Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy

Article excerpt

Terry Copp, Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), xv + 344pp. Cloth. £22.50. ISBN 0-6020-3730-5.

Terry Copp is co-director of the Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and he brings to this study of the contribution made by the Canadian Army to the Allied victory in Normandy an excellent command of material, much of which is fresh, and a firm grasp of the dynamics of military operations. His is, in fact, a revisionary interpretation of the Normandy campaign in that it sets out to rebut the orthodox view that it - and especially the part played by the British and Canadian armies - was a series of operational and tactical failures, epitomised by the delay in the breakthrough to Falaise, and only redeemed by an overwhelming logistical superiority. He argues that, on the contrary, Canadian troops were skilful, responsive, effectively led and far more successful than has often been allowed. It is of course easy, especially with the benefit of hindsight, to see that mistakes were made. However, the Normandy campaign was a highly complex affair with the allies facing a determined and efficient enemy, and Copp's reassessment grasps that reality. One particularly telling point is made right at the end of the book when Copp points out that the grievously heavy casualties suffered by the Canadians (Appendix B lists the appalling fatal casualties on a daily basis) were 'the product of a greater number of days in close combat with the enemy [and] not evidence of operational or tactical failure'. …

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