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The D-Day Experience

The D-Day Experience Book Review

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review December 2005 Title The D-Day Experience
Author Richard Holmes Publisher Barnes & Noble Publishing
ISBN 0-7607-7145-6 MSRP (USD) $22.95

Review

Every once in a while a person finds a genuine bargain. Such is the case with this new book.

It is rather unusual, because the book comes in a sleeve, contains removable reproductions of wartime documents and has a CD with recorded first-hand accounts of D-Day experiences of veterans who fought in Normandy. The book gives an almost daily account of what went on at Normandy, during and after the D-Day landings in a very comprehensive manner not seen done this way before.

The book is 12” x 10 ½” hard-cover format of 64 pages in length. It has 134 wartime photos, 25 maps, illustrations of various uniform shoulder patches (both U.S. & British), illustrations of award medals, color profiles of a few Allied and German tanks, many illustrations of various equipment used during the invasion.

The real high-point of the book is what is in the pockets that have been created in some of the pages of the book. These contain reproductions of all kinds of documents etc. used during the invasion. There are 29 of these:

  1. General Montgomery’s appreciation of the Cossac D-Day plan, 1 Jan. 1944.
  2. U.S. war bonds poster used in the campaign to raise money to meet the cost of the invasion.
  3. Assault beach defence maps, top-secret Allied documents showing details of German beach defences.
  4. Large, fold-out, German intellegence map, issued on 3 July 1944, nearly a month after D-Day, clearly showing the success of Operation Fortitude.
  5. Assignment orders for Operation Hardtack. 
  6. Aerial leaflet containing a message about the invasion, addressed to the citizens of Occupied Europe, from General Eisenhower.
  7. Major Howard’s planning notes & orders he received for the assault on Pegasus Bridge.
  8. Letter written, in French, appologizing for using a house without permission by British 6th Airborne troops.
  9. Top-secret, hand-drawn, map showing minute-by-minute positions on the way to drop zone, just west of Ste-Mere-Englise for elements of the 50th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 83nd Airborne Division.
  10. Paratrooper’s eye-view jump map of the drop zone at Ste-Marrie-du Mont.
  11. The Wednesday, 7 June 1944, edition of Stars & Stripes.
  12.  D-Day situation report messages sent by U.S. Information Team on Omaha Beach.
  13. Top-secret Allied briefing documents, dated 21 April 1944.
  14. Extract from the pocket diary of Sergeant G. E. Hughes on D-Day.
  15. Letter from Canadian Lance Sergeant Edwin Owen Worden, to his wife, written on the boat while waiting to cross the channel on 5 June 1944.
  16. Letter from General Montgomery to his friend Major General Frank Simpson.
  17. Letter from Winston Churchill to Chief of Combined Operations pressing for solutions to the initial Mulberry Harbor design problems.
  18. Early concept drawings for the Mulberry piers.
  19. Pages from the 27 May 1944 handbook for tugboats, used in the cross-channel transportation of the Mulberry harbors.
  20. First aid instruction leaflet issued to British troops in Normandy to help them deal with battle casualties before the arrival of trained medics.
  21. Three propaganda leaflets dropped on Allied troops in Normandy by the Luftwaffe.
  22. June 1944 diary, kept by Sergeant Murray Goldman of the 3rd Medical Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.
  23. A series of SHAEF maps showing the enemy order of battle during and after the struggle for St-Lo, from 30 June to 28 July.
  24. Aircraft recognition leaflet issued to U.S. troops to help ensure quick identification between friend and foe.
  25. Copy of the logbook of a British “Typhoon” pilot, 31 August 1944.
  26. Replica of Kurt “Panzer” Meyer’s Nazi party membership book.
  27. Copy of a 50-franc note, printed in the U.S., issued to Allied troops for use in France.
  28. Aerial leaflet dropped by the Allies on German troops to facilitate their safe surrender.
  29. A page from the official war diary of the 10th Brigade of the 1st Polish Armored Division, detailing it’s action in closing the Falaise Gap on 20 August.

This book is truly inter-active and easy reading too. If you are a WWII enthusiast, this book is a must. Especially at it’s low price.

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