D-Day : The First 24 Hours

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In any military operation throughout history, few 24-hour periods have been as crucial as that of 6 June 1944. Nearly 7000 ships landed over 132,000 US, British and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy in the biggest amphibious landing ever attempted. During that first day, the Allied forces were at their most vulnerable to German counterattack, as Field Marshal Rommel had realised. Had the Germans mounted a significant attack and the landings failed as a result, the course of the war in Europe would have been significantly altered.

With the aid of specially commissioned maps, D-Day: The First 24 Hours describes the
dramatic history of the first 24 hours of the Normandy landings and explains in detail the events that occurred in each landing zone. The book begins with an overview of the immense preparations for the landings and the location of German forces around Normandy. The Allies, able to read the secret German Enigma codes and thus discover the Germans' dispositions, were desperate to persuade the Germans that the landing would be in the Pas de Calais area north east of Normandy, and the various Allied deception plans are described.

D-Day: The First 24 Hours then gives a dedicated chapter to the airborne and glider landings that preceded the main assault, before describing each of the individual beach landings in turn, from west to east. Five beaches were the battlefields for the beginning of the liberation of Europe - codenamed Utah and Omaha for the US beaches, and Gold, Juno and Sword for the British and Canadian. Each landing operation is fully detailed, including the slaughter of US troops at Omaha beach, the chaotic scattering of airborne forces throughout the French countryside, the logistical nightmare of consolidating each bridgehead, the British and Canadian failure to push into Caen, and smaller actions such as the US Rangers scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to clear German gun batteries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 190 x 246 x 17.78mm | 839.15g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 132 photos, artworks and maps; 132 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1782747559
  • 9781782747550
  • 1,100,744

Table of contents

1. The Road to Operation Overlord
Details the extensive preparations for the biggest seaborne invasion in history, including the gathering of a huge force in southern England.

2. Intelligence and Resistance
Details the efforts and sacrifice of the French Resistance and the vital intelligence gathering operations that preceded the invasion.

3. Logistics and Technology
Some formidable and ingenious weapons and equipment were produced specifically for the D-Day landings, including the bunker-busting AVREs, seaborne Duplex-drive Sherman tanks and mobile Mulberry harbours.

4. Special Operations
Recounts the important exploits of special forces, such as the US Rangers, who were tasked with destroying heavy gun emplacements in the run-up to the landings.

5. H-Hour
This chapter details the airborne and glider assault on the interior of Normandy by the US 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions and the British 1st Airborne Division.

6. Utah Beach
This chapter describes the easiest of the beach landings, where the Americans encountered little resistance.

7. Omaha Beach
Omaha beach turned out to be the most heavily defended and the American forces landing there suffered terrible casualties to secure a bridgehead.

8. Gold Beach
The British troops of XXX Corps were tasked with liberating the town of Bayeux as their main objective.

9. Juno Beach
Three brigades of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division landed at this beach, and achieved the deepest inland penetration of all Allied troops.

10. Sword Beach
On the extreme left of the Allied landings, the British 3rd Infantry Division had the important task of linking up with airborne forces who had landed east of the River Orne.

11. The Price
Details of casualties and the aftermath of Operation Overlord

Order of Battle


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About Will Fowler

Will Fowler has worked in journalism and publishing since 1972, specialising in military history. He is the author of several books on the subject.
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