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  1. The Waffen SS in Normandy (9781612006413) July 1944, Operations Goodwood and Cobra Casemate Publishers via Casemate UK Once the Allies landed on the beaches in Normandy in June 1944, the Nazi forces that were defending the northern French coastline had to move their units, particularly their armoured SS units to the point of attack, despite Hitler's lingering concerns that this might be a feint to distract from the main attack. That and the general interfering that Hitler was prone to meant that getting authority to move would be difficult and could have consequences for those disturbing him or going against his wishes. This new book from Casemate is bound in a softback cover with half-width fold-out fly-leaves giving a synopsis of the contents in front, and details of the publishing house at the rear. It contains 128 pages of glossy paper, much of which is printed in black and white, with a number of pages in colour, including profiles and some excellent colour photos from the time. The book follows the timeline of the battles and gives information about the key players in the Waffen-SS Divisions, and their struggle to get to the front in a vain attempt to throw the Allies back into the ocean. The German forces that were present in the invasion area did a good job of holding the Allies in check until the end of June, after which their break-out was to test and break their resistance, with operations Goodwood and Cobra taking Caen and rolling into Brittany, sealing the fate of the German forces in France. Later, the British Operation Goodwood and Canadian Operation Totalize began the constriction of what was to become known as the Falaise Gap, where much of the retreating German materiel and manpower were either killed or captured. The photos are of the usual high quality, with a number of destroyed SS vehicles, plus some grisly pictures of dead soldiers, and of course the leading figures of the SS. Thankfully the number of gruesome pictures are few, but they are a little upsetting, so if you're of a delicate nature, now you know. Spread throughout the book are a quantity of profiles of the SS vehicles involved in the actions detailed in the book, and each of the main battles and engagements have a short section devoted to them. Conclusion Although the SS are a contentious subject for some, they were integral to the defence of France, so their activities bear scrutiny if you wish to have the whole picture of the battles. Of course it's not for everyone because of this, but it's interesting to see how they were defeated both by the Allies and the lack of understanding of the situation by the F├╝hrer back in Berlin. Review sample courtesy of
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