Smashing Hitler's Guns

Smashing Hitler's Guns

The Rangers at Pointe-du-Hoc, D-Day 1944

General Military
  • Author: Steven J. Zaloga
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 12 May 2022
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About this Product

Written by one of the world's leading experts on D-Day, Smashing Hitler's Guns is a ground-breaking new history of the legendary Rangers' attack on Pointe-du-Hoc.

The Ranger attack on the German gun batteries at Pointe-du-Hoc in the early morning hours of D-Day is the stuff of legend. The gun batteries were strategically positioned between the two American D-Day landing beaches, and were considered the main threat to the Operation Neptune landings. In spite of the confusion and chaos of the June 6, 1944 mission, the Rangers succeeded in scaling the 100-foot cliffs, but the guns were nowhere to be found. Spreading out in all directions, a Ranger team managed to find and spike the guns at their hidden location south of Pointe-du-Hoc. For two days, this small force fought off repeated German attacks, until an American relief force finally arrived on 8 June, by which time more than half the Rangers were casualties.

The heroic Ranger mission at Pointe-du-Hoc has indeed become a sacred legend, and as a result there are many unexplored controversies. This new book on this famous raid takes a fresh and comprehensive look at the attack on Pointe-du-Hoc, examining the creation of the German gun battery, the initial Allied intelligence assessments of the threat, and the early plans to assault the site. The forgotten Allied bombing attacks on Pointe-du-Hoc are detailed, as well as the subsequent Allied intelligence investigations of the results. While most accounts of Pointe-du-Hoc are based on the published US Army history, the author has tracked down the long-forgotten original, unedited report in the archives that contains a number of curious changes from the better-known and widely accepted version. Little-known interviews of the Rangers who took part in the mission also shed fresh light and a significant number of German records provide the enemy perspective of the battle for control of the guns.

Biographical Note

Steven J. Zaloga received his BA in History from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over three decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union. He currently lives in Maryland.


List of Illustrations
Author's Note

Chapter 1: The Guns of Pointe-du-Hoc
Chapter 2: The Coastal Gun Threat
Chapter 3: "Hard Men for Dirty Work”
Chapter 4: Refining the Ranger Plan
Chapter 5: Spying on Pointe-du-Hoc: The Intelligence Battle
Chapter 6: Softening Pointe-du-Hoc
Chapter 7: Obliteration
Chapter 8: Assault Group O-4
Chapter 9: Carnage on Charlie Beach
Chapter 10: The Stormy Voyage to Pointe-du-Hoc
Chapter 11: Force A Strikes Pointe-du-Hoc
Chapter 12: Spiking the Guns
Chapter 13: The Germans Strike Back
Chapter 14: Night Attack
Chapter 15: Ranger Force C on Dog Green Beach
Chapter 16: The Crazy March on D+1
Chapter 17: Relief from the Sea
Chapter 18: Final Mission: The Maisy Gun Batteries
Chapter 19: Battle Analysis

Afterword: The Rangers in Cinema
Appendix A: Ranger Organization, Equipment, and Combat Awards
Appendix B: The Pointe-du-Hoc Guns: Doctrine and Technology
Appendix C: Naval Fire Support for the Rangers
Appendix D: The Guns of Maisy
Further Reading

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