The story

Review: Volume 46 - Second World War


After the long winter of the Phoney War the invasion of the Low Countries and France by Hitler’s rampaging armies threw the World into crisis. Chamberlain’s Government fell, Churchill became Prime Minister. France was humiliated, the British Expeditionary Force was only saved by the miracle of Dunkirk but many men and huge amounts of equipment were lost to the Blitzkrieg. England trembled but the invasion never came. Philip Warner graphically recounts the momentous events of that terrible period thanks to his painstaking research and skilful writing. He demonstrates how the under trained and ill-equipped British forces gallantly but futilely resisted the German land and air onslaught. He emphasises the understated contribution of the French. This book provides a fresh and invaluable explanation of the military and political events of that extraordinary campaign, which continued on after Dunkirk.

This is the story of the two divisions: the American 29th and the British 3rd. After describing the agonies suffered by the Americans on Omaha, and the difficulties that faces the British in overcoming strongpoints at Sword Beach on D-Day, the author traces both divisions as they try to break through the German defences. It was to take the GI’s nearly six weeks to reach their objective, whilst the Tommies were forced into a concurrent holding operation redolent of the trench warfare experience of World War One. The main part of Caen, the central communication point and respective objective was eventually captured on the 9th July, but by this point, the two Allied divisions had suffered more than 10,000 casulaties, and several thousands of French civilians had been killed.


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