Part history book and part travel guide, D-Day Gunners is aimed at anyone interested in the artillery on the D-Day beaches and landing grounds. While the heritage of the D-Day beaches and landing sites is well documented, this rarely includes the Gunner story. The author of this book aims to correct this by providing a visitors' guide to the gunner stories associated with the battlefield heritage, which remains on the D-Day Beaches, and usefully mapping the fire-plan for D-Day, against the known German locations and looked at what happened at these places. There is relatively little explanation about the role of the artillery in general or the deeds of artillerymen, in particular those of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. This book tells of the significance of artillery on D-Day and the part it played in the outcome. Initial reports published stressed that the coastal defences were effectively neutralized by the bombing and that no significant counter attacks developed on D-Day, however, post-war accounts increasingly attributed allied success to allied fire power.The book largely documents the stories of the men who served the guns on the D-Day beaches, mostly British, but with the occasional view of the Kannoniers.
The main sources for this are the accounts by veterans and contemporary accounts. The medal cards within The National Archives contain some information about the actions, which resulted in awards. The last part of the book has been written as a guide to the D-Day Beaches, telling the gunner stories that are not always commemorated on memorials, interpretation boards, or recorded in more general guides. These poignant stories include war poets and heroes decorated for bravery or just the tales of some of the men buried on the war cemeteries or commemorated on the memorials.
Frank is a historian and battlefield travel professional. He has led hundreds of battlefield tours, studies and staff rides. A retired Gunner Major, he is a member of the British commission for military history and author of several books and articles on the battlefield of the world wars. He also edits an online blog: www.theobservationpost.com