Fighting Them on the Beaches: The D-Day Landings - June 6, 1944

My father landed this book on a shelf in my room years ago after he had read it. As part of an effort to read more books I decided that “Fighting Them on the Beaches” would be a good start.

Written by Nigel Cawthorne, this book takes the reader through the build up to the D-Day landings along the beaches of Northern France. This is a topic that I remember finding interesting back in school, probably aided by the many hours spent playing Medal of Honor games back in the PS2 days.

The book begins by describing the foothold that the Axis powers had over much of Europe at the time, notably the Atlantic Wall which provided a line of defence stretching from Scandinavia to southern France.

The following chapters then describe the weapons and vehicles used, the deception involved and the immense planning by the Allies for D-Day, where they would storm several beaches in northern France and begin their counter attack to take back Europe. The landing themselves are broken down into separate chapters for each beach, codenamed Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah.

While sometimes heavy with names of people, places and equipment, the book is a relatively easy read and gives a good account of the scale and importance of the landings. I have a feeling it won’t be the last WW2 book I’ll be reading.

Highlight: The chapter outlining Operation Fortitude, the successful operation by the Allies to convince Hitler that attacks would come in various other parts of Europe and France in order to ensure that Axis forces were not at full strength when they attacked.