by Christopher D. Yung
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2006. Pp. xx, 292.
Illus., maps,. Tables, gloss., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN:1-59114-997-5
Gators of Neptuneprovides a look at the background, conception, planning, organization,
and execution of the D-Day landings.
actually treats the subject on several levels.
To begin with, there is a comprehensive examination of the technical and
logistical aspects of the operation, which remains the most complex landing
ever undertaken. So we learn a great
deal about the supply of landing craft, arrangements for naval escorts and
gunfire support, the intricate planning necessary to mesh operations by naval,
air, and ground forces, and more, including lots of training (with a good
concise discussion of Slapton Sands).
Yung, a seasoned naval analyst, didn’t stop there. He frames the tale by examining the evolution of both British and
American amphibious doctrine, which differed in important ways, requiring
complex negotiation among the commanders and their staffs to hammer out a
common doctrine. In dealing with this
aspect of the planning, we are treated to some critical portraits of many of
the leading figures on both sides. This
is in many ways the most valuable part of the book, for by looking at the
planning for D-Day through the experiences, personalities, ambitions, and
inter-relationships of the principal commanders – Bertram Ramsay, Andrew
Cunningham, Harold Stark, Philip Vian, Alan Kirk, and others – Yung turns what
could easily have been a very dry, even boring technical account of operational
planning and logistical management into a very readable work.
Gators of Neptune is likely to be of particular interest to students of
World War II in Europe, amphibious operations, and naval history in general.