The Devil's Garden - Rommel's Desperate Defense of Omaha Beach on D-Day, Steven Zaloga

The Devil's Garden - Rommel's Desperate Defense of Omaha Beach on D-Day, Steven Zaloga

This book has a simple aim - to work out exactly why the attack on Omaha Beach was so much more deadly than the attacks on the other D-Day beaches. In order to achieve this, the author examines each of the possible reasons over the years and uses the most modern research to see how valid each of them is. This includes the Allied plan of attack, knowledge of the defences, the extra German troops present on the day, the pre-landing bombardment, the density of the defences, the number of tanks available to the attackers, the layout of the defences and the firepower available to the defenders.

The author comes up with some very clear conclusions, which I won't discuss here (normally spoilers aren't an issue in a work of military history, but here the conclusions are a major part of book).

The author does go against some commonly held views, and in each case can prove his case. He also looks at the post-mortems carried out at the time, examining their sources and conclusions and looking at the validity of both.

The book includes some very good material on the German defences, looking at the type of bunkers installed, the weapons they held, their placement, layout and fates on the day.

This is a well written, well illustrated and convincing examination of the reasons for the high number of Allied casualties on Omaha Beach. It doesn't include a detailed narrative of the battle itself, so does need be used alongside a more traditional history, but that gives the author the space to examine his subject in more detail.

1 - The Controversy
2 - The Iron Coast
3 - The Rommel Factor
4 - Opposing Forces
5 - Fire and Brimstone
6 - The Devil's Garden
7 - Deadly Geography
8 - The Pigeon Patrol
9 - Day of Reckoning
10 - D-Day Postmorten

Author: Steven Zaloga
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Publisher: Stackpole
Year: 2014

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