The D-Day Companion is a collection of thirteen essays each looking at a different aspect of the D-Day landings, from the initial planning in 1942 to the post-war memorials and attitudes to the landings. Topics covered include the Allied deception plans, Operation NEPTUNE – the naval part of D-Day, the German plans for the defence of Fortress Normandy and the controversial air campaign.
The individual chapters are written by an impressive group of experts in their fields. The authors do a very good job of placing the D-Day invasion in its context, explaining how both the Allied and German plans developed and changed, how difficult a task the landings actually were, and just how important they were. The section on the planning and preparation takes up the first six chapters of the book. The air war chapter is particularly impressive, placing the aerial fighting on D-Day firmly in the context of the entire air war, particularly the still-controversial strategic bombing campaign.
The landings themselves are covered in three chapters, looking at the effort required to actually ship the invasion army across the channel, the fighting on the beaches and the role of the airborne troops. The book then goes on beyond the landings to look at the push inland, the German reaction to the landings and the overall campaign in Normandy before finishing with a look at how the D-Day landings are remembered.
This is an excellent piece of work which is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about Operation Overlord, and with a wide enough range of topics to be a valuable addition to anyone with an interest in the subject.
The great crusade: Introduction
Remember this is an invasion: Planning and build-up
The great shadow-boxing match: Deception and intelligence
A very lofty perch: Allied high command
Throw them back: German planning and command
In the air, on the ground, and in the factories: Air power
The greatest military armada ever launched: Operation NEPTUNE
A visitor to hell: On the beaches
Blood upon the risers: Airborne
Their road will be long and hard: The push inland
With unbelieving eyes: The German experience
Much the greatest thing we have ever attempted: OVERLORD and beyond
The eyes of the world: Commemoration and memorial
Year: 2004, 2009 current paperback edition