Normandy June 1944: The Night of Liberation, Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré

Normandy June 1944: The Night of Liberation, Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré

This educational book follows one aircraft and its crew, and the stick of paratroops from the 3rd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that it carried to Normandy on D-Day. We look at the personnel involved, their equipment, their role in the battle, their experiences on D-Day and afterwards.

Visually the book falls into two halves. The first half resembles a graphic novel, with large (almost full page) illustrations largely dominant. In the second half, which begins with the chapter tracing the fate of the individual paratroops, wartime photographs dominate.

Although this book is aimed at school children, it doesn't pull its punches. The leader of the paratroop unit, Colonel Lt. Colonel Robert Wolverton, was killed before even reaching the ground, and the stick suffered heavy losses during the fighting in Normandy. On D-Day all of the survivors were captured, but many soon escaped and returned to the fighting. The crew of the Dakota Stoy Hora were luckier, but the aircraft itself crashed after the war, killing its entire crew.

This is an impressive educational resource, nicely illustrated, and benefiting (at least for me) in following a group of paratroops who weren't involved in any great successes on D-Day, serving as a reminder of the heavy cost of the D-Day invasion. Some of the same material is also presented in film format on an accompanying DVD.

1 - Eisenhower worries for his paratroopers
2 - The Prayer of Lieutenant Colonel Wolverton
3 - The 3rd Battalion of the 506th Regiment
4 - Equipment and weapons of the US paratroopers in Normandy
5 - At Exeter aerodrome, 4 and 5 June 1944
6 - The Douglas C-47 'Stoy Hora' and its crew
7 - The 440th Troop Carrier Group
8 - On  board the 'Stoy Hora'
9 - 'I saw them jump to destiny'
10 - What happened to Lieutenant Bobuck's Men?
11 - What became of the crew of the 'Stoy Hora'?
12 - The meteoric rise of soldier Shames
13 - Dahms the German paratrooper dreams of the cinema
14 - In the footsteps of the D-Day Participants
15 - Saint-Côme-de-Mont, first French village 'adopted' by the U.S.A.
16 - Visiting Museums in the Utah Beach area
How did this book come into being?
Secrets of the men of the 440th TCG
Ed Shames' Homage to Robert Wolverton

Author: Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 80
Publisher: Heimdal
Year: 2014

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