecture historians, diorama builders, artillery builders and some armor builders... The information is well presented and easy to read. I enjoyed reading this entire book. I would not hesitate to recommend this book." -Scott Lodder, Armorama (February 2006)

About the Author

Steven J Zaloga was born in 1952, received his BA in history from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has published numerous books and articles dealing with modern military technology, especially armoured vehicle development. His main area of interest is the US Army in the European theater in World War II. He works as an analyst in the aerospace industry and lives in Maryland, USA.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Synthesis June 6 2006
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although there are a lot of books out there about D-Day and the German Atlantic Wall defenses, Stephen J. Zaloga's D-Day Fortifications in Normandy is a welcome addition. As usual, Zaloga is able to synthesize a great deal of useful information about a well-known subject and still produce a book that has insightful and original material. Zaloga has mined the best available English, German and French sources and these are listed in an excellent 2-page bibliography. Overall, this volume is one of the best of Osprey's Fortress series. I have been to Normandy and seen many of the fortifications that Zaloga writes about, yet I still managed to learn new facts about them in this volume.

Zaloga begins the volume with a well-written summary of the design and development of the German army and navy coastal defenses in Normandy. He manages to include a number of interesting facts, including nice-to-know items like the cost of construction. The next section deals with the actual defenses in detail, including a table that lists all strongpoints on the five D-Day beaches and another table that lists all artillery units in range of the beaches. Zaloga also provides great detail on the garrison, including mentioning individual German commanders in various bunkers. The final section on the defenses on D-Day, which covers beach-by-beach, is superb. Throughout, the volume is enhanced with an excellent mix of B/W photos from 1944 and modern color photos. Zaloga also provides excellent detailed color maps for each beach sector, which depict all the key German defenses. The color plates are also very good, depicting various types of German coastal bunkers. Overall, this volume delivers a great deal of well-packaged information for its small size.

The only item that I would disagree with is his assessment that, "the German defenses quickly failed when assaulted by Allied forces on D-Day." It is currently in vogue among many military historians to deride fixed fortifications like the Atlantic Wall as a `white elephant,' but this ignores their intended purpose. Although Rommel hoped to defeat the invasion on the beaches, it was the reserve troops who were supposed to deliver the decisive blow; the coastal defenses were merely intended to delay and disrupt the invaders long enough for the German reserves to deploy. As Zaloga notes, thirty Germans in WN 62 on Omaha Beach were able to inflict hundreds of casualties on the US 1st Infantry Division and to hold out for over six hours. In the British sector, the Hillman bunker complex prevented the British from getting into Caen on D-Day. By and large, the German beach defenses did their job admirably, inflicting several thousand casualties on the Allies and preventing the Allies from reaching many of their D-Day objectives. It was the German C2 errors that prevented a rapid and decisive commitment of mobile reserves that led to failure, not the concept of fixed fortifications. Furthermore, critics of the German Atlantic Wall rarely make any effort to suggest plausible alternatives for a resource-strapped Germany in 1944. The German defenses in Normandy were a good example of `economy of force' and not only were they useful on D-Day, but they helped to slow the Allied drive to capture ports like Cherbourg weeks after the invasion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey Jan. 3 2010
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite its very short length (64 pages, about half of which are illustration) the book covers its topic very well. This is the case from the major angles. For example, the role of physical fortifications is covered in overall German strategy, their developement from the early German occupation of the area to June 1944, many examples of the fortifications as well as various obstacles, how they performed (especially given the forces backing them up), how they were overcome are all discussed. As well, of course, as the physical characterisitcs of the fortifications themselves. The book contains many excellent cut away drawings and illustrations of the forticiations themselves as well as maps showing their layout on the Normandy beachheads. All of this in only 64 pages. This book provides an excellent introduction for those who wish to get up to speed on the topic in only about an hour to an hour and a half and even compares with much longer studies of the topic such as the much longer chapters on the German Normandy defenses contained in "Fortress Third Reich: German Fortifications and Defense Systems in World War II". All and all an excellent survey of the subject.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK TO GET!!! Feb. 13 2006
By Fort Geek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the book to get is you want to know details on the Atlantic Wall fortifications in Normandy. It has just about everything one could want to know about how the Germans defended Normandy during the invasion. Excellent and well illustrated work. Highly recommended for all those interested in World War II.
2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic March 3 2006
By Stew "the Club" Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I can say no more except the book is a must for those interested in the invasion of Normandy.

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