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Book Review
The Germans in Normandy
The Germans in Normandy
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by: Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]

Originally published on:


It is often said that history is written by the victor, and that statement is usually accurate. We are taught that the Allies were good and the Axis was evil. In this book The Germans in Normandy endeavours to take on that statement and allows you to look at this specific part of the conflict from the view of the men who fought it rather than those who commanded it on the German side.

The following introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:

The Allied invasion of Northern France was the greatest combined operation in the history of warfare. Up until now it has been recorded from the attackers' point of view whereas the defenders' angle has been largely ignored. While the Germans knew an invasion was inevitable, no-one knew where or when it would fall. Those manning Hitler's mighty Atlantic Wall may have felt secure in their bunkers but they had no conception of the fury and fire that was about to break. After the initial assaults of June established an Allied bridgehead, a state of stale-mate prevailed. The Germans fought with great courage hindered by lack of supplies and overwhelming Allied control of the air. When the Allies finally broke out the collapse was catastrophic with Patton's army in the East sweeping round and Monty's in the West putting remorseless pressure on the hard pressed defenders. The Falaise Gap became a graveyard of German men and equipment. To read the war from the losing side is a sobering and informative experience.


This book published by Pen and Sword is a paperback book titled The Germans in Normandy. The book is written by Richard Hargreaves who has also written two further titles available from Pen and Sword. Richard Hargreaves has presented us with 271 pages that does exactly what it says on the tin. He has taken the words of the German soldier facing the largest sea borne invasion force the world has ever seen and presented it to the reader.

The contents of this book are laid out over 12 chapters as follows:

Chapter 1 Every night we wait for Tommy
Chapter 2 The Last opportunity to turn the tide
Chapter 3 My God - Itís the Invasion
Chapter 4 Up Against an Irresistible Force
Chapter 5 Approaching a Catastrophe
Chapter 6 Further Sacrifices Cannot Change Anything
Chapter 7 The Unequal Struggle
Chapter 8 The Blackest Day in German History
Chapter 9 Only the Dead can now hold the line
Chapter 10 Death has reaped a terrible harvest
Chapter 11 Out Generaled and out Fought
Chapter 12 This Cannot be the End

The book begins by telling the reader in the words of individual soldiers what life was like being a German occupier in France in the run up to D-Day. In the words of the author the German soldier in France lived a blessed life - they were far from the horrors of the Eastern Front, the sands of North Africa, the mountains of Italy and the snows of Finland. From what I have read the main concern of the German soldier was the fighter bomber of the Allies, which seemed to range unopposed and made being on the road in daylight a treacherous prospect. It was however, well known to the Germans that the Allies were coming, they did not know where, they did not know when, but the Allies were coming.

This book does cover the failure of the Dieppe raid, where thousands of Canadians were killed, injured or captured. There is also some aspects of the building of the North Atlantic Wall, itís purpose and goal, and Rommel showed the same determination that the British had come to respect in North Africa. With the date of D-Day approaching unbeknown to Rommel, he decided to go and visit his wife, due to the bad weather in the Channel. As D-Day began, and reports began to come in from various German sectors reference Allied activity, including the landing of paratroops and gliders. The upper echelons of the German military believed it was a faint, and so left the German forces to hold out without further support. The bomber raids and naval guns sapped the fighting will of many of the German troops facing the invasion, if their words are to be believed. While many of us think of the Allies being slaughtered on the beaches as they disembarked from the landing craft, I have never until reading this book given any thought to the German troops that were being taken apart by the Allies Air forces and itís almost complete air superiority. As that first day came to an end, nearly 200,000 Allied troops were ashore and fighting their way in land.

The author over the next 8 chapters tells the stories of the German soldiers who fought a losing battle against overwhelming numbers that the Allies were able to bring against them. Some information that will give you some idea of what the Germans faced: for four hours the bomber came, 4500 of them, the first wave alone dropped 6000 tonnes of explosives, and there were two more waves that followed them, and then you have the land and sea based guns that fired 250,000 rounds killing the lucky ones and burying alive many Germans in their fox holes. Leutnant Freiherr von Rosen noted how many of the 62 ton Tiger tanks in his unit lay upside down from the onslaught, and not one of his 14 Tigers was left operational.


I have in no way covered the entirety of this book, but I hope I have managed to provide an insight into the horrors covered in this title. The words of the men facing these events have been provided by the author in a way that makes it very easy to forget that these were German soldiers. It does make you realise that these were just soldiers doing a job and gives them back their individuality and humanity. This offering from Richard Hargreaves is a book I strongly urge you to read if you want to learn about as aspect of World War II from the Germans perspective using the words of those who were there.
Fay Baker takes a look at a recent Pen and Sword release titled 'The Germans in Normandy', a book that tells the story of the D-Day landings in the words of the Germans that faced it.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526760678
  Suggested Retail: £12.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 04, 2019

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About Fay Baker (Awesome_ODP)

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Not the first time that this point of view approach has been done but it still is an interesting perspective for anyone who really wants to understand the dynamics of those battles that raged on the Western front in the summer of 1944 until the end of the conflict in May 1945. Illuminating.
SEP 04, 2019 - 02:45 PM
Hargreaves is not a serious historian. See this link. LINK
SEP 05, 2019 - 04:09 AM
Sorry Marc having read this book I don't see the complaints holding water as they are the words of the people who were there.
SEP 05, 2019 - 07:44 AM
Tanks Darren, I will certainly read this one, though will be hard to beat: D DAY Through German Eyes - The Hidden Story of June 6th 1944 by Holger Eckhertz.
SEP 06, 2019 - 02:44 AM
The Eckhertz book is just as bad. LINK LINK
SEP 06, 2019 - 09:05 AM
Marc it is a newspapers job to sell newspapers not to provide you with the truth. I enjoyed the book and found the content thought provoking, but I cannot prove its accuracy or truthfulness. What I can say is that it reads right in its presentation.
SEP 06, 2019 - 09:26 AM
I guess we will never know Marc...Robert Kershaw, who wrote the D-Day book Landing on the Edge of Eternity, said there was enough accuracies in Eckhertz's work to convince him. 'It would have taken a lot of effort to make it up because there is sufficient accuracy in the small parts I looked at to warrant inclusion,' he told The Times.
SEP 07, 2019 - 12:27 AM
For a good read you could always go back to the original; Paul Carell's "Invasion: They're Coming!". I bought my paperback copy as a teenager back in the '70s. Don't know how that will compare with modern writing standards!
SEP 10, 2019 - 10:08 PM
The Times ran the same article the Daily Mail did. The popularity of history books is no indication of their accuracy. Fe books like Panzer Aces, by Franz Kurowski and the books by Paul Carrel are mostly revisionist and apologist write ups. Some usefull links are: LINK LINK LINK The HIAG was a post war organisation of former Waffen SS members, who tried to shape the image of the Waffen SS, post war. LINK Hope that helps.
SEP 11, 2019 - 11:27 AM

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