Dunkirk and France 1940 Campaign Books

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Anyone familiar with this book?

    The Forgotten Massacre: May 1940 in Flanders - Esquelbecq, Wormhout, Ledringhem by Guy Rommelaere

    I believe it's a French book that has been translated into English.

    Cheers for any feedback.
    Andy
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Anyone familiar with this book?

    The Forgotten Massacre: May 1940 in Flanders - Esquelbecq, Wormhout, Ledringhem by Guy Rommelaere

    I believe it's a French book that has been translated into English.

    Cheers for any feedback.
    Andy

    I got a copy today and it is really really good. Copies are selling on Abebooks for £75 so if anyone wants me to try and pick up a copy in Wormhout next month for what I suspect will be far less let me know and I will see if the tourist information has any.

    Andy
     
  3. Pegasus

    Pegasus Member

    Hello all, I have just finished "the sands of Dunkirk" by Richard Collier 1961, I realy enjoyed this book, Dunkirk was not an intreset of mine before this but I can see it being an new faviort place to go and see, I pass through it on the way to Germany, just booked the ferry for the begining of June looks like I will have to stop there for a look around.
    Drew may be you can give me some pointers:D
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello all, I have just finished "the sands of Dunkirk" by Richard Collier 1961, I realy enjoyed this book, Dunkirk was not an intreset of mine before this but I can see it being an new faviort place to go and see, I pass through it on the way to Germany, just booked the ferry for the begining of June looks like I will have to stop there for a look around.
    Drew may be you can give me some pointers:D

    I'm flattered you should ask me.....But there are other members far more qualified than me so maybe you should consider starting a thread in the 1940's section if there is something you are specific you are interested in.

    But here is my contribution to give you a general idea:

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/ww2-battlefields-today/16839-walking-footsteps-british-expeditionary-force-2008-2009-a.html
     
  5. MLW

    MLW Senior Member

    The book I co-authored - Maginot Line 1940: Battles on the French Frontier - for Osprey Publishing is now released for sale. One experienced reviewer of fortress-type books gave the work a very positive review. I am happy to hear this, because my coauthor and I created the text, maps, and order of battle from primary archival documents and did not, as so often happens these days, hack write the book from secondary sources. The text is all original work and is a detailed and fresh look at the Maginot Line’s combat record to include the photographs, most of which came from our personal collections.

    Along the way, we discovered several myths concerning the Maginot Line that have been perpetuated through the years. The first one (of course) being that the Maginot Line did not see any significant combat. Here is the book’s description, which I think captures the essence of the text:

    "Constructed throughout the 1930s, the Maginot Line was supposed to form the ultimate defense against a German invasion of France. However, different sections of the line were built at different times and the strength of various sections varied widely. During their Blitzkrieg invasion, the Germans were able to identify these weak points and focus their attacks against them. The book uses new maps and period photographs to tell the story of the five German operations launched against the Maginot Line. While the Germans were able to smash through the lightly defended section of the line along the Meuse River, the line held at other key points. Ultimately the Maginot Line proved a failure, but the stiff resistance put up by some of the fortresses confirms the fighting ability of the French army during the invasion."

    If you are interested in the French Campaign of 1940 and the Maginot Line, I think you will find the book interesting. If you do buy the book, I would be very interested in your opinion of our work.

    Here is the link to the book on US amazon.com: Amazon.com: Maginot Line 1940: Battles on the French Frontier (Campaign) (9781846034992): Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, John White: Books

    Cheers, Marc
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for the heads-up Marc. Amazon UK are out of stock at present but I shall order in due course.
     
  7. MLW

    MLW Senior Member

    Hi Rich. I hope you receive the book soon. When you do, I will be very interested in your thoughts about it. Cheers, Marc
     
  8. dovermarine

    dovermarine Senior Member

    Hi Andy, this is one of my old ones, Derek
     

    Attached Files:

  9. MLW

    MLW Senior Member

    Here is a review of Maginot Line 1940: Battles on the French Frontier from amazon.com. I must admit that I agree with the reviewer's criticisms. Cheers, Marc

    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Finally, A book with Fresh Content about the 1940 French Campaign[/FONT][FONT=&quot], February 23, 2010 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]By R.A.Forczyk
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Although there have been a number of good books written about the German attack on France in 1940, traditional historiography has been skewed toward just the first three weeks of the campaign and emphasizing the German breakthrough at Sedan, the dash to the sea and the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk. Most accounts mention the role played by the French Maginot Line in shaping the German breakthrough plan, but rarely discuss what the Maginot Line troops were doing during the actual campaign. Indeed, the follow-up German invasion of metropolitan France (Fall Rot or Plan Red) and the final three weeks of the campaign are usually absent entirely or skimmed over quickly in standard accounts. However, Marc Romanych's Maginot Line 1940 not only fills both these gaps admirably but it succeeds in presenting fresh content about the German efforts to reduce the Maginot Line. Whereas most accounts suggest that little happened around the Maginot Line while the Germans were overrunning the rest of France, Romanych details seven different German operations to reduce and capture various sections of the line. This book is well-researched and put together with an eye for detail that makes it particularly useful for specialist readers.

    Maginot Line 1940 begins with a brief overview of the German invasion plan (Fall Gelb or Plan Yellow), the brief French offensive into the Saar in 1939 and a campaign chronology, followed by the usual sections on opposing commanders, forces and plans. These opening sections are decent, but a bit brief, except for the 3-page order of battle. One good point that the author makes in these sections is that despite the fact that the Maginot Line was created to guard the French border with Germany and thereby allow the French Army to reduce the number of troops committed to static defensive roles, they violated this intent by deploying almost half their divisions to support the Maginot Line. Clearly some of these divisions could have been bettered employed in the general reserve.

    The campaign narrative proper begins with the opening German moves through the Ardennes and the breakthrough at Sedan, but the author does not belabor material that has been well-trodden in standard accounts. It is with the German capture of Fort La Ferte, the western end of the Maginot Line, that the author finds his groove. He discusses how the Germans massed over 250 guns against the fort and spent two days reducing its outer defenses until it was finally captured. This was the first Maginot Line fort captured and the author notes that the French high command was stunned that it had fallen so quickly. From this point on, the author discusses the capture of the Maubeuge fortifications and then moves from west to east down the Maginot Line, detailing the German operations that occurred in the final two weeks of the war to reduce the line. As it turns out, there was quite a lot of fighting around the Maginot Line but the Germans only captured 10 of 58 major defensive works before the Armistice. There is a great deal of detail in his narrative and the tactical dynamic tends to be similar for most of these operations: French interval troops withdraw leaving the Maginot Line forts isolated, German troops move in, pound the forts with point-blank fire from 88-mm flack guns then assault with artillery and engineers. Rinse and repeat. This tactical dynamic and the author's recounting of it does get a bit repetitive, particularly since there are no first-person accounts included. On the other hand, much of this information has not appeared in English before so think of it as a helpful dose of medicine. One of the few disappointments I had about the author's research was that the analysis in the Aftermath section seemed incomplete, particularly in regard to casualties. Given that Paris had already fallen by the time that many of these operations were occurring and an armistice was imminent, the question is not asked whether these later attacks on the Maginot Line really contributed to the defeat of France and were the casualties suffered worth what was gained. Some of the German attacks just before the armistice seemed a bit gratuitous and it begs the question who was ordering these attacks.

    Maginot Line 1940 has a total of five 2-D maps (overview of the campaign, 10 May - 25 June 1940; overrun of the Ardennes defenses, 12-16 May 1940; Battle for the Mauberge fortifications, 12-27 May 1940; envelopment of the Metz region, 10-21 June 1940; attacks in Alsace, 15-21 June 1940) and three 3-D BEV maps (Battle for Fort La Ferte, 16-19 May 1940; infantry attack on Fortress Fermont, 21 June 1940; Operation Tiger, 14-16 June 1940; assault across the Rhine near Kunheim, 15 June 1940) that do an admirable job of supporting the campaign narrative. Simply put, the maps are superb. The three battle scenes by artist John Whitte (the assault on Fort La Ferte, 18 May 1940; the end of Fort Kerfent, 21 June 1940; the fight for casemate Oberroedern-Nord, 20 June 1940) are also very nice but all are from the German perspective. The B/W photos are also very good and most have not appeared elsewhere in English sources. One of the few shortcomings in this volume is the bibliography, which is rather anemic with only five works cited, including one other Osprey volume. Although the author clearly used German archival records at NARA, he did not list any or provide the specific URLs of some of the Maginot Line-related Internet websites that he mentions in the text. Overall, this volume is not only an excellent addition to Osprey's Campaign series but a serious piece of historical research in its own right.[/FONT]
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've just received two reference books on the Naval side of things related to France in 1940.

    The Ships that Saved an Army-A comprehensive record of the 1,300 'little ships' of Dunkirk

    BEF Ships -Before, at and after Dunkirk.

    Let me know if anyone wants anything looking up in a seperate thread :D
     
  12. Suffolk Boy

    Suffolk Boy Member

    Hi Everyone

    I've read the following recently and have added a few comments:

    My First War - Bartlett - already listed earlier in this thread, a short personal account of life in the Security Section. No information on the fighting but an interesting read about the civilian side of life during May 1940 and the movement of his staff as they tracked the conflict, lived in a variety of billets and carried out their work to identify fifth columnists etc.

    The Campaign in the Low Countries - Lord Strabolgi RN - An early account of the conflict in Holland as well as Belgium/France. Heavy on the politics with lots of photos. An appendix lists Army Awards.

    The Twenty-Five Days - John Masefield - Another early book written in 1940 with few photos. Didn't add much to my understanding.

    The Miracle of Dunkirk - Walter Lord - Still reading this one which looks like the best so far. Feels like he did his research including interviews with 500 participants whose experiences he's used throughout. Few photos and illustrations though. Will add more later.



    Stuart
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've just finished The Miracle of Dunkirk a few days ago and its certainly up there with the best of em. As for The Twenty-Five Days most of the information is inaccurate as you would expect for a book written in 1940. I found it interesting from the point of view as to what was known then as to what was known much latter. Quite interesting I thought when read in that context.

    Cheers
    A
     
  14. E McVeigh Family

    E McVeigh Family Junior Member

    Hi Andy,

    I have a copy of "Gun Buster - Return via Dunkirk" printed in 1942. It is a first hand account of a RHA Officer. It is honset and thought provoking.

    Jane.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Defence of Calais - Linklater (HMSO)
    The Battle of Flanders - Linklater (HMSO)
    The Highland Division - Linklater (HMSO)
    The Fall of France - Forty & Duncan
    Thirty Days to Dunkirk - Gough (1st Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers)
    At the Sharp End - Hart (2nd Bn Royal Norfolks)
    Dunkirk - Gelb

    Andrew,

    Is the Norman Gelb book Dunkirk:The complete story of the first step in the defeat of Hitler or Dunkirk the incredible escape?

    Cheers
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Destination Dunkirk-Gregory Blaxland

    Dunkirk the Incredible Escape-Norman Gleb

    To Lose a Battle-Alistair Horne

    Dunkirk the patriotic myth-Nicholas Harman

    The Highland Division-Linklater

    The march of conquest-Telford. Taylor

    Dunkirk-Robert Jackson.

    Assignment to Catastrophe-Aug 1939 to May 1940 Vol.1 and The Fall of France-June 1940 Vol.2-Sir Edward Spears

    And Last week:

    The Vengeance of Private Pooley-Cyril Jolly

    The Sands of Dunkirk-Richard Collier
     
  17. LesCM19

    LesCM19 "...lets rock!"

    I think that's what you call 'A Fate Accomplis' when the cat comes back :unsure:...but "happy reading"!

    (Awaiting Basil Bartlet's 'My First War' (mentionned by Rich Payne ages ago, message #12) and some more Scotia miniatures, myself. Hah! :))
     
  18. les3011

    les3011 Junior Member

    Drew, I think I have a book that is not on your list. I bought it some time ago from an on-line bookshop that deals in old and ex-published stock. It is called, 'Dunkirk and After (The Campaign and Evacuation of Flanders)' by Gordon Beckles and published by Hutchinson & Co. I think it was first published in the 1950's.
     
  19. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Andrew,

    Is the Norman Gelb book Dunkirk:The complete story of the first step in the defeat of Hitler or Dunkirk the incredible escape?

    Cheers

    Dunkirk: The Incredible Escape

    Sorry for slow response - missed that one.
     
  20. nazi1944

    nazi1944 Discharged

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