Just when you though it was safe to think about Normandy again....
I was going to review the book "Cover up at Omaha Beach" by Gary Sterne, but I found I have a lot to say, so I think I will break this up into segments.
First, what I'll probably end up saying is that if you are interested in Normandy Rangers you need to buy the book. If you are into Omaha Beach stuff you probably should. But I'll get into that eventually, along with the "cover up" and such.
However, there are some interesting things I wanted to talk about first.
I always suspected, but could never prove that the German Artillery guns destroyed inland of PdH by the Rangers were not the ones from the point. It never really made much sense to me, and I figured someone could look at the photos and the PdH gun pits and see if they could be used in them. Well, case closed- they were NOT the PdH guns just pulled back. So we have that myth busted pretty well.
Something that just jumped off the page at me, which I think I may have seen but never realized, was that he has an Air Force document which indicates that the bombs dropped on the beaches were ordered to use instantaneous fuses, so they would not crater the beach. If they burrowed into the sand a little, they'd make craters, and if they made craters in some of the few exits it would hamper getting vehicles off Utah and Omaha. This makes perfect sense. So I suspect that happened is that the assault units saw in the time table there would bombing just beforehand, and just expected it would crater the area- thus the troops were told that.
This is not saying that the bombs did not land behind the beach defenses, but that the ol' story of the Air Force was to blame for not cratering the beaches is pretty much busted as well. The only way I think this could be disproven is if someone would pull the air force reports and see if they state exactly what types of fuses were used on the mission. There remains a slight possibility the orders were changed at the last minute, but I doubt it.
In case you did not know, Sterne is that guy that found and bought the Maisey Battery in Normandy to turn into a museum. For some reason this artillery position between Omaha and Utah seems to have been forgotten by pretty much every historian. Probably more of a case of everyone working from someone else's books, and so memory of it disappeared. It's a pretty cool story, and good for him for digging it out (quite literally).
But guess what? THAT is not the alleged cover up. I'll get to that eventually.