Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review – Vanguard: The True Stories of the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Missions Behind D-Day

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

Book Review

‘Vanguard’ examines the preparation into executing D-Day

By MARK LARDAS

Oct 12, 2019

‘Vanguard’ examines the preparation into executing D-Day

By MARK LARDAS

Oct 12, 2019

“Vanguard: The True Stories of the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Missions Behind D-Day,” by David Abrutat, Naval Institute Press, 2019, 368 pages, $46.95

The invasion of Northern France at Normandy was the most involved event of World War II. If it failed, the war in Europe might have gone on another year, ending with the Soviets on the Rhine River. Success depended upon good intelligence and deception.

“Vanguard: The True Stories of the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Missions Behind D-Day” by David Abrutat, reveals the extent of Allied preparations for D-Day. It explores virtually every aspect of invasion preparation thoroughly.

This includes the intelligence gathering that went into finding a suitable spot to invade and determine defenses guarding that spot. It also presents the techniques used to conceal Allied plans and troop dispositions from the Germans, and the deception plans used to convince the Nazis the invasion would take place at a spot other than Normandy, either Pas de Calais or even Norway.

The author opens with a chapter on the structure of the Allied organization that planned and carried out the invasion. This included a detailed discussion of the intelligence gathering and deception structure used. This is followed up with a chapter on the German counterpart organization — the command structure tasked with stopping the invasion on the beach.

After this, individual chapters cover virtually all the different methods the Allies used to prepare for the invasion. Some are well-known. There are the expected chapters on the Enigma and Magic codebreaking teams, as well as the disinformation techniques employed to create a phantom army and to use turned German spies to feed false information.

Other chapters cover topics previously revealed but rarely examined. Examples include efforts to get soil samples from invasion beaches, the use of radar-reflecting foil to simulate an invasion fleet approaching Pas de Calais on D-Day, and efforts by Jedburgh teams and French partisans.

Others chapters cover things rarely revealed. One example is a chapter about using homing pigeons as a messenger service from behind German lines.

For those interested in the story of D-Day “Vanguard” offers an unprecedented and densely-packed look at the different activities that went into launching D-Day, one rarely discussed in more conventional histories of the event.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

Published in History
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 2 comments.

  1. Steve C. Member

    It’s been a long time, but I remember Cornelius Ryan starting the first chapter of The Longest Day writing about naval commandos landing on a Normandy beach to collect soil samples.

    Question. Does the author address the failure of Allied intelligence to provide details about the bocage to the assault troops.

    • #1
    • October 20, 2019, at 6:34 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Seawriter Member
    Seawriter Post author

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    It’s been a long time, but I remember Cornelius Ryan starting the first chapter of The Longest Day writing about naval commandos landing on a Normandy beach to collect soil samples.

    Question. Does the author address the failure of Allied intelligence to provide details about the bocage to the assault troops.

    No.

    • #2
    • October 20, 2019, at 7:19 PM PST
    • 2 likes