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Operation Totalize (Paperback)

Military > Battlefield Guidebooks > Battlefield Guides Normandy Military > Battlefield Guidebooks > WWII Battlefield Guides WWII > Battles & Campaigns > D-Day & Normandy WWII > Poland in WWII

By Tim Saunders
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Battleground: WWII
Pages: 276
Illustrations: 80
ISBN: 9781526741264
Published: 15th May 2019



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By early August 1944 the Germans fighting in Normandy had been worn down by the battles around Caen, while to the west, the American breakout was finally gaining momentum. Now was the time to launch II Canadian Corps south towards Falaise. With much of the German armour having been stripped away for the Mortain Counter-Attack, hopes ran high that the Corps, reinforced with British tanks, the 51st Highland and the Polish Armoured Divisions, would repeat the success of their predecessors in the Battle of Amiens.

An innovative change of tactics to a night armoured assault and the conversion of seventy-two self-propelled guns to armoured personnel carriers for the accompanying infantry was very successful, but up against their implacable foes, 12th Hitlerjugend SS Panzer Division, the pause for bombing allowed Kurt ‘Panzer’ Meyer to deploy his division. Consequently, when the 4th Canadian and Polish Armoured Divisions were launched into their first battle they made frustratingly little progress. As the Canadians advanced over the following days, the battle degenerated into a costly fight for ground as the Hitlerjugend struggled to contain the inexperienced Poles and Canadians.

Operation Totalize is renowned for the death of SS panzer Ace Michael Wittmann at the hands of Trooper Joe Ekins and the destruction of Worthington Force, the result of a navigational error.

This book is fantastic treasure trove of information on Operation Totalize and how the Normandy campaign was fought by the British and Canadians. It is aimed at a broad range of readers and I would recommend this to serious students of the AFV/MBT, armoured warfare, historians, battlefield archaeologists and even modellers. This is thoroughly researched and high quality information presented in an easy to follow style backed by graphics, maps and images. For the price it is an absolute bargain and I would rate this as one of the must read titles on The Canadian Army in North West Europe and armoured warfare in WWII. I cannot recommend this enough due to the high quality of material within. I will continue to be adding a lot more of this range to my library.

Highly recommended.

February 2020, Model Military International - reviewed by Al Bowie

Operation Totalize was an attempt by the 2nd Canadian Corps to push through to Falaise in the hope of trapping the large German forces who were failing to contain the American break-out. Tim Saunders does a splendid job of explaining the difficult context of this operation, which arrived on the back of several offensives two months into the Normandy campaign, and despite making some progress failed to achieve its ultimate objective, requiring a subsequent offensive to reach Falaise. It describes the initially highly successful start to Totalize, with the Corps quickly overcoming the impressive German defences along the Verrières Ridge which had previously halted attempts at a break-out, only for a delay in unleashing their armoured divisions to allow time for the 12th SS Panzer Division to organise a counter-attack which sapped their momentum and gradually bogged the offensive down as new defensive positions were arranged. The Battleground series is famed for its concise narratives and impressive ability to pack an extraordinary level of detail, including official reports, maps and photographs, into a relatively small space, and as this is an unusually large entry in the series it certainly succeeds in raising the bar.

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Pegasus Archive

Another book from the Battleground series that perfectly details a bloody two-day battle in what was an attempt to imprison the German forces that remained to defend Normandy.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

If you are an AFV buff, wargamer or intend to do a battlefield tour of the Operation Totalize battlegrounds, you will find this book very helpful and you will want to bring it with you to Normandy.

Let me finally say that the author, Tim Saunders, has found many great

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Lars Gyllenhall, Blogger

As featured on WW2 Today

WW2 Today

As featured on Argunners


This book is by a former soldier, member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides, historian and presenter of a series of fine DVDs on aspects of the Napoleonic Wars – Very Highly Recommended

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This is a great overview of Operation Totalize & the chapters on visiting the battlefields really good. Excellent maps & illustrations. A worthy new addition to Normandy guidebooks.

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Paul Reed via Twitter

A first-class book that will be valued and appreciated by all who read it.

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Andy Kay, Army Rumour Service, July 2019

This is a well written and presented work that brings the campaign to life. It has piqued my interest into what happened during a most pivotal time in world history. Having visited Normandy in 2015 and wanting to go back, this guide has given me the information to how best plan my visit and has helped me make sense of what actually happened during this time.

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Following the historical account there are Appendices which include an Order of Battle of the units involved as well as a tour (by car) of the of the battlefield. Having been to the area myself, this is a good guide and very handy to have with you if you are planning a visit. The countryside is lovely, and there have been some modern changes such as the modern N158 dual carriageway that cuts through the area. Off this on the country roads, there is still much of the battlefield to see. Another good guide from author Tim Saunders.

Another Battleground guide which is an ideal size to take with you in your car on holiday to France.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The combination of maps and firsthand testimony, as well as regimental histories, etc, is superb. This is the battle during which Tiger ace Michael Wittman was put out of action by radio-op turned gunner Joe Ekins. It's very vividly portrayed, making for an exciting and compelling read.

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A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

A very good guide book from Tim Saunders. Good narrative, choice of images and good maps. A comprehensive overview of Operation Totalize. The tour route is spot on; stand at Point 122 and marvel at the defensive position the Germans enjoyed. Then look behind at the area where Wittmann met his end. Recommended.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Tim Saunders

TIM SAUNDERS served as an infantry officer with the British Army for thirty years, during which time he took the opportunity to visit campaigns far and wide, from ancient to modern. Since leaving the Army he has become a full time military historian and has made nearly fifty full documentary films with Battlefield History and Pen & Sword. He is an active guide and accredited member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides.

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