I was watching “Expedition Unknown” on the Discovery channel Season 8, Episode 1 when I learned about Maisy Battery. I posted about it then and you can read that one here. I was anxious to get this book and was not disappointed. A British military historian and author, Gary Sterne found Maisy Battery after locating a hand-drawn map in a US Army veteran’s uniform he had purchased. He is a keen collector of militaria and was a co-founder of “The Armourer and Skirmish Magazines“.
Josh Gates is invited to meet Gary at the newly discovered, buried Maisy Battery. He helps out with some of the digs. Gary had purchased the land and now it is an educational historical site that you can visit.
The 2013 book tells the story of D-Day through the eyes of the Rangers. Gary interviewed many soldiers, medics, officers, infantry, mechanics, and chaplains to get their stories of what they remembered of those days. He puts their own words in italics and that is used a good portion of the book.
I thought the book flowed well. Gary took the portions of the interviews that fit the topic at hand and placed them in chronological order. He would add missing information and his opinions in between the Ranger’s remembrances.
Gary Sterne also uses military documentation, reports written, orders, and assault plans from both the US and German sides to tell the story. There is even a chapter on the German perspective through their own words (in English).
He writes in detail about the cover-up, why Pointe de Hoc was the number one site for the Rangers to attack when it was clearly known not to be in action? Also why Maisy Battery was not even on the Ranger’s radar until days after D-Day?
I thought this book was great and learned while enjoying the read. I liked the quality of the page paper used and how it was liberally illustrated with many previously unseen photographs. Some of the maps were really too small to be of any use but that was my only negative. They could have included a large fold-out map, that would have been a great feature. I’ll give this book 5 out of 5 stars.