Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: The 1st Assault Brigade Engineers on D-DayHardback
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- Publisher: Stackpole Books
- Format: Hardback | 266 pages
- Dimensions: 203mm x 254mm x 23mm | 907g
- Publication date: 17 January 2010
- Publication City/Country: Mechanicsburg
- ISBN 10: 0811705897
- ISBN 13: 9780811705899
- Illustrations note: b/w photos & maps
- Sales rank: 262,724
Landing with the British and Canadians in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, was the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers, a specialised armoured unit tasked with removing obstacles and mines from Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches. To support this mission, the engineers modified their tanks with ingenious innovations, such as replacing the main gun with a giant mortar or attaching a steamroller-like device to flatten a path in the sand. In the early hours of D-Day, the brigade landed under fire, took serious casualties in some areas, but achieved many of its key objectives and cleared the way for the infantry.
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When the British and Canadians landed in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, they were accompanied by specialized armored vehicles that had the job of removing German obstacles and mines from the invasion beaches. Developed by the Royal Engineers and known as Hobart's Funnies, these unique tanks featured ingenious innovations--ranging from a giant 290-millimeter mortar to carpet-laying and bridge-laying devices--to support their mission on D-Day and after. Covering both the technical development of these engineer vehicles and their combat deployment, military historian Richard C. Anderson Jr. gives a minute-by-minute account of D-Day's early hours on Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches--the critical moments when the success of the invasion hinged on whether the assault engineers could clear a path through a minefield or breach the seawall under withering fire from entrenched German positions. Landing craft sank, vehicles bogged down, but the men and their vehicles blasted their way forward and contributed to Allied victory Anderson also describes D-Day as it unfolded on Omaha and Utah Beaches, where U.S. troops, despite being offered the special vehicles, stormed ashore without them. Carefully comparing the American and Commonwealth beaches--from the quality and quantity of German defenses on each beach to the number of Allied soldiers making the landing--Anderson assesses the performance of the vehicles and determines the nature of their impact on D-Day's successes and failures. Painstakingly researched and impressively detailed, Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall offers a refreshing perspective on the familiar events of June 6, 1944, while also standing as a testament to the courage and resolve of individual soldiers, whatever their equipment. Richard C. Anderson Jr. graduated from George Mason University with a degree in history and has worked for more than twenty years as a military analyst, currently with the U.S. Army. He is also the author of Hitler's Last Gamble (with Trevor N. Dupuy and David Bongard) and Artillery Hell (with Curt Johnson).