Pegasus Bridge & Horsa Bridge, Carl Shilleto
Pegasus Bridge & Horsa Bridge, Carl Shilleto
This is the first of two volumes in the Battlefield Normandy series devoted to the exploits of the 6th Airborne Division (split from an original single volume). The book thus starts with a look at the Allied invasion plans and the German defences they were designed to overcome, before providing five guided tours - three of the battlefields themselves and two of the memorials in the area.
The battlefield tours are organised quite logically, with one each for Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge and a third looking at the German counter-attacks and Allied reinforcements. The memorial tours include a visit to the Memorial Pegasus Park, built around the original Pegasus Bridge which was replaced when the Caen Canal was widened, and to the Ranville CWGC Cemetery, where many of the airborne troops lost in the area are buried.
The tours are written as a mix of a narrative account of the fighting, well supported by eye witness accounts, mixed with the tour details - instructions and explanations of what can still be seen on the ground. This is an interesting approach and gives the book more value to the general reader than with some other tour guides.
1 - Planning the Invasion
2 - The German Defences in Normandy
3 - Battlefield Tour 1: Pegasus Bridge
4 - Battlefield Tour 2: Horsa Bridge
5 - Battlefield Tour 3: Counter-attack and Reinforcements
6 - Memorial Tour 1: Pegasus Bridge-Horsa Bridge
7 - Memorial Tour 2: Ranville
Author: Carl Shilleto
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010 revised edition
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Tag Archives: Carl Shilleto
Having received these guides that both relate to the Airborne Brigdgehead in Normandy, and are both by Carl Shilleto, I thought it would make sense to review them together. I have used the Battleground series of Battlefield Guides myself when visiting Arnhem in the past. To my eternal regret, I haven’t actually managed to get to any other battlefields apart from Arnhem, so until the time that somebody gives me a break in becoming a battlefield guide I will have to make do with reading battlefield guide books from the comfort of my own home!
Mind you, in this case it’s not really a case of making do – these are very good books indeed. Exceptionally well illustrated with archive and contemporary photographs, and with a wealth of appendices covering recommended reading, order of battle, glossaries and a handy reference list of grid reference co-ordinates for Satnav use. The maps in particular are a great resource – in particular the colour maps on the back are very useful. Perhaps the only thing that is missing with this series is a larger scale, detailed Holts-style map, but I guess if you want something like that you can go out and buy one yourself, or one of the French Michelin maps. There isn’t a huge amount on tourist information – some basic information such as climate, health, getting there, the perils of battlefield relics are well covered. With the internet, and ever disappearing international borders, it shouldn’t take too much trouble to google up some ferries and hotels.
I’ve done a fair bit of studying of individual soldiers who fought in the airborne bridgehead – namely Portsmouth’s own Sergeant Sid Cornell DCM and the 16 year old Boy Para Private Bobby Johns. Reading this book has helped me understand what happened to both of them in much more context. And I guess that’s what a good battlefield guidebook should do – make you feel like you have been there, without actually being there. I wouldn’t mind betting that out of everyone who buys a battlefield guide, something like 75% might not actually got to the area. And is that such a bad thing?
Read or Download Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge (Battleground) Book by Carl Shilleto. It is one of the best seller books in this month. Avaliable format in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, KINDLE, E-BOOK and AUDIOBOOK.
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Battle of Arnhem Wikipedia
Battle of Arnhem Part of Operation Market Garden Aerial reconnaissance photo of the Arnhem road bridge taken by the Royal Air Force on 19 September showing signs of the British defence on the northern ramp and wrecked German vehicles from the previous days fighting
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Fallen Heroes of Normandy 1944
The Commonwealth Cemeteries
By Carl Shilleto
This publication provides details of the 18 Commonwealth War Cemeteries in the Calvados department of Normandy, France. There are also details and stories about some of the individuals buried in each these cemeteries that are maintained by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission.
Through analysis of the Fallen Heroes of Normandy archive and database, this work will also reveal, for the first time, new statistics and details about the cost in human life of the Normandy Campaign in 1944.
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd.
Publication Date: 2021/22. Date to be announced.
War Poets and Artists of the Normandy Battlefields
By Irena Zientek & Carl Shilleto
A series of biographies and details of the experience and works of the war poets and artists who served in Normandy during the Second World.
For those who did not survive the conflict, this work provides information about their final place of rest in Normandy and details of their memorials.
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Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge (Battleground Normandy) by Carl Shilleto
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Pegasus Bridge & Horsa Bridge: British 6th Airborne Division Landings in Normandy D-Day 6th June 1944
On D Day, 6th June 1944 the greatest seaborne assault ever was launched against Hitler's Fortress Europe onto the beaches of Normandy. The book contains details of museums, memorials, cemeteries, tours and associated organizations all of which will unravel the history of the area to the visitor and armchair traveler alike. Read More
On D Day, 6th June 1944 the greatest seaborne assault ever was launched against Hitler's Fortress Europe onto the beaches of Normandy. The book contains details of museums, memorials, cemeteries, tours and associated organizations all of which will unravel the history of the area to the visitor and armchair traveler alike. Read Less
Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge: British 6th Airborne Division Landings in Normandy D-Day 6th June 1944 Paperback – Illustrated, 5 October 2011
I missed this book first time around and, therefore, came to the work without previously having heard of author Carl Shilleto. Now republished as Part 1 of the battleground guide to Normandy (Part Two being Merville Battery and the Dives Bridges by the same author), the two works compliment each other exactly as they should and are both written in an easy-to-read and energetic style which befits the actions they recount.
With both books published in the same style and at the same time by Pen & Sword Books Ltd, some of my comments are repeated in my reviews for both works because they both combine to give the most complete account.
Unlike any novel I might occasionally read (but only `very' occasionally!), I always thumb through a work of non-fiction in order to get a feel for the product before settling down to a serious read. On this occasion, I warmed to the work just as soon as I started my looking. In short, I like the book, the style of writing and the way in which it is presented.
Said to provide much more information than the original, the work describes in great detail the attack by 2 Oxford and Bucks and the airborne engineers on the bridges over the Caen Canal and River Orne in the early hours of D-Day 6 June 1944. Also covered is part of 7 Para's battle for Benouville village and 13 Para's assault on Ranville - the combination of which actions allowed the historic link-up between airborne forces and commandos on D-Day which formed the bridgehead on the eastern flank for Operation Overlord.
The work itself is profusely illustrated with photographs or illustrations on almost every page and it is quite clear how considerable effort and thought has gone into this aspect of the book. Having formerly served with all three battalions of the Parachute Regiment and 22 SAS (post WW2!), I have read a number of accounts of the wartime actions of these regiments and was most pleased to see so many photographs published here which I had not seen before - especially the one of the German gunboat sunk by a private soldier with a Piat! Most importantly, each illustration has been carefully selected so that the right picture is on the right page in order to reinforce the text you are reading at the time without breaking your natural flow of reading - which always happens when you have to pause to look elsewhere.
Altogether, an excellent offering and one which I am sure will lead to your purchasing part two of this incredible story.
CHAPTER ONE - PLANNING THE INVASION
CHAPTER TWO - THE GERMAN DEFENCES IN NORMANDY
CHAPTER THREE - PEGASUS BRIDGE
CHAPTER FOUR - HORSA BRIDGE
CHAPTER FIVE - COUNTER-ATTACK AND REINFORCEMENTS
APPENDIX A - CHAPTER NOTES AND SOURCES
APPENDIX B - RECOMMENDED READING AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX C - ORDER OF BATTLE
APPENDIX E - FALLEN HEROES PROJECT, MEMORIAL PEGASUS, CWGC & AANT
APPENDIX F - THE MEN IN GLIDERS
MERVILLE BATTERY & THE DIVES BRIDGES
INDEX Locators in italics refer to references in maps NB. Index does not include prelims or appendices
This book is dedicated to the men of the 6th Airborne Division who gave their lives in Normandy during the battle for the liberation of France. On 6th June 1944 the role of the Division in the initial assault onto the Normandy coast was to seize, intact, the bridges over the River Orne and Canal de Caen (‘Pegasus Bridge’) East of Benouville and to establish a bridgehead east of the river to secure these crossings. Additional tasks were to silence the guns of a coastal defence battery south east of Merville and to destroy certain bridges over the rivers Dives and Divette.
These objectives were achieved with great courage and determination. In the early hours of the morning a coup de main party landed in the dark in gliders and captured the bridges, whilst before dawn the Merville Battery had been silenced. The securing f this east flank was vitally important, as it was eventually the hinge on which the entire Allied armies would pivot as they broke out of the bridgehead to sweep on to Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and the Rhine.
Today the Airborne Assault Normandy Trust works to preserve both the memory of those who died in the battle and also the history of the Campaign. As Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment, I salute those who took part in the 6th Airborne Division Campaign.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Much has been written about the D-Day landings of the British 6th Airborne Division over the years. This work, originally titled Pegasus Bridge & Merville Battery, was the first to be commissioned that extensively guided the battlefield visitor to the exact locations and tells the story, in depth, using the words of so many veterans. Now, the work has been extensively revised and updated and divided into two works the second titled Merville Battery & The Dives Bridges. For this opportunity I would first like to thank the Chief Executive, Charles Hewitt, Editorial Manager, Brigadier Henry Wilson and Series Design Manager, Roni Wilkinson and Jonathan Wilkinson and Jonathan Wright, of Pen & Sword Books Ltd.
My gratitude also to: The Airborne Assault Normandy Trust who have provided me with so much information in the course of my research. My most sincere thanks to the Patron of the Trust, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM, for his endorsement of my work also to Lieutenant General Sir Michael Gray KCB OBE DL FI MGT F Inst D, Lieutenant Colonel Joe Poraj-Wilczynski, Major Jack Watson MC and Major Mike McRitchie MC for their support, invaluable assistance and advice with proofs.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the following: Madame Arlette Gondrée-Pritchett of the Café Gondrée and her staff for their wonderful hospitality and to the Curator of the Musée Mémorial Pegasus Mark Worthington, Director Beatrice Boissee, Assistant Curator Nicolas Dumont and Martin Janssen, Saudrine Gabrol, Pascal Crespin, Rolande Vimond and Halima Fringaut.
The staff at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) for their tireless work in tending and preserving the war cemeteries in Normandy and for answering all of my numerous enquiries, in particular Barry Murphy, Roy Hemington, Christine Woodhouse, Chris Hawes, Nigel Haines and Peter Francis Peter Hart at The Imperial War Museum for the use of their sound archives Eddie Hannath MBE of the Normandy Veterans Association Beverley H. Davies at The Royal British Legion and staff at the Public Records Office (now National Archives) in Kew, the Airborne Forces Museum in Aldershot, and the French Tourist Office in London and Caen.
I would also like to acknowledge the overwhelming hospitality and friendship I have received from many of the local people in Normandy who have always made my many visits there all the more worthwhile and enjoyable. Thanks to Delphine Bautmans, Pascaline Dagorn, Patrick Elie, Corinne Hamon (née Lecourt), Marc Jacquinot, Christian Keller, Patrig Lagadu, Lionel Laplaise, Daniela Lemerre, Gérard Maillard, Patrick Moutafis, William Moutafis and Alan Soreau. Thanks also to the many expatriates who also make my visits all the more welcoming, particularly to fellow battlefield guide and historian Stuart Robertson and his wife Jenny Robertson for their hospitality, friendship and company in the many hours shared walking the battlefields.
For my appeals I would like to thank the staff at Channel 4’s Service Pals Teletext Service, Editor John Elliot and Chris Kinsville-Heynes from Soldier Magazine, Colonel K. Coates Editor of The Pegasus Journal, Robert Beaumont of The Yorkshire Evening Press (now The Press) and Mike Laycock, also thanks to the secretaries of several regimental associations and Ken Wintle for the use of his extensive appeal database.
As always, the most interesting and rewarding part of this type of research is gained through interviews and correspondence with the veterans themselves. To hear their firsthand accounts of the events, and on occasion escort them around the Normandy battlefield often concluding with a visit to the War Cemetery at Ranville so that they may pay their respects to their fallen comrades, has been, and always will be, a great privilege. Overwhelmed by the response to my appeals, I must apologise to those whose anecdotes I have not been able to use because of the inevitable editorial restrictions.
Thanks to the many veterans and their families who have kindly loaned valuable documents or photographs. A few I would like to mention, who have helped specifically with this work, are: R. Daeche, R. Deller, Peggy and Mary Eckert and family of Cyril and Stan Eckert, Denis Edwards, Major Ellis Dean MBE MC, Ted George, Major John Howard DSO, David ‘Dai’ King, Bill McConnell, H. Pegg, Edward Pool MC, Brigadier G. Proudman CBE MC, family of John Rollingson, James Sanders, family of Peter Sanderson, Maurice Segal, Ray Shuck and family, Norman Stocker, Ernie Stringer, Richard Todd, Major N. Ward, Major Jack Watson MC, Harry White and family of George White, Charlie Willbourne and Major Anthony Windrum.
Thanks also to Don Mason, who passed away before the completion of my manuscript for the first edition of this work 1999, and I offer my condolences to his family. Sadly, many other veterans, some who became very close friends, mentioned in this acknowledgement have also passed away in the time leading up to this extensively revised and updated new edition. While their company and presence is sorely missed, their memory lives on as strong as ever. I hope this work helps to preserve some of that