D Day

June 4, 2014

D-DAY

‘In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.’

The Allies had long agreed that the invasion of Northern France must have priority over all else – other operations in the Mediterranean were all secondary. The Russians, of course, regarded the defence of their country as paramount, but Stalin offered to time his next offensive to assist the invasion – in fact attacking in strength on the 23rd June 1944. The Americans also gave priority to the landing over their operations against the Japanese in the Pacific. By D-Day, 1.5 million US troops were stationed in Britain; troops who ridiculed British deference to concepts of class and the old school tie.
As a preliminary to D-Day, 6th June 1944, the French railway system suffered heavy bombing to disrupt German communications and reinforcements. Meanwhile, elaborate planning struggled to work out how best to transport 150,000 men and 20,000 vehicles to France in the first two days and how to convince the enemy that the attack would be directly across the Straits of Dover. This subterfuge, involving erecting dummy tanks guns and vehicles in the Kent countryside, was brilliantly successful and resulted in Panzer divisions being held back from the actual landings.
The invasion force comprised thirty five divisions carried in 4,000 ships supported by 11,000 aircraft of which 8,000 would go into action. In the early hours of D-Day, three airborne divisions landed behind the invasion beaches. They had mixed success: some of the gliders being blown off course; some landing too close to enemy strong points.
As dawn broke, the huge invasion fleet began its attack. German torpedo boats sank a Norwegian destroyer. An expected attack by U-boats was beaten off by aircraft which sank six of them.
The day yielded thousands of heroic actions. As an illustration, I tell that of Maurice Bennet, a civilian who had joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on the outbreak of war, and three times set out in capital ships to escort convoys to Malta. All three times, his ships had been disabled by torpedoes or bombs and with difficulty limped back to Gibraltar. When the North Africa campaign drew to a close, he had volunteered to command a tank landing craft, and successfully participated in the landings at Salerno before being ordered back to the UK in order to participate in the D-Day landings.
He and another officer volunteered for special duties. Could any such duty be more dangerous than driving a cumbersome landing craft on to a heavily defended beach? Well – yes.
Maurice was to command a landing craft modified to contain one tank and three guns – all with their barrels in fixed positions to fire straight ahead at a target one thousand yards away. He had orders to search out a shore battery; aim the guns by stearing straight at it, then fire at 1,000 yards.
D-Day dawned and Maurice and his sister craft went in at full speed ahead – such as their craft could manage – well ahead of the invasion fleet. The beach had been heavily bombed, but it seemed as though they were alone against the might of an invisible German army.
A mile out and no target identified. Suddenly, a loud explosion to port. A quick glance – the sister ship had received a direct hit and exploded into pieces. Zigzag. Just in time. Another battery closer to Maurice fired at him. This is it. He headed directly for it. Hold on – 1100 yards. Wait for it – fire.
Maurice and the battery fired more or less simutaeously. They missed; he did not. The shell from the tank hit the concrete bunker, but made precious little impression on it. The shells from the three guns exploded – – and produced red smoke. Red smoke, Maurice swore as he turned away from the beach to try another attack.
Suddenly, a tremendous explosion. The battery had gone – not only the battery but the low cliff on which it stood had collapsed into the sea.
Time to take on the second battery which had sunk his sister craft. Maurice had to cover half a mile before he was in range. Random zigzags and a lot of prayer. They fired but he made it. Once again red smoke; once again a huge explosion and the battery had half gone.
He received a signal: ‘Leave immediate’. No need to be told twice. He turned back out to sea – a sea now covered with scores of ships. As he did so, he saw the flash of heavy guns – a Rodney class battleship firing another broadside at the remains of the battery.
Could there be any survivors from the sister craft? Another signal: ‘Get out of the *** way.’ Dozens of landing craft were powering directly at him on their way to the beach and glory. He made it back – several of the others did not.

* * *

Generally, the Allies achieved complete tactical surprise, but on Omaha beach, the Americans ran into a full German division on the alert and had great difficulty in achieving a landing at all. Elsewhere, resistance proved to be lighter than expected – smashed into submission by the naval bombardment and the heavy bombing which effectively destroyed the German radar.
By nightfall on D-Day, 150,000 Allied troops had landed at a cost of approximately 10,000 killed. The Allies hoped to reach Caen, a few miles inland, but this was prevented by a force of fifty Panzers.
Inevitably, the early days after landing had times of chaos and improvisation. An infantry Colonel told me how his regiment rapidly fought their way out of the landing zone and into the Normandy countryside. Three days later, they had achieved their immediate objectives but had had no sleep and precious little food. No Germans in sight. He called a halt, requisitioned a convenient farm house as temporary headquarters, put his men into defensive positions and posted sentries.
He instructed his sergeant major that they were all exhausted and would fight better after a few hours rest, but he was to be called if any German troops were sighted. With which he threw himself on top of a bed. Too hot; he took his uniform off, but adhered to standing orders and left his loaded revolver, safety catch on, tied to his wrist with a lanyard.
The next thing he remembered was that the sergeant major burst into the room, shook him roughly by the shoulder, yelled: ‘Quick, sir. The Germans are surrounding the house.’ flung open the window and jumped out.
Had he dreamed it? He heard a voice shout in German. Hell. No time to get dressed. He flung himself through the open window and landed on his feet, just as two German soldiers came round the corner. They stared at the near naked man in astonishment. He fled for the further corner of the building, but as he ran jerked the revolver into his hand.
He heard a shouted challenge and in reply fired two rapid shots, hitting one of the soldiers in the arm. They returned fire but he was round the corner. A burst of fire from the sergeant major’s tommy gun and both Germans were dead. A quick dash to the nearest hedge, and there were a Company of his regiment lying in ambush. The Germans withdrew as rapidly as they had arrived.

This is Chapter 15 of BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? by James Lingard which is available in paperback (ISBN 9781434359339) through local bookshops or on-line; or from AuthorHouse or Kindle as an e-book (ISBN 9781434359346).

Book Reviews

March 27, 2014

All review copies of the following in Librarything are now fully subscribed:
1. BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? (paperback (ISBN 9781434359339) e-book (ISBN 9781434359346) (ASIN:B005QNPQLE) is a concise easy to digest history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2. The book brings alive the harsh realities of life in the war – life full of uncertainty and the danger of impending death. How did a family with a small child caught up in such a war survive? A series of narrow escapes induced the belief that: If a bomb has your name on it, you are dead whatever you do; and if not, it will miss you. The author’s memories are interwoven with quotations from Churchill’s speeches and overviews of the major campaigns.
2 THE DEAD MAN STRIKES BACK (Thriller) (ASIN: B00D1W030G): A short (19,224 words) fast moving blend of recent history with the fictional adventures of a British spy was inspired by Russia’s problems with Chechnya and the war between Russia and Georgia over semi-independent Abkhazia. The result is an action packed thriller full of danger and drama. Much of the action takes place in Sukhumi – then a veritable Cauldron of Hate – and against a background of the Caucasus Mountains close to where the Winter Olympics took place. Our hero is being hunted by Chechen terrorists – ‘You’re a dead man, English. We know who you are. Go home, or you die.’ But can he trust the Russian FSB (formerly KGB) officer who befriends him and how will she react to Anna, a Separatist?
3. IN DEFIANCE OF DANGER (Short Stories) (9372 words) (ASIN:B00D1VW5V2) is a miscellany of fact based short stories relating to:-
(1) D-Day. How would you feel approaching the shore batteries?
(2)MTB sights pocket battleship
(3)Germans surrounding the house
(4)Escape from German tanks
(5) Passenger in mid-air collision
(6)An enemy of the Mafia
(7 – 11) Other stories.
These stories are about real people and compare with any thriller. The war exploits – part of our history – are a tribute to the brave.
4. ESCAPE FROM IRAN ISRAELI STYLE (Action/Adventure) (ASIN:B00D1VPZXM): A fact based short story (8015 words) inspired by the action packed adventures of Israeli engineers who, whilst supervising construction works on a military base for the Shah’s army deep in central Iran, found themselves caught up in the Iranian revolution of 1st February 1979. Faced with a nightmare scenario, they regarded their chances of escape as negligible and resolved to arm themselves and fight if their desperate attempts at bluff failed. What should they do? Some were on the Palestinian death list and they had a newspaper photograph of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, shaking hands with Ayatollah Khomeini on the balcony of the Israeli embassy in Tehran.

Britain at War and other books available for review

February 26, 2014

The following books by James Lingard are now being added to LibraryThing and are available for review:-

ESCAPE FROM IRAN ISRAELI STYLE (Action/Adventure) (ASIN:B00D1VPZXM): A fact based short story (8015 words) inspired by the adventures of Israeli contractors caught up in the Iranian revolution who resolved to arm and fight if their desperate attempts at bluff failed. A short but powerful thriller.
Reviews include:-
Char reviewed Escape From Iran Israeli Style
Excellent 2 June 2013 A great book to read for war literature lovers. Excellent writing and captivating story. Enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Review from Tony Parsons This was a very exciting book (short story) for me to read, great almost real characters & excellent content; very well written, I will give it 4/5 stars. Tony Parsons MSW.
Read an excerpt

Tags: adventure, thriller, action, short stories, Iran, Israel, escape.

THE DEAD MAN STRIKES BACK (Thriller) (ASIN: B00D1W030G): A short (19,224 words) action packed spy thriller set close to the venue of the Winter Olympics which blends recent history with the adventures of a British spy caught up in the war between Russia, Georgia and local Separatists.
Reviews include:-

Char reviewed The Dead Man Strikes Back
Powerful thriller I thoroughly enjoyed reading this action packed thriller, an excellently written and fast moving story that makes you want to keep reading.
Review by Tony Parsons 4.0 out of 5 stars A dead man strikes back 23 Nov 2013 This was a very exciting book (short story) for me to read, great almost real characters & excellent content; very well written. Not sure if it is movie material. I would have to rate it at 4/5. Tony Parsons MSW.
Book Highlights with Tina Marie Says THE DEAD MAN STRIKES BACK This powerful fast moving blend of recent history with the fictional adventures of a British spy was inspired by Russia’s problems with Chechnya and the war between Russia and Georgia over semi-independent Abkhazia. The result is an action packed thriller full of danger and drama. Much of the action takes place against a background of the Caucasus Mountains. But can our hero trust the Russian FSB (formerly KGB) officer who befriends him and how will she react to Anna, a Separatist?
Extracts are available on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/jamesbat and http://jamesrl.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-dead-man-strikes-back

The Dead Man Strikes Back

The Dead Man Strikes Back

Buy from Amazon

Tags: adventure, thriller, contemporary fiction, action, war, Georgia, spy.

IN DEFIANCE OF DANGER (Short Stories) (9372 words) (ASIN:B00D1VW5V2) A miscellany of fact based short stories relating to war, adventure, insolvency or drama in the City of London. The stories of real people compare with any thriller and the war exploits – part of our history – are a tribute to the brave.
Reviews include:-
In Defiance of Danger
Must read, 2 Jun 2013 By Char – See all my reviews
This review is for: In Defiance of Danger (Kindle Edition)
An absolute must read for war story lovers. Revealing and compelling short stories that thrill as well as inform the reader.
This review is for: In Defiance of Danger (Kindle Edition)
Review from Tony Parsons
What a great set of short stories to read. Very well written & a great story line. I’m also a history buff; especially wars. I will have to rate this book at a 5.
Thank you Tony Parsons MSW.

In Defiance of Danger

In Defiance of Danger

Buy from Amazon

Tags: short stories, war, action, adventure, London, insolvency.
Extracts are available on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/jamesbat and http://jamesrl.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/in-defiance-of-danger
and http://www.amazon.com/in-defiance-of-danger-ebook/dp/B00D1VW5V2

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? (paperback (ISBN 9781434359339) e-book (ISBN 9781434359346) (ASIN:B005QNPQLE)
is a history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2. How did a family with a small child caught up in such a war survive? A series of narrow escapes induced the belief that: If a bomb has your name on it, you are dead whatever you do; and if not, it will miss you.
The book has received excellent reviews including:-
The Historical Association – a charity which supports teachers in primary and secondary education but also academics at all levels – ‘Members will be interested in BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war? which brings alive the harsh realities of life in Britain during the war – life full of uncertainty and the danger of impending death. It also provides ‘a concise history of the salient campaigns in World War 2 ideal for anyone who lacks the time or inclination to study the larger works.’
UCL People (University College London) (March 2009) ‘A memoir of boyhood in Britain during World War II, this short but powerful book brings together personal reflections with the historical and political context. The author’s memories are interwoven with quotations from Churchill’s speeches and overviews of the major campaigns. ‘Britain at War’ is written from the standpoint of people directly involved, and all personal experiences are based on actual events.’
History Direct and History Times (May 2009) ‘James Lingard’s Britain at War 1939-1945 presents the reader with an excellent easy to digest overview of the key events that affected Britain during World War two. He has skilfully weaved personal accounts and his own experiences into the book to deliver a fascinating insight into the trials of civilian life in Britain at this key juncture in our nation’s history.’
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII England, 24 Jan 2010
By Mr. M. W. Wabe (UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: Britain at War 1939 to 1945: What was life like during the war? (Paperback)
This is a factual but interesting book of the lives of people who lived through WWII. It gives the stories of peoples lives, interspersed with the great speeches of such great men as Winston Churchill. It is enjoyable as a read in itself, but even more so for the memories it evokes for those who lived in those times. It provides a valuable insight into those times for us who were born in the 1950s, and onwards and without such a book, it is impossible for us to understand what life was like then. Death was almost always imminent from the bombing, food was short, hunger was not unusual, but a sort of national spirit emerged that is no longer present today.

5.0 out of 5 stars Britain at War 1939 to 1945, December 5, 2013
By Tony R. Parsons “tony parsons” (emporia KS) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: Britain at War 1939 to 1945: What was life like during the war? (Paperback)
A glimpses of WWII (Battle of Britain) & the horrors Britain had to endure during WWII. Also how it affected lots of other nations worldwide; human lives, mental/medical, financial (cost of war), unemployment, poverty, politics/reasons why the war, personal individual/family perspectives…an endless list. In 2007, Britain had paid off their debt to the US from WWII.
Awesome story content, great summary of events, a few key characters; Churchill, General Eisenhower, President Roosevelt, General De Gaulle, Rommel, Hitler, General Alexander, General Montgomery, Kesselring, General Stilwell…
I am retired Army, a history buff, as well as my emphasis is on wars. This short story deserves 5 stars.
Tony Parsons MSW

Tags: Battle of Britain, Churchill, D-day, history, home front, military, world war 2

To read extracts from the book go to http://www.amazon.com/britain-at-war-ebook/dp/B005QNPQLE or http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=9781434359346

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? (ISBN 9781434359339) and (ISBN 9781434359346)

January 26, 2014

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 what was life like during the war? (ISBN 9781434359339) and (ISBN 9781434359346)

A history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2 which received excellent reviews from The Historical Association and from UCL People (University College London).

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war?

January 26, 2014

BRITAIN AT WAR 1939 to 1945 What was life like during the war?

A history of the home front in Britain and of the salient campaigns in World War 2 which received excellent reviews from The Historical Association and from UCL People (University College London).

Escape From Iran Israeli Style

January 23, 2014

Escape From Iran Israeli Style.

Escape From Iran Israeli Style

January 23, 2014

Escape From Iran Israeli Style

Book Cover

The Dead Man Strikes Back

January 23, 2014

The Dead Man Strikes Back

Book Cover

In Defiance of Danger

January 23, 2014

In Defiance of Danger.

In Defiance of Danger

January 23, 2014

In Defiance of Danger

Book Cover


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