D-Day:The battle for Normandy

spongebob
16th August 2009, 07:38
Our local paper previews the above book by British author Antony Beevor and it is said to put a new slant on many aspects of this history.
This man is said to have described the film "Saving Private Ryan" as being a "crock of Shite" and his account presents the overall invasion in a true and fully accurate account.

Quoting from the review;

"Instead of a glistening,golden generation of brave soldiers and brilliant commanders, Beevor's D-Day presents a campaign in which both sides murdered prisoners, many allied troops simply refused to fight, commanders as famous as Bernard Montgomery lied to colleagues and the public to cover up mistakes and French civlians were needlessly slaughtered ."
Pretty damning stuff!
There is a lot more said in the review which is pretty revealing and all is claimed to be based on this man's years of practical research of many local records, military archives and the word of mouth from military participants and civilians long after the event.

I do not know this author but he has apparently written many prevoius war histories such as "Staligrad", "Berlin-the downfall 1945" and other titles.
I have an old friend who dotes on war history and before I place an order with Amazon for a copy of "D-Day" for his birthday I ask if any other SN members are familiar with this man's writings and its credibility or otherwise.

Any comments?

Bob

Satanic Mechanic
16th August 2009, 08:40
Bob

My dad was there and said it was pretty messy all round (on the extremely rare occasions he spoke about it at all), revenge was in the air as was the animalistic behaviour you expect in war. The victors always write the history and they are never going to say anything other than how brave and good their soldiers were - just a fact of life. I guess you just have to accept that war is always going to be like that, it is what is required and to be thankful that we did win. I don't think there is any gain in denigrating those who fought with specific stories, war can bring out the worst in the most gentle of people but maybe there is a case for the understanding that there is absolutely no glory at all in the act of war.

I have read some of this guys stuff and it makes uncomfortable reading but he does provide a thoroughly interesting and well qualified juxtaposition with which to view the history of war

benjidog
16th August 2009, 17:21
Whatever disagreements there may be as this thread proceeds, I don't think many people will disagree with the opinion that "Saving Private Ryan" was a "crock of shite" - in historical terms at least.

chadburn
16th August 2009, 18:06
I am afraid British film Maker's made plenty of War Film's that were " crocks of shite", it's all about so called "Artistic Licence" to make them more interesting to those who were not there, for those who were there it is something they prefer to forget, however they have the right to make sure that their mates who gave their live's and suffered Medical Problem's afterwards are not forgotten, as far as lies being told that is going on today, people would be horrified at the amount of casualties that are being "snuck" back to Britain on the midnight flight's to Birmingham Airport figure's of which have never been released as far as I am aware.

Hugh Ferguson
16th August 2009, 18:54
As Churchill said, "the first casualty of war is the truth".
In this Cornish village, where I have lived for more than twenty years, there have lived many who went through the worst that war can throw at anyone: a survivor from the Burma/Siam rail-road; two who survived Pedestal Convoy, one of whom went, more or less, straight from PQ17 to Pedestal, and one who landed at Sword beach on D.Day and witnessed the utter chaos that prevailed-all gone now except one.
I much prefer to hear of the the joy experienced by a Dutch friend of mine, (who had lived for months in a hole in the ground under the garden shed), when the London Regiment arrived in his village in their tanks, just as these G.I's are being greeted by some Dutch children, all in their Sunday best, and with flowers for the liberators.

John Rogers
16th August 2009, 19:07
According of what I have been told from men that were there that panic was everywhere on both sides as the Germans took a hell of a pounding before the troops hit the beach,troops were shooting everything that moved and men were frozen on the landing craft and on the beach unable to move. My father was in the operation on Pegasus bridge and he was thankful he was not on the beaches. Getting back to the movies I think all movies are made to make money so there is a lot of "Hollywood Crap"in them,however Band of Brothers is true and based on historic facts/incidents supported by some of the 101st survivors who were advisers on making the movie,so if they exaggerated a little give them the benefit of the doubt as they went through hell and can still talk about it. If you survived the killing on the beaches I salute each and every one of them. God Bless Them All.
P.S Major Howard who led the men on the bridge said that his portrayal in the movie "The Longest Day"was sentimental rubbish,maybe he said worst but was unprintable.

John.

ssr481
16th August 2009, 19:16
I've read some of Beevor's stuff and have found his books to be very good...

Satanic Mechanic
16th August 2009, 19:22
I've read some of Beevor's stuff and have found his books to be very good...

they actually are really good - just so long as you don't want an army full of heroes and prefer an army full of totally normal flawed human beings

ROBERT HENDERSON
16th August 2009, 19:43
I cannot comment on Beevor's works, but knowing that SM comes across as a very fastidious sort of person when it comes to facts I will try and read some of his stuff.
One of Britains acclaimed military historians Andrew Roberts comes across to me as My Country Right of Wrong type of writer, I have never managed to finish one of his books, because they always seem to have a political slant to them, instead of just unbiased facts.

Regards Robert

Ron Stringer
16th August 2009, 21:08
My elder daughter bought me Anthony Beever's ''Stalingrad'' as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. Full of statistics, with ample maps and photographs to support the text which is very readable. Quite a large book but one that was difficult to let go once you got beyond the initial scene-setting chapters.

spongebob
16th August 2009, 21:27
Thanks for all your comments. I see that Beevor describes "The band of Brothers"as pretty close to the truth but still slightly sanitised.
Beevor is due in Australia for a bookfest in Melbourne and Penguin Books are releasing the D-Day volume as a hard back @$ 49.95
( 25 pounds)
Amazon are offering it @ 12.5 pounds plus postage. No wonder Amazon and the like do so well.

Bob

ROBERT HENDERSON
16th August 2009, 21:40
Bob
Have Waterstones got a branch in Austrailia, they are doing a deal slightly more than Amazon but no postage from their store. Another one doing a good deal on line is History Direct.
I don't know the situation with Austrailian libraries, but here I order any book I wish to read from the library which costs me 1sterling then if I wish to buy for future reference I order from a book store, that way I don't waste money if I cannot get interested.

Regards Robert

spongebob
16th August 2009, 22:31
Thanks for that Robert, I will check them out.
In my case, I am thinking of buying the book for a mate's 75th. He is a Bermondsey born ex Hampshire man with a strong interest in war history and has lent me several good reads such as "Vulcan 607" and "Steel Rain" about the Waffen SS Panzer regiments.
The ulterior motive is that I will be able to borrow it back!

Bob

David E
16th August 2009, 23:12
Our local paper previews the above book by British author Antony Beevor and it is said to put a new slant on many aspects of this history.
This man is said to have described the film "Saving Private Ryan" as being a "crock of Shite" and his account presents the overall invasion in a true and fully accurate account.

Quoting from the review;

"Instead of a glistening,golden generation of brave soldiers and brilliant commanders, Beevor's D-Day presents a campaign in which both sides murdered prisoners, many allied troops simply refused to fight, commanders as famous as Bernard Montgomery lied to colleagues and the public to cover up mistakes and French civlians were needlessly slaughtered ."
Pretty damning stuff!
There is a lot more said in the review which is pretty revealing and all is claimed to be based on this man's years of practical research of many local records, military archives and the word of mouth from military participants and civilians long after the event.

I do not know this author but he has apparently written many prevoius war histories such as "Staligrad", "Berlin-the downfall 1945" and other titles.
I have an old friend who dotes on war history and before I place an order with Amazon for a copy of "D-Day" for his birthday I ask if any other SN members are familiar with this man's writings and its credibility or otherwise.

Any comments?

Bob

I've read all three;Stalingrad,Berlin and D-Day.All of them reach an outstanding standard and Beevor is rated as one of the finest WW2 historians.His success is due to the huge original research he has done for all three.He records and reports history through the eyes of the people who were there and does not impose his own interpretation of events.All his sources are listed in great detail.In D-Day,for example,the Appendices between pp 523 and 574 detail the origin of almost every comment in every chapter.None of the books are light reading but as a teenager in those years I have found them absorbing.They do de-mystify many of the immediate post war biographies written by the Generals-those of Montgomery in particular.

Regards
David E

chadburn
17th August 2009, 10:53
According of what I have been told from men that were there that panic was everywhere on both sides as the Germans took a hell of a pounding before the troops hit the beach,troops were shooting everything that moved and men were frozen on the landing craft and on the beach unable to move. My father was in the operation on Pegasus bridge and he was thankful he was not on the beaches. Getting back to the movies I think all movies are made to make money so there is a lot of "Hollywood Crap"in them,however Band of Brothers is true and based on historic facts/incidents supported by some of the 101st survivors who were advisers on making the movie,so if they exaggerated a little give them the benefit of the doubt as they went through hell and can still talk about it. If you survived the killing on the beaches I salute each and every one of them. God Bless Them All.
P.S Major Howard who led the men on the bridge said that his portrayal in the movie "The Longest Day"was sentimental rubbish,maybe he said worst but was unprintable.

John.

John, you are correct "Band of Brother's" has to be THE best American War film's/series that has been made in my mind(Thumb) , an amazing TRUE story of the 101st. It was alway's considered that the film "Battle of Britain" was as close as you could get to the truth however it has been found that Galland told porkies when he insisted he did not give the Hitler salute when the German Field Marshall? was leaving, he said he give the Military Salute. However, it has been confirmed by somebody who was there that he gave the Hitler salute as they had all fallen "under the spell" at that time. Eric "Winkle" Brown our most famous pilot (who is still alive) does not have a good word to say about Galland as far as I remember from one of his excellent talk's he used to give.(Thumb)

ssr481
17th August 2009, 13:14
John, you are correct "Band of Brother's" has to be THE best American War film's/series that has been made in my mind(Thumb) , an amazing TRUE story of the 101st. ....

Band of Brothers is one of my favorite movies/mini-series.. it too has a lot of "Hollywood" fluff in it (then again, don't most movies??).. I asked a friend of mine, who was an assistant platoon leader in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, during the Market-Garden operation..he didn't like the series..

In any event, I've begun to read more of the 101st's history and all viewpoints, be they messy or not, should be read about and learned..

Thats another Story
17th August 2009, 14:49
According To A Friend Of Mine Paul Brady He Worked On The Special Affects Dept. Some Of The Actual Members Of The 101 Came To The Film Set As Advicer's. He Told Me After Setting Out The Scene Of One Particular Shoot Some Of The 101 Cried At The Realism Of The Scene The Film Crew Where Also Very Moved By It. Some Tears Shed That Day.

nick olass
17th August 2009, 23:29
As Churchill said, "the first casualty of war is the truth".
In this Cornish village, where I have lived for more than twenty years, there have lived many who went through the worst that war can throw at anyone: a survivor from the Burma/Siam rail-road; two who survived Pedestal Convoy, one of whom went, more or less, straight from PQ17 to Pedestal, and one who landed at Sword beach on D.Day and witnessed the utter chaos that prevailed-all gone now except one.
I much prefer to hear of the the joy experienced by a Dutch friend of mine, (who had lived for months in a hole in the ground under the garden shed), when the London Regiment arrived in his village in their tanks, just as these G.I's are being greeted by some Dutch children, all in their Sunday best, and with flowers for the liberators.

Hugh,
What an honour for you to have met and known these wonderful men, I hope you feel privilaged.

My best regards,

Nick.

K urgess
18th August 2009, 00:17
British tanks are welcomed to Antwerp in 1944.
These pictures belonged to my Uncle.
I still have two carved wooden plaques that a Belgian insisted on presenting to my father as a thankyou when he was in Belgium in 1944.
Just to put some things in perspective the only thing my Dad ever shot was a cat according to him while on patrol for enemy soldiers.
He was a Sapper after all but it was all hands to the pumps at times.
My Dad's bren gun platoon captured some enemy after a short gun battle. They, apparently, didn't like the bren.
During the search after capture one German refused to open his greatcoat so my Dad hit him. Despite the fact that he proved to be laden down with hand grenades my Dad still got 14 days CB for striking a prisoner of war.
I grew up with all this being present at all times. From two world wars and the two generations before mine.

holland25
18th August 2009, 01:20
I have watched Band of Brothers a few times and thought it was excellent.However I read that in the the scenes set in the Ardennes forest, a large quantity of newspapers were cut up to emulate the falling snow, and the last time I watched it, all I could were the newspaper cuttings. The series may not be wholly accurate but it serves to give me some idea of what the men went through and I am only glad that I didnt have to do it.

Fieldsy
18th August 2009, 08:56
I've read both Stalingrad and Berlin, and will be asking for D-Day for Christmas.

If you've read the above, even if you haven't, you'll find Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's book on Dunkirk a fascinating read as well. The extent to which we were let down by the French staggers me.

Ron Stringer
18th August 2009, 13:01
The extent to which we were let down by the French staggers me.

If you check how the people of Normandy, in particular Caen, suffered during the invasion and its immediate aftermath, you might consider that the boot was on the other foot. Heavy bombing raids destroyed most of their buildings and killed many of the population. There are alternative views on how the battle might have been fought without such impact on the civilian population.

But the winner writes the history.

Fieldsy
18th August 2009, 13:20
If you check how the people of Normandy, in particular Caen, suffered during the invasion and its immediate aftermath, you might consider that the boot was on the other foot. Heavy bombing raids destroyed most of their buildings and killed many of the population. There are alternative views on how the battle might have been fought without such impact on the civilian population.

But the winner writes the history.

I've travelled the area often and fully appreciate the price the people of Normandy paid - but my comment referred to the military actions the BEF were involved in before, and during, the retreat to Dunkirk, and involving the French military, not the civilian population.
Defensive fronts were planned and too often the Germans got behind the British front as the soldiers on the French front either surrendered, or threw down their guns and ran away; leaving the Brits with no warning that their flanks weren't covered.

In fairness, some French battalions did fight with ferocity and bravery. However, many British soldiers were sacrificed to allow the French to retreat in some areas, as a political sop to the French.

When the BEF was sent, high hopes for success were held as it was believed by many, including Churchill, that the French Army was the finest fighting force in the world. Too late, it was discovered that they were poorly trained and poorly equipped, and few had the stomache for the fight. It's a wonder that so many actually made it back to the UK.

Satanic Mechanic
18th August 2009, 13:56
Accounts which amazingly enough differ considerably from the French interpretation of history. The BEF was out fought , out gunned, out manouvered as was the whole of Europe - they never stood a chance against the German war machine. How on earth Churchill managed to turn the complete and utter devastation of British forces into a moral boosting victory is probably the greatest piece of 'political spin' of all time. (Thumb) Sort of

"We won the race to rescue our troops, everybody played a part, we have rescued many allies and now we can start the war in earnest oh by the way had we the living crap kicked out of us in the process but for some reason Hitler stopped for three days - lucky break that"

Fieldsy
18th August 2009, 14:20
oh by the way had we the living crap kicked out of us in the process but for some reason Hitler stopped for three days - lucky break that[/SIZE]"

One of the theories is that he still hoped to reach some sort of accommodation with the British and the total destruction of the BEF would have ruled that out.

It certainly was amazing, still is, how such a defeat produced so much positive spin. David Moyes could have done with a few pointers from Churchill on Saturday evening!

Ron Stringer
18th August 2009, 14:36
Fieldsy,

Sorry didn't realise that you were writing about the events leading up to the retreat to Dunkirk. Perhaps the title of the thread misled me!(Ouch)

Fieldsy
18th August 2009, 14:46
Fieldsy,

Sorry didn't realise that you were writing about the events leading up to the retreat to Dunkirk. Perhaps the title of the thread misled me!(Ouch)

No probs - it was clear to see there was a misunderstanding.

steven1960
24th August 2009, 20:57
Antony James Beevor (born 14 December 1946) is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for 5 years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and 20th century in general
His best known works, the best-selling Stalingrad and Berlin - The Downfall 1945 recount the World War II battles between the Soviet Union and Germany. They have been praised for their vivid, compelling style, their treatment of the ordinary lives of combatants and civilians and the use of newly disclosed documents from Soviet archives.Beevor's works have been used as sources and credited as such in many recent documentary films about World War II. Another one of his best known works is Crete: The Battle and the Resistance for which he won the Runciman Prize, administered by the Anglo-Hellenic League for stimulating interest in Greek history and culture.


I have holidayed in Normandy a number of times and walked the landing beaches and visited the sites,the men who were involved on that day were extremely brave risking their lives and many never returned,so i'm sure Beevor has many accounts of what happened that day and judging by his previous writtings has done the massive research that goes into his books.
Whether or not these things happened changes nothing to me,I wasn't there and am sure there was many desperate thing done by men who's only concern was to stay alive,how many of us can say how we would react in these conditions with our mates dying around us.