Juno Beach: 3rd Canadian and 79th Armoured Divisions
Contains Bibliography, Index
David Bennett is the national director of the Department of Workplace Health, Safety and Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa.
Tim Saunders is a military historian who writes about
“engagements”—that is, operations on a scale between strategic
campaigns and small unit actions.
The landing of the 3rd Canadian Division, which was supported by the
specialist assault tanks of the 79th Armoured Division, on Juno Beach on
June 6, 1944, was successful: the troops advanced further inland than
any of the other four divisional landings. Saunders rightly points out
that the Canadians had to face only substandard German regiments rather
than the regular troops of the 352nd Infantry Division, which,
fortunately for the Canadians, were deployed elsewhere. But this
detracts neither from the Canadian achievement nor from Saunders’s
depiction of the engagement.
Saunders’s grasp of the terrain is excellent, and the maps are
adequate. He makes use of original documents and of oral accounts, but
his books are not annotated, which sometimes makes it difficult to trace
the source of his historical contentions. Where events are
controversial, this is a drawback.
The book’s only other flaw is peripheral. In his outline of the
disastrous Dieppe raid of August 1942 as the prelude to the Normandy
landings, Saunders repeats the common view that lessons learned from the
Dieppe raid were applied to the Normandy invasion. Not so: the only
“lessons” were ones that were already known and ignored when the
operation was scaled down in favour of a direct assault on the fortified