Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, Pas de Calais, Battleground, Normandy

B1805

This new book on the Atlantic Wall covers just one section of the defences in good detail and with the added information required by those readers who intend to undertake a battlefield tour of the surviving artefacts. An excellent selection of photographs and maps reinforces the able text.

The publisher has already released over 100 titles in the highly acclaimed Battleground series. This book is a worthy addition and follows the format of providing a volume that is entertaining and informative for those reading at home and for those intending to visit the fortifications.

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NAME: Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, Pas de Calais, Battleground, Normandy
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1805
DATE: 100213
AUTHOR: Paul R Williams
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 176
PRICE: £12.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War Two, European Theatre, Pas de Calais, battlefield tours, Atlantic Wall, coastal defences
ISBN: 1-84884-817-X
IMAGE: B1805.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/bz94egj
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Atlantic Wall, built by slave labour during WWII, has inspired many books. Most of these have attempted to cover German coastal defences from Norway, South to the Spanish Border. That either results in a very thick and costly book, or a slim volume that provides only a brief overview.

This new book on the Atlantic Wall covers just one section of the defences in good detail and with the added information required by those readers who intend to undertake a battlefield tour of the surviving artefacts. An excellent selection of photographs and maps reinforces the able text.

The publisher has already released over 100 titles in the highly acclaimed Battleground series. This book is a worthy addition and follows the format of providing a volume that is entertaining and informative for those reading at home and for those intending to visit the fortifications.

In covering the construction of the Atlantic Wall, the author has captured the combination of careful planning and pragmatic use of available materials. Some gun emplacements were designed for heavy guns, sourced from German warships and stocks of siege guns, some having survived illegally from WWI. These batteries were formidable reinforced concrete structures with magazines and special mounts for the guns. Long-range railway guns also formed part of the offensive capabilities of the Atlantic Wall, with the range to hit targets in Dover. In other batteries, armoured turrets carried guns of various sizes and, in several cases, turrets removed from French tanks were employed. Numerically, the most common guns were machine guns and anti-aircraft canon, mounted and without static mounts, scattered along the defences to provide essential protection for the heavier guns from infantry and aircraft. Wheeled anti-aircraft and anti-tank batteries were also available and capable of being redeployed to sections of the wall under direct attack. In addition to the many types of gun along the narrow coastal fringe, armoured fighting vehicles and guns were held in reserve inland, ready to be rushed to the site of a beach landing.

Massive though the defences were, the length of coastline would have required more time to defend than was available to the Germans. The result was that the Atlantic Wall included many vulnerable stretches. The pre-occupation in anticipating the main attack would fall on the Pas de Calais made a series of assumptions that proved to be wrong. When the Allied landing took place on the Normandy Beaches, the heaviest defences in the Pas de Calais were outflanked and fears that the Normandy landings were a diversion from the real invasion ensured that valuable troop and weapons concentrations continued to be held to reinforce the Pas de Calais. By the time that the Germans realized that Normandy was the real attack point, the Allies were ashore and expanding their beachhead.

This book stands in its own right, but the publisher is also releasing other books to collectively cover the Atlantic Wall along its full length. This makes the individual volumes affordable without any loss of detail and with the flexibility that a reader could purchase one of the books in the series before each visit to the battlefields.

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