Omaha Beach by Adrian R. Lewis
A Flawed Victory

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Synopsis

The Allied victory at Omaha Beach was a costly one. A direct infantry assault against a defense that was years in the making, undertaken in daylight following a mere thirty-minute bombardment, the attack had neither the advantage of tactical surprise nor that of overwhelming firepower. American forces were forced to improvise under enemy fire, and although they were ultimately victorious, they suffered devastating casualties.

Why did the Allies embark on an attack with so many disadvantages? Making extensive use of primary sources, Adrian Lewis traces the development of the doctrine behind the plan for the invasion of Normandy to explain why the battles for the beaches were fought as they were.

Although blame for the Omaha Beach disaster has traditionally been placed on tactical leaders at the battle site, Lewis argues that the real responsibility lay at the higher levels of operations and strategy planning. Ignoring lessons learned in the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters, British and American military leaders employed a hybrid doctrine of amphibious warfare at Normandy, one that failed to maximize the advantages of either British or U.S. doctrine. Had Allied forces at the other landing sites faced German forces of the quality and quantity of those at Omaha Beach, Lewis says, they too would have suffered heavy casualties and faced the prospect of defeat.

<!--copy for pb reprint:<BR>"The fullest study of the planning for the cross-channel invasion we have. . . . No future student of Omaha Beach . . . will be able to ignore this book."--<i>Naval History</i><BR><BR>"This clearly written, carefully argued and well-researched account offers a still-valid lesson in the importance of communication up and down the chain of command, and on bravery."--<i>Publishers Weekly</i><BR><BR>"A major contribution to our understanding of the assault on Omaha Beach."--<i>Journal of Military History</i><BR><BR>Tracing the development of the doctrine behind the plan for the invasion of Normandy, Adrian Lewis reveals why the battles for the beaches were fought as they were. He examines the decisions made at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels as well as the personalities of and relationships between key decision makers to explain how the plan for swift victory at Omaha Beach went terribly wrong and turned into the bloodiest of the Allied invasions.<BR>-->
 

About Adrian R. Lewis

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Adrian R. Lewis is associate professor of history at the University of North Texas in Denton and a retired major in the U.S. Army.
 
Published April 9, 2001 by The University of North Carolina Press. 400 pages
Genres: History, War, Travel. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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While the U.S. First Infantry's invasion of Normandy was ultimately successful, the division suffered terrible casualties notoriously so even compared to battles in the 55 years since.

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