Bloody Victory: Canadians and the D-Day Campaign 1944
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
W.A. Morrison was Military Advisor with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.
Two former army officers turned history professors (both graduates of The Royal Military College of Canada) have produced this eminently readable, well-illustrated history of the Canadians in the 1944 Normandy Campaign. As they point out, most of the D-Day histories “ignore the Canadians”; Granatstein and Morton’s work rectifies this mistake. Though it is complete in itself, it also includes many suggestions for further reading.
“Among Those Heroes Present” describes two dozen officers and soldiers and their special deeds; we are reminded that there were many Canadian heroes during that three-month series of battles.
The book begins, as well it should, with a review of the 1942 Dieppe raid in which the 2nd Canadian Division suffered 68 percent casualties. Against this backdrop, to which is added a political assessment, sketches of our senior officers, and an insight into planning for the 1944 invasion, the authors quickly move to the events of D-Day itself. They describe clearly the Canadian landings, and the narrative is richly sprinkled with first-person accounts. The description of the Caen battle moves quickly, with understated admiration for those Canadians who did their duty. (“One of the few survivors of Operation SPRING was asked why he had gone forward to such certain doom. ‘I guess’, he replied, ‘that that’s what they expected from the Black Watch.’”) The photographs are excellent, as are the reproductions of the paintings produced by our war artists. The accompanying maps are clear, yet one yearns for fold-outs in place of those stitched in place.