Disaster Before D-Day, Unravelling The Tragedy At Slapton Sands

The tragedy at Slapton Sands was kept secret for decades and has only recently begun to receive the attention of historians. This book takes a balanced view of the incident, including the German side of the story and the positive lessons it gave ahead of D-Day. – Highly Recommended

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NAME: Disaster Before D-Day, Unravelling The Tragedy At Slapton Sands
FILE: R2833
AUTHOR: Stephen Wynn
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 135
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: amphibious assault, beach landings, invasion, liberation, D-Day, World War II, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, US Army, landing craft, escorts, German Navy, S-Boats, E-Boats

ISBN: 1-52673-511-3

IMAGE: B2833.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yyj4e9x2
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DESCRIPTION:   The tragedy at Slapton Sands was kept secret for decades and has only recently begun to receive the attention of historians. This book takes a balanced view of the incident, including the German side of the story and the positive lessons it gave ahead of D-Day. - Highly Recommended

The US Army had to expand very rapidly to meet the obligations agreed with Allies. To achieve this considerable and rapid growth, it was a major achievement to put civilians in uniform and issue the equipment and weapons they needed. Then they had to be shipped across the Atlantic and the Pacific to the battlefields. Inevitably, most of these soldiers had not only never seen battle, but a great many had never been outside the US before, or even outside their home State.

All of these pressures were also applied in Europe to the British who were tasked with giving and assisting in training these raw recruits to a level that would enable them to avoid unacceptable casualties. That meant that there would be casualties in training, justified because, for every training casualty, seven battle casualties were avoided and the prospects of avoiding defeat increased dramatically. However, this was not much comfort for family and friends of those who died or were seriously injured in realistic and tough training.

The Allied commanders knew that in an amphibious landing, the enemy held most of the advantages. During the run in to the beaches, the landing craft were sitting targets but had little chance of doing damage to the enemy in their prepared bunkers and trench lines. Even when the craft grounded, the troops and vehicles could not start to give accurate fire until they were ashore and, even then, they were exposed with very little available cover. That meant that training had to be rigorous and very tough, with not much less risk than the actual landings on D-Day.

The added danger during training was in inadvertently giving the enemy information that might indicate where the D-Day landings would take place and how the landings would be executed. The result was that the training assault on Slapton Sands was conducted at night with the same levels of secrecy as live landings on an enemy beach and within range of German aircraft and warships.

The author has compared several sources of information and been able to set the Allied side of the story against the German side of the story.  Most studies of the incident have concentrated on the disaster and various conspiracy and incompetence theories. In this new work, the author has looked at both the damage and the positive lessons. There were undoubtedly many positive results to balance against the losses and that led to revision of plans, particularly in directing the waves of landing craft onto the beaches of Normandy and protecting them against attack by German Coastal Forces. There was also good luck in that the Germans failed to understand the full implications of the training exercise, treating the incident as a target of opportunity rather than valuable intelligence that could have provided adequate warning of the Normandy Landings.