This is the first entry in a new Osprey series, looking at some of the most famous raids in military history, starting with the US Rangers' attack on the German gun battery on Pointe-du-Hoc on D-Day.
The attack on Pointe-du-Hoc was one of the most audacious operations of the Second World War, a real version of the 'Guns of Navarone', with a small elite force climbing high sea cliffs to attack a gun battery that threatened Allied troops ships (to be precise the moment off the Normandy coast where the troops were loaded from the larger cross-channel transports into the small landing craft).
The focused scope of this book allows it to be much more detailed than many Ospreys. The text covers the history of the gun battery from its construction in May 1942 until D-Day, the reason for the Allied raid, the attack itself, the German counterattack and the fate of the other Ranger forces on D-Day.
Zalaga finishes by examining whether the raid was as necessary as the D-Day planners believed (probably not, but there was no way they could have known that in advance) and with a look at the post-D-Day history of the Rangers (like the SAS the Rangers struggled to find a role in the large scale conventional fighting that followed D-Day, before coming back into their own after the war).
The events of the attack itself take up 15 of the book's 64 pages, not including the sections on the other Ranger forces on D-Day or the German counterattack. The text on the attack is supported by some excellent maps, including a two-page 3D map showing the initial assault on the cliffs, and the fate of each of the landing craft.
This is an excellent account of one of the most famous incidents on D-Day, and a promising start to a new Osprey series.
Origins of the Raid
Author: Steven J. Zaloga