CROSS-CHANNEL ATTACK. By Gordon A.Harrison. (1951, 1989; 519 pages, 4 charts, 31 maps, 62 illustrations, 10 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 7-4.)
The cross-Channel attack launched on 6 June 1944 under the direction of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, is a subject that reappears in many volumes of the United States Army in World War II, since it involved the U.S. Army in its most important and largest single undertaking in the war. This basic account of the attack is focused on the Army's participation in it, both as a plan and as an operation. It relates the project of the assault from its inception in 1942 to the strategic and logistical planning of the United States and the Allies (Chs. I-III) and to the plans, strength, and position of the enemy in 1944 (Chs. IV and VII); it describes the complex plans and preparations for the assault (Chs. V and VI), then narrates the fighting of the First Army to establish a lodgment up to 1 July 1944 (Chs. VIII, IX, and X).
Much of the book (seven out of ten chapters) is devoted to planning and preparations since this volume is intended to serve as an introduction to all of the campaigns of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations, as described in Chapters VIII-X and in the other nine volumes of the ETO subseries.
Other volumes in the United States Army in World War II which devote considerable attention to the cross-Channel attack are Washington Command Post: The Operations Division; The Supreme Command; Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume I; and the volumes on Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare. Detailed narratives of the assault on 6 June and the subsequent campaign to 1 July can be found in Omaha Beachhead (1945), Utah Beach to Cherbourg (1947), and Small Unit Actions (1946), all in the Army's American Forces in Action series. These narratives concentrate on the action of small units in combat.
Cross-Channel Attack, like most other campaign volumes in the ETO subseries, focuses on the division as the basic fighting unit, although it often describes in considerable detail the experiences of battalions and companies on the fragmented fields of Normandy. So far as enemy records permit, it tells the story of German action at the same level. The Supreme Command, on the other hand, deals with D-day and the campaign to establish the Normandy beachhead and capture Cherbourg, from the point of view of General Eisenhower and Supreme Headquarters.
1. An amphibious assault on a defended shore by a coalition force (for particulars, see items that follow).
2. The BOLERO concept (Chs. I-III; see Index: "BOLERO").
3. Early plans for the invasion of Europe from England: SLEDGEHAMMER (1942) and ROUNDUP (1943) (Chs. I-III).
4. The Anglo-American debate over a cross-Channel attack (Chs. I, III, V).
5. General Morgan's COSSAC and the evolution of the OVERLORD plan (Ch. II).
6. The conversion of OVERLORD into a dated plan of operations (Ch. V; for a digest of the OVERLORD plan, see App. A; for the Supreme Commander's directive, see App. B).
7. The contribution of enemy weakness to Allied success (Chs. IV, VII, X).
8. German command organization in the West (Ch. IV).
9. Hitler and the German defense against the invasion of Normandy (see Index: "Hitler" and Apps. C and D).
10. D-day on sea and land and in the air (Ch. VIII).
11. Securing a beachhead and lodgment area (Chs. IX-X). Among the more specific topics on which this volume throws light are the following:
12. Debate on the ANVIL plan (Ch. V).
13. Organized cooperation of the French Resistance with the Allies (see Index: "French Resistance").
14. Effect on strategy of shortage in a critical item (landing craft) (see Index: "Landing craft").
15. Effect of a scattered airdrop (Ch. VIII).
16. Assault and capture of a fortified city (Cherbourg) (Ch. X).
17. Use of mass air-bombing and artillery in this assault (Ch. X).
18. Amphibious assault (see Index: "Amphibious tactics"):
a. Naval fire support (see Index: "Naval fire support").
b. Air-bombing of coastal defenses (plans, pp. 194ff.; execution, Ch.
c. Mass use of airborne forces to effect "vertical envelopment" of a beachhead (see Index: "Airborne assault").
d. Weather as a factor in planning an amphibious assault (see Index: "Weather").
e. Defense at the beach line versus use of mobile reserves in meeting an amphibious assault (Ch. VII).
f. Use and effect of communications bombing in isolating the battle area (Chs. VIII-X).
g. Capabilities and limitations of underwater obstacles in defending a coast against assault (see Index "Obstacles").
h. Use of swimming tanks in the assault of a defended beach (see Index: "Tanks, DD").
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