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Saturday, 06 June 2020

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Amen.

Bless 'em all. Thankfully the meteorologists got it right that day!

A quick reflection on that anniversary when heroes fought for liberty and freedom.

If you care to read the headlines on both the BBC and Sky News you will find narcissistic virtue signalling about an American issue and the desecration of a memorial to those heroes.

And not a word about David Dorn.

Or D-Day

Repugnent.

We agree again, David.

Amen to that too.

There's a terrific easy listen podcast series by Al Murray (the Pub Landlord comedian) and James Holland (WW2 historian) on all things WW2 ...

https://play.acast.com/s/wehaveways

They just pick on individual subjects and chew the cud on them for half an hour. Many of the episodes cover the Normandy campaign. Really good fun, nerdy, WW2 lad talk, if you know what I mean!

James Holland's recently published a Normandy book called Normandy '44 which I'm reading just now. It's a must read - a revisionist angle contra the Anthony Beevor / Max Hastings received wisdom of recent decades.

He explains how the Jerry "kit and tactics" worshippers are telling only half the story. The asymmetric "kit and tactics" of axis vs allies needs both sides explaining, not just the Jerry super-kit and permanent attack doctrine, but also how the allied "bait and ambush" tactics evolved to counter it. How the mass produced allied kit suited allied number superiority compared to the over engineered Jerry kit that was unreliable, in short supply, and had high maintenance overheads.

Altogether a bit of a myth-buster that shifts the needle back to the middle of the conclusions table - or at least opens up the debate which has been stale for decades.

SoD

And btw, I forgot, the book has got the best set of maps I've ever seen in a military history book. So many I read don't connect the textual goings on to the maps, which is a critical failing.

SoD

Another critical factor in the Normandy assault was the way in which the Germans were well and truly fooled by a superb operation which convinced them that the attack would come in at Calais not Normandy. Consequently a large percentage of the German armour was held back there, even after the invasion because they thought the Normandy assault was a trick.

What's the German for "Sucker"?

There were plenty of 'cock-ups' in WWII but that operation was superb!

Thanks SoD. I have just ordered a copy of the book.

What I would really like to see is a good readable analysis of the naval planning for the invasion.

To the non-sailor it looks like you just get a bunch of boats together, shove the troops on and sail off into the distance to plonk them on the beach. To ex-sailors like JK and I there is a heap of difference and while parts of the operation are still studied by navies the complexity and success of that part of the operation seem to get glossed over.

SoD you may find the following interesting

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/features/royal-navy-at-d-day

Thanks OzD.

Holland and Murray talk about the extraordinary planning and operational success of Operation Neptune in the poddie. It's a part of the newer narrative that Holland espouses covering the unsexier aspects of the Normandy campaign but one that the allies mastered consummately. While the "kit and tactics" guys fawn over Tiger tanks and MG42's, Holland rounds out the whole picture.

And boy was seaborne logistics and indirect fire support crucial or what? There's a little statistical fact commented on by a Russian observer attached to the Normandy campaign: nowhere in WWII, including the Eastern front, did any allied force ever face the density of Jerry Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and SS divisions like Normandy. The Rooskie commander said, "I've never seen anything like this, on the steppes the Panzer divisions were spread out over thousands of miles, here it's like everything we had thrown at us compressed into a few miles."

The Rooskies could slide away into the wilderness when they ran out of ammo. There was nowhere to slide away into in Normandy except the English Channel. Ergo, running out of ammunition was the most important problem to be sorted with the highest priority. Thankfully it received the highest attention by supremely competent people.

When you look at what Blighty's current crop of state planners have achieved chasing down the Covid virus, well, no, let's not got there and leave this thread to recalling better times.

SoD


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