Operation Epsom: Over the Battlefield by Ian Daglish

Courtesy of Pen and Sword, over the next few days I will be bringing you reviews of the first three books in their innovative new series ‘Over the Battlefield’. Here is my taken on the first instalment, which focuses on Operation Epsom.

Epsom

Operation Epson was the first of three set-piece battles fought by Montgomery in Normandy. Before Epsom the front still remained fluid, and there were hopes that the allies might be able to extend the beachead further. There was even talk of dropping the 1st Airborne Division west of Caen in support.

But at the same time, there was also a risk that the Germans might also launch a decisive counter-attack against the allied build-up. Although Epsom was blunted, it also prevented a planned German operation and ensured that from then on the strategic initiative remained with the allies.

Epsom saw largely well-trained but inexperienced British Divisions fighting against some of the Third Reich’s most battle-hardened units. Thanks to ULTRA intelligence Montgomery was aware that Rommel was planning an offensive towards Bayeux – by launching Epsom Rommel was frorced to cancel his thrust for Bayeux.

This book tells the story of Epsom in wonderful detail. I am very impressed with the use of aerial recconaisance photographs, and combined with period maps and location photographs, the combination of sources means that you can almost locate yourself in the action and ‘smell the battlefield’. These books are almost the military historians equivalent of Google Earth – they would make a fantastic addition to your luggage if you’re planning on walking the Battlefields of Normandy. Daglish has plotted the movements of units down to Company level, which is refreshing considering that most books on Normandy concentrate on Armies, Corps and Divisions.

Here Ian Daglish introduces new unseen evidence to analyse Epsom. The battle is routinely cited alongside Goodwood as evidence of ‘Monty’s failure’ in Normandy. Whilst neither battle went exactly to plan, what military plan ever does? Particularly with Epsom, the situation was very fluid indeed. Although the outcome of the battle itself was indecisive, this was acceptable for the allies, who could carry on ther build-up, whilst the Germans, under pressure to throw the Allies back into the sea, were ground down more and more. That it made a German counter-offensive less likely seems to be forgotten. Outflanking Caen would have been great, but to call Epsom a disaster, as some do, is ridiculous. In particular historians such as Carlo D’Este and Max Hastings are critical, yet D’Este’s opinions are partisan and Hasting’s are part of a wider intention to denigate Montgomery.

But Ian Daglish focuses on the men who fought the battle, and I think this approach adds much more to our understanding of the battle for Normandy than any tired ‘tit-for-tat’ arguments about Montgomery.

My research has identified several Portsmouth men who were killed during Epsom: Sergeant Leslie Scott, 25 and from Eastney, was killed serving with the 23rd Hussars on 27 June 1944. He was most likely killed in the tank fighting south of Cheux, and may have met a grisly end as he has no known grave and is remembered on the Bayeux Memorial. And Captain George Hendry, 27 and from Southsea, was killed serving with the 7th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders on 29 June 1944. Daglish tells us that Hendry was last seen stalking Tanks with a PIAT when the Germans made a strong counter-attack aiming to cut off the allied advance near Cheux. He is buried in St Manvieu War Cemetery.

Next:Now that the Allied Bridgehead was left with a salient pointing out to the west of Caen, the next logical step was to attempt to outflank Caen to the east from the Orne bridgehead.

Operation Epsom: Over the Battlefield is published by Pen and Sword

About these ads

15 Comments

Filed under Army, Book of the Week, d-day, World War Two

15 responses to “Operation Epsom: Over the Battlefield by Ian Daglish

  1. Pingback: Mary

  2. Pingback: game review, skyrim, rayman, pc download, mediafire download, full crack, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3,Battlefield 3,rayman origins,skylanders,rayman origins pc mediafire,l.a noire,batman arkham city,saints row the third,skidrow,fifa 12,serious sam 3,as

  3. It’s awesome to pay a quick visit this website and reading
    the views of all mates regarding this article,
    while I am also keen of getting know-how.

  4. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet visitors, its really really nice article on building up
    new webpage.

  5. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to
    assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently
    rapidly.

  6. Thank yyou for another informative website. Thhe place else may I am getting that kind of info written
    in such an ideal approach? I’ve a venture that I am just noow
    running on, and I have besn on the glance out for such
    information.

  7. If some one desires expert view on the topic of blogging and site-building then i propose him/her to go to see this web site,
    Keep up the good job.

  8. That Is excellent whenever you have places togo or have long-travel times to get someplace.
    Television happens to be our savior, from boredom to entertainment.

    This picture offers churches a great prospect.

  9. Coloring pages can also be utilized in other tasks
    like generating layouts for quilting. You will find
    basically two different kinds of fruit and vegetable juicers available on the market.

  10. Diabetes is being cured by diabetics in Lawerence, Kansas with
    the support from Dr. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means the majority of their protein must result from animal-based sources.

  11. No trips need to be produced to the library henceforth.
    If one wants to drop in Nokia, that company makes Right here Maps.
    How to discover out if my girlfriend is cheating
    on Fb?

  12. In fact, the Internet has an important effect on us.
    This used to get complicated editing of the machine. Facebook advertisements are incredibly affordable and effective.

  13. Initially that does not audio extremely unique, does it?
    Of course, you generally have to spend a certain quantity of these cleaners,
    but the result will be really worth it. Have you ever used Google’s voice search or Apple’s Siri?

  14. Do you have a spam issue on this website;
    I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have
    developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  15. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. That is
    an extremely smartly written article. I’ll be sure to
    bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s