A carefully researched review of the 21 days from landing for the Canadian 4th Division. The author has presented the facts and offered logical conclusions, righting some of the injustices done to the Canadians. An absorbing account and very much recommended.
NAME: 21 Days in Normandy, Maj Gen George Kitching & the 4th Canadian Armoured Division FILE: R2412 AUTHOR: Angelo Caravaggio PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 289 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War 1I, World War Two, Second World War, Canadian Armoured Div, Normandy, Sword Beach, Gold Beach, liberation of Europe, Caen break out ISBN: 1-47387-071-2 IMAGE: B2412.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/gwwrzcu LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: A carefully researched review of the 21 days from landing for the Canadian 4th Division. The author has presented the facts and offered logical conclusions, righting some of the injustices done to the Canadians. An absorbing account and very much recommended. The work that went into preparing the invasion force, training, logistics, and misinformation fed to the Germans, was a triumph by any standard. Getting this huge force across to Normandy by sea and landing it was an enormous achievement for all of the Allied forces involved. Having landed, further magnificent achievement was demonstrated in getting the troops and their equipment off the landing areas and on into a breakout. Inevitably, some units faced very much stronger German opposition than others, some were lucky and for others luck ran out. It was the largest and most complex amphibious landing in history and may never be out done in the future. What will stand for all time is the uniformally great courage of all participants. The nature of military and political ego means that some perceptions of what has happened may vary wildly. Some individuals will seek to cover their own weaknesses by pointing fingers at others and, with so many nationalities involved, there will be confusion and neglect that historians will miss or inaccurately present. The British and Canadian forces were criticised at the time, and subsequently, for taking longer to get off the beaches and break out. The Canadians suffered most of the criticism and their commander was replaced after only 21 days. That has been enough for many historians to accept this at face value when they should have researched with greater care. It is therefore very welcome to read a book that avoids this neglect and sets out the facts fairly and objectively. When a battle or campaign succeeds, the perilous nature of the undertaking is often ignored. D-Day was an incredible action that faced great risk during the first 24 hours, and then on until the break out from the beaches had been completed. At any point, the Germans might have halted the invasion and then thrown the invaders back into the sea. The advantage is normally with the defenders. When war broke out, men flocked to the colours from across the British Empire. Even in those parts of the Empire where political movements were flexing muscles for independence, the flow of support was strong. There were also those of former colonies and territories who made their way to Britain, notably from the US and the Irish Republic. For the British and all those giving their support, it was no easy task and the first years presented many more challenges than successes. By 1944, these people understood the risks and were naturally motivated to take care in every action to minimize casualties and increase prospects for ultimate victory. That contrasted somewhat with the US forces who were fresh to conflict, had much to learn, and often failed to see all of the risks to be addressed. On the Anglo-Canadian wing of the landings, initial progress was good and the airborne forces had reached and held their objectives. What was then required was progress out from the beaches to the strategic locations that were being held magnificently by lightly armed glider and paratroop units, with assistance from French Resistance fighters. Against them stood several seasoned German armoured units, equipped with the best tanks available to the Germans. The 21st Panzers put up a particularly spirited defence and might have caused greater damage to the Anglo-Canadian armour which was largely equipped with the American Sherman tank. The Sherman was available in numbers, but it was at a disadvantage against the Panther and Tiger tanks, and even against the PKW IV and its assault gun variants. In fact, the Germans realized that the fight against the British and Canadian force was taking up so much German resource that it was allowing the US troops to break out from their beaches and threaten to encircle the German troops. To address this, the 21st Panzers and other units were taken out of the line and sent to head off the US force. That relieved the pressure somewhat on the British and Canadians, allowing them to advance towards their next objective. The Canadian 4th Armoured under Kitching was entering battle for the first time in one of the greatest battles ever. In looking critically at the first 21 days from landing, many historians have sadly neglected the triumphs and achievements of the 4th Armoured as it proved flexible and adaptable, going on to achieve so much in the drive towards Germany. The author has re-examined the performance of the Canadians and their leaders. This provides fresh insight and places the first 21 days in its correct context. This is an excellent case study of Divisional command, the limitations of equipment and doctrine against the friction of war. The text is supported by maps and organizational charts in the body of the book, with further support from a nicely chosen photo-plate section