The Waffen — SS in Normandy — June 1944, The Caen Sector
Softcover, 128 pp
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The men of the Waffen-SS have been perceived as the archetypal warrior in World War II, well-trained and well-armed, experienced fighters ready to take the lead in the bitterest battle. But it has been argued that by the tine of the D-Dy landings in June 1944 this depiction was no longer accurate, and the Waffen-SS units in Normandy were not as fearsome as their reputation suggested. In all, the Waffen-SS units in Normandy were not as fearsome as their reputation suggested. In all, the Waffen-SS fielded six divisions during the Battle of Normandy, as well as two heavy tank battalions. But they were by no means a single homogenous entity, with divisions arriving in a disordered fashion and being thrown into battle piecemeal as soon as they arrived at the front. Due to the lack of German infantry divisions on the front line, the Waffen-SS units were given defensive roles and could never launch an effective counteroffensive.
Some units bore little resemblance to the formation they had had in 1939, having undergone repeated re-formations and reorganizations and with some receiving a large number of young, under-trained recruits. Nevertheless, when the Allies came up against them in the Caen sector in the days after D-Day, they put up a formidable defense. This volume in the Casemate Illustrated series examines the condition, leadership and equipment of the Waffen-SS units deployed, including the young and untried 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend which was the first to arrive in the sector, on June 7. It then discusses their performance during the fierce fighting of June 1944 when they held back the Allied advance on Caen, including Operation Epsom. The battles between the Waffen-SS and the Allies in Normandy were some of the most ferocious face-to-face contests in the campaign, but at the end of June the city remained in Germnan hands.
Extensively illustrated with photographs, tank profiles, maps, and accompanied by biographies of key personnel and explanatory text boxes, this volume gives a clear and accessible account of events, challenging some common perceptions along the way.