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Staff Development, Deception Operations, and Force Projection: Lessons from the Normandy Invasion

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,01 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The invasion of Normandy is widely used by military professionals and historians to draw examples of successes or failures from this complex operation. While the Normandy invasion ultimately led to the liberation of France and Europe from Nazi Germany, it was not achieved without a considerable amount of planning. Popular history has ignored some of the key aspects of this operation that illustrate the complexity of the planning in this undertaking. The research conducted in support of this monograph includes the use of source documents concerning the planning and preparations for the invasion by the Allies. The source documents center on three operations Operation Fortitude, the deception operation Operation Neptune the amphibious assault finally, Operation Crossbow, the air operation. The source documents range from the operation orders used by the invasion forces the ULTRA signals intelligence used to decode intercepted German radio traffic and the transcripts between senior Allied commanders and their staffs. Enhancing the source documents is a variety of historical works written by both British and American authors covering the invasion from varying perspectives. The research into the planning, preparations, and execution of the Normandy invasion revealed several constraints that the Allies placed upon themselves, and how those constraints led to an increased rate of operational friction. The operational friction became apparent in the sluggish progress through the Norman Bocage and the vicious fighting in the city of Caen. The Allied progress became so slow that it hindered the efforts of the Allied corps and divisions to achieve their key objectives for several weeks. Throughout most of the summer of 1944, the Allied objectives at the corps and division level became focused on the next hedgerow or road intersection, rather than the next city or port.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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