Omaha Beach

A Flawed Victory

By Adrian R. Lewis

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5469-3
    Published: February 2003
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6258-2
    Published: November 2003
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7255-5
    Published: November 2003

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Awards & distinctions

Dual main selection of the History Book Club

The Allied victory at Omaha Beach was a costly one. A direct infantry assault against a defense that was years in the making, undertaken in daylight following a mere thirty-minute bombardment, the attack had neither the advantage of tactical surprise nor that of overwhelming firepower. American forces were forced to improvise under enemy fire, and although they were ultimately victorious, they suffered devastating casualties.

Why did the Allies embark on an attack with so many disadvantages? Making extensive use of primary sources, Adrian Lewis traces the development of the doctrine behind the plan for the invasion of Normandy to explain why the battles for the beaches were fought as they were.

Although blame for the Omaha Beach disaster has traditionally been placed on tactical leaders at the battle site, Lewis argues that the real responsibility lay at the higher levels of operations and strategy planning. Ignoring lessons learned in the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters, British and American military leaders employed a hybrid doctrine of amphibious warfare at Normandy, one that failed to maximize the advantages of either British or U.S. doctrine. Had Allied forces at the other landing sites faced German forces of the quality and quantity of those at Omaha Beach, Lewis says, they too would have suffered heavy casualties and faced the prospect of defeat.

About the Author

Adrian R. Lewis is associate professor of history at the University of North Texas in Denton and a retired major in the U.S. Army.
For more information about Adrian R. Lewis, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"A major contribution to our understanding of the assault on Omaha Beach."--Journal of Military History

"Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory offers a new approach to the D-Day landings and will have a great appeal to armchair generals and those who believe in a 'lessons learned' approach to military history. Serious students of the campaign in north-west Europe will value the new questions asked by Lewis."--War in History

"Why the US troop landing at Omaha Beach turned into the Normandy invasion's toughest and bloodiest battle is the subject of this thought-provoking analysis. . . . Lewis carefully examines all of the unexpected challenges and bad decisions of the landing, as well as the flexibility demonstrated in initiatives taken to overcome them."--Choice

"The fullest study of the planning for the cross-channel invasion we have. . . . No future student of Omaha Beach . . . will be able to ignore this book."--Naval History

"A dual Main Selection of the History Book Club, this clearly written, carefully argued and well-researched account offers a still-valid lesson in the importance of communication up and down the chain of command, and on bravery."--Publishers Weekly

"[Lewis] has built a very strong case by using primary evidence, such as army archives and memoirs of the commanders involved. Historical specialists and scholars will be interested in the book."--Library Journal