What does it take to win a war? Courage? Technology? Weapons? Numbers? Planning? Luck? Innovation? Sacrifice? Genius?
It takes all of them – and more.
And there are few campaigns that show this better than Normandy 1944 – the largest, most complex, and most important seaborne invasion in history. We may love celebrating it, but few of us really understand it. So many accounts are misleading.
Some insist it was over the moment the Allied forces hit the Normandy sands on 6th June 1944, as though what happened next was just a formality. Others bitterly criticise the Allies for throwing away the triumph of the landings, in a campaign marked by timidity, confusion and complacency – prevailing only by dint of American industrial muscle. One view underestimates the ferocity of the fighting required to dislodge the Germans; the other, exaggerates the aura of invincibility that clung to the Germans, especially their tanks.
Neither is right. And this series will explain why.
Follow historian James Holland, and US Special Ops veteran, and emergency medicine expert Dr Mike Simpson, as they immerse themselves in all things D-Day; the years of preparation; the planning; the day itself; and, most gruelling, and compelling of all – the 76 days that followed, on which the fate of the entire war would rest.
Watch them grapple with the myths, dispel the illusions and test competing theories, moving across the English south coast, then the Normandy beaches, finally penetrating deep in country, tracking the fighting that unfolded 75 years ago.
The key to understanding Normandy is the concept of BIG WAR. A combination of planning, production, strategy and guts that would overwhelm the Germans in 1944 and pave the way to victory.
But the concept of BIG WAR means nothing until there are boots on the ground – and the same goes for us 75 years later struggling to understand its reality. That is why this is a road trip with a difference. Two different perspectives, one shared objective – to do justice to what was achieved here all those years ago, and show, once and for all, just why Normandy ’44 deserves to be remembered for the epic that it was. Even if it means detonating some dearly held myths.
And, as Mike will remind us, nothing in war comes without cost. Normandy ’44 was no exception. This was gruelling, bloody, violent fighting – as ferocious and harrowing as any in the whole of World War Two. Brilliant set-piece engagements sit alongside massacres; courage alongside carnage – and Mike and James confront them all.
Join us on this extraordinary, detailed, but intimate encounter with the ferocity, immensity and irresistible genius of the Allied campaign fought here three-quarters of a century ago.
Keep checking in here, or on our Twitter feed (@BattlefieldNDY) for updates and our announcement on when and where to watch the series!