Book Review
Normandy Invasion Beaches
Visiting the Normandy Invasion Beaches and Battlefields
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by: Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]


It has been 75 years since the Allied Forces sent an Armada across the English Channel for the D-Day landings. At the time Operation Overlord had so many things stacked against it, not only the elements, but a ruthless enemy. It is hard to believe that this battleground is now visited by so many who are interested in this most pivotal and horrific time of the 20th century, and if you are planning to tour these sites you need an informative and easy to use guide book.


This soft back book published by Pen and Sword Military is written by Gareth Hughes, who is the head of middle school and head of history and politics at Pocklington School near York. The book contains 174 pages of good quality paper with many black and white photographs and maps scattered throughout. Priced at £12.99, this book is aimed mainly at teachers who may want to organise a trip for their students, but can also be used by those who may not have visited before and who are not sure what to visit. The focus of this publication is the five landing beaches of the landings, Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword.

The contents of this book are as follows:

About the Author
Day in Numbers
How to use this book
Visiting the Normandy beaches and battlefields with a school group
Army units, size and structure
The Second World War - A Timeline
The Second World War - A Very Brief History
Remembrance, Memorialisation and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
D-Day: A Glossary of some Key Term
Normandy and D-Day: A History
Tour 1: Utah and Omaha
Tour 2: Sword, Juno and Gold
After D-Day
D-Day Museums
Going further, doing more
Further Resources and Web links

I have chosen to look at Tour 1, Utah and Omaha. The expected time it would take to visit this area is at least seven hours – it is suggested that the start of a visit should begin at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, where you visit the town, church and pump. From there you can go to Utah beach to visit the various museums and memorials. When ready a visit to La Cambe German Cemetery, Points Du Hoc, Dog Green Sector on Omaha Beach are recommended areas to visit and then finish at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

Sainte-Mere-Eglise is a small town found on the route that the Germans would use to move their reinforcements to engage with the Allies on the beaches of Utah and Omaha. This battleground was depicted in the film The Longest Day, where the paratrooper (Private John ‘Buck’ Steele) was caught on the bell tower of the church and was not able to do anything except watch his fellow countrymen being cut down by the Germans. The weather meant that the Americans missed their landing zones, but the men of the 505th Parachute Infantry did have an accurate landing close to the town. The town water pump still stands in the square, this is where the towns folk obtained water to fight the flames in the buildings of the town.


This book is not the sort of book that I would normally go for, however, that being said this guide does provide valuable information on selected activities and suggestions on where to have lunch and what to do if you have any free time. If you would like to find out more about the author of this guide book, then you can find him on Twitter: @thehistoryman.
Fay Baker takes a look at a Pen and Sword offering titled 'Visiting the Normandy Invasion Beaches and Battlefields', a guide to what to see and information on what you will see at the D-Day landing beaches.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781473854321
  Suggested Retail: £12.99
  PUBLISHED: Jul 16, 2019

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Truly a necessity for those planning on visiting the Normandy beaches for a historical pilgrimage! If only I could find the time...
JUL 17, 2019 - 06:26 AM