Author(s): Martin Robson
D-Day, or OVERLORD (to give the Allied invasion of Normandy its codename) was the largest amphibious invasion in history. The plan called for an assault upon Hitler s Atlantic Wall to be conducted by 160,000 men, convoyed and landed by an invasion flotilla of over 5,000 ships to land several waves of troops upon five Normandy beaches- Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The battle belonged that morning to the thin, wet line of khaki that dragged itself ashore on the channel coast of France , General Omar M. Bradley would later state. On D-Day itself 175,000 men, 3,000 guns, 15,000 tanks and 15,000 other vehicles were landed in Normandy by parachute, glider or across the beaches. Once established and with beachheads linked up, allied forces were faced with fighting in the dense, claustrophobic Normandy bocage, and it took six weeks of brutal additional fighting for the allies to break out of Normandy. In the 70th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this book tells this fascinating story not only through stunning documentary photography but also through over 200 key objects, selected for their importance to the outcome and experience of Operation OVERLORD and often arranged as the complete D-Day kit of many of the participants. Key artefacts include uniforms and personal mementoes of Generals Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Bradley and Cota; the blueprints of the Mulberry harbours; personal mementoes of the US Rangers on Omaha Beach and British Airborne troops at Pegasus Bridge; and uniforms and equipment of every major combatant army, including rare German Army and Waffen SS material from the Normandy battlefields. The scope is international, covering USA, UK, Canadian, Polish, Free French and the French resistance along with other nations who took part including the Axis side. The book covers objects that had an influence at political, strategic, operational and tactical levels along with key objects which humanise such a vast undertaking such as K-rations and cigarettes.
Dr Martin Robson is a Lecturer at the Defence Studies Department, King's College London at the Joint Services Command and Staff College. He is the author of several works of military, aviation and naval history. Dr Robson delivers regular battlefield lectures and 'on the ground' perspectives on D-Day and the fighting in Normandy as part of the UK Staff College 'Battlefield Tours' to key D-Day sites including Omaha Beach, Sword Beach, Arromanches, Pegasus Bridge and Pointe du Hoc all of which provides him with a remarkable knowledge of D-Day objects, their significance and their contemporary context.