My Favorite Battle of Normandy Book
I was talking with a friend a while back and he had asked me what was my favorite Battle of Normandy / D-Day book. I told him it was Overlord by Max Hastings, because it was the most even handed on the strengths and weaknesses of all of the armies and commanders in Normandy in the Summer of 1944. He is harsh on some, but is very meticulous in making his arguments. An example is that Hastings makes it very clear that Montgomery was not weak in not taking Caen due to the circumstances, but he heaps scorn on Montgomery’s attempts to retro-justify his actions. He also gives the realistic situation on the Germans as well. Hastings also makes the great point that the thing that made the German Army so formidable was its tactical leadership. Whenever the Germans lost a tactical battle, some surviving sergeant or corporal immediately formed a small group for a counter-attack. Only when the Allies also took on this kind of tactical aggressiveness in August 1944 did the German forces begin to fall and fall fast.
You can see some of Hastings’ influence on me in this D-Day video and my short post on Operation Cobra.
If you can only read one book on the subject, I recommend this one.