The Battle of Odon by Georges Bernage

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Trilisser, M. A.
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The Battle of Odon by Georges Bernage

Post by Trilisser, M. A. » 22 Jul 2021 20:12

Any reviews?

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Cult Icon
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Re: The Battle of Odon by Georges Bernage

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Jul 2021 13:49

The book's format is the same as the other Bernage/Heimdal books, a lot of current photos of the battlefields, operational text plus a lot of personal accounts.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: The Battle of Odon by Georges Bernage

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 Jul 2021 16:57

Trilisser, M. A. wrote:
22 Jul 2021 20:12
Any reviews?
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. As Cult Icon says there are a lot of photos showing how the battlefield looks now, there are also some discussions about what happened but I personally thought that the way the author uncritically used personal accounts from SS veterans undermined the balance needed in a book such as this. Additionally, the author seems to have a distorted understanding of the overall campaign in Normandy and of this battle's place in it. Having said that, I bought it!

Regards

Tom

Michael Kenny
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Re: The Battle of Odon by Georges Bernage

Post by Michael Kenny » 26 Jul 2021 17:55

It was first published in 2008 and is the fag-end of the uncritical acceptance of the German view of the battle and the love-in with the Waffen SS. Long overtaken by more balanced views and Bernage made no secret of his bias:


Although the offensive was clearly a failure, it was later presented
as being merely a feint: Montgomery had allegedly set a trap for the
Germans whereby their panzers were drawn to the area around
Caen, thus allowing the Americans an easier advance towards the
west of Saint-Lô. Although this was undeniably a lie, it was true that
General Montgomery was a proud man and it was this constant
desire to ‘beat’ his American allies in Europe that led to other
failures. The first of these was the offensive at Villers-Bocage on 13
June, followed by Operation Epsom. Caen would eventually fall on 7
July, but only after considerable help from the Canadians. Operation
Goodwood was another of Montgomery’s failures, resulting in the
loss of half of his tanks without any successful breakthrough, later
followed by Operation Market Garden on 17 September, which
ended in a humiliating retreat...............never
forgetting, of course, that civilians also often found themselves
caught up in the battle. Indeed, their losses were equal to those in
the military: 20,000 civilians in Normandy lost their lives, which
although a little less than those of the American soldiers, is certainly
more than those in the British Army..........The testimony of Hans Siegel (12th SS) ,
whose exceptional account is spread continuously over twenty-four hours,
and has been used by almost all historians of this campaign, is included here in full...........
The fact that the Americans had such formidable opponents is reflected in the amount
of casualties suffered, which was greater than that of the British.....................
Montgomery’s
supporters believe that he conceived Operation Epsom to hold the
panzer divisions in the Odon and Hill 112 sectors, which, as we have
seen, is completely false. He had pushed Operation Epsom after
being delayed by the summer storm, while at the same time
dreading the arrival of the German reinforcements, including four
panzer divisions from II. SS-Panzerkorps, the Leibstandarte Division
and the Das Reich Division.

.


Bernage blatantly ignores what II SS Panzercorps were supposed to achieve and underplays the scale of their defeat with this excuse:

Thecounterattack by II. SS-Panzerkorps would also result in a relative
failure,
since it was only be able to repel VIII Corps, but not destroy it
completely.

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