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Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France

Stephen A. Bourque

Beyond the Beach by Stephen A. BourqueBeyond the Beach examines the Allied air war against France in 1944. During this period, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower took control of all American, British, and Canadian air units and employed them for tactical and operational purposes over France. Using bombers as his long-range artillery, he directed destruction of bridges, rail centers, ports, military installations, and even French towns with the intent of preventing German reinforcements from interfering with Operation Neptune, the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches. This air offensive resulted in the death of over 60,000 French civilians and an immense amount of damage to towns, churches, buildings, and works of art. This intense bombing operation, conducted against a friendly occupied state, resulted in a swath of physical and human destruction across northwest France that is rarely discussed as part of the D-Day landings. The book explores the short and long-term effects of these operations and argues that this ignored narrative should be part of any history of the D-Day landings.

Stephen A. Bourque is Professor Emeritus of military history at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He left the US Army in 1992 after twenty years enlisted and commissioned service and obtained his PhD at Georgia State University. Bourque has taught history at several colleges and universities. His publications include Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, The Road to Safwan, and Soldiers' Lives: The Post-Cold War Era. His most recent book Beyond the Beach, the Allied War Against France will be published in France in 2019. Currently, he is writing a biography of Richard G. McKee, concentrating on his role as VII Corps Chief of Staff and Commander of the 8th Infantry Regiment in Europe during World War II.