Academic journal article Military Review

Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle That Shaped World War II in Europe

Academic journal article Military Review

Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle That Shaped World War II in Europe

Article excerpt

NORMANDY CRUCIBLE:

The Decisive Battle That Shaped

World War II in Europe

John Prados, Penguin Books LTD

Essex, UK, 2011, 353 pages, $25.95

JOHN PRADOS' NORMANDY Crucible brings to light new perspectives about the epic battle of Normandy and the impact it had on Allied and German operations throughout the remainder of World War II.

Prados incorporates two perspectives that have not been considered in much depth before. First, he introduces the Allied intelligence feed from ULTRA (the code word for deciphered German high-level communications) into Allied decision making and situational awareness. Second, Prados considers recent analysis of German casualty estimates, which may have been previously overstated. Prados argues that even after decades, German casualty numbers remain unchanged from the estimates given in reports immediately after the battle. It would seem unprecedented for the initial casualty estimates to remain unchanged after incorporating prisoner counts, burials, and German reports. Perhaps more German soldiers escaped from France than was originally thought.

Prados casts the Normandy campaign as a test for both Allied and German tactics, techniques, and even logistics. Lessons learned from this campaign shaped future outcomes: for the Allies, it brought new tensions among the multinational leadership and perhaps an overconfidence and failure to appreciate German capabilities. …

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