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Rangers Lead the Way: Pointe-du- Hoc D-Day 1944 (Osprey Publishing, 2009; 64 pages)

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by dgmitchell, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. dgmitchell

    dgmitchell Ace

    May 9, 2008
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    It is difficult to be both thorough and concise at the same time. Writers who err on the side of completely covering a topic often produce rather lengthy works. Writers who seek to treat a topic in a minimum of pages often omit important facts and analysis.

    Then there are the many works in any of several series produced by Osprey Publishing. Osprey has found a delightful formula for historical study which makes the debut of its new series "Raid" a welcome addition. The first title in the Raid series is Rangers Lead the Way: Pointe-du- Hoc D-Day 1944 by Steven J. Zalonga (Osprey Publishing, 2009; 64 pages) and if it is any indication, Raid is going to be another winning series.

    Early on the morning of D-Day, members of the US Army 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, overlooking Omaha Beach. Their mission was to capture, destroy or otherwise disable German artillery that Allied Intelligence thought to be deployed there. As it turned out, Intelligence was wrong and the raid, admittedly successful, on Pointe-du-Hoc resulted in a fierce battle that brought little benefit to the Allies.

    Steven Zalonga has the raid at Pointe-du-Hoc in a focused, chronological and systematic way. He omits nothing of any significance while bringing an objective candor to his assessment of the raid itself. Indeed, when he concludes that the raid was "not necessary," his readers will find it difficult to disagree with him. At the same time, Zalonga has portrayed the valor of the 2nd Ranger Battalion clearly and without reservation. As a result, readers will still recognize the heroism and the brilliant execution that characterized the actions of the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Pointe-du-hoc.

    Zalonga traces the raid from its inception and planning stages, including the training of the troops involved, through the execution of the raid and associated German counter-attacks. He then provides his readers with a thorough analysis of the success and failures of the raid and concludes with suggested further readings. Zalonga's writing is beautifully supplemented by the illustrations and artwork of Howard Gerrard and Mariusz Kozik.

    Knowledgeable students of the Second World War will learn from Rangers Lead the Way. Novice students will become knowledgeable by reading it.

    In addition to Rangers Lead the Way, Osprey has several other excellent titles available this month. In Osprey's "New Vangaurd" series, readers can now read Steven Zalonga's Staghound Armored Car 1942-62 (Osprey Publishing 2009; 48 pages) and Angus Kostam's British Battleships 1939-45 (2) (Osprey Publishing 2009; 48 pages). Also available is book 215 in the Osprey "Campaign" series, Leningrad 1941-44: The Epic Siege (Osprey Publishing 2009; 96 pages), by Robert Forczyk.

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