by Marc Milner
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2014. Pp. xviii, 376.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index.. $34.95. ISBN: 0700620036
The Canadians vs. the Panzers
Canada’s role in the Second World War has largely been neglected, and in Stopping the Panzers, Prof. Milner (New Brunswick), who has written extensive on military history, and particular Canadian military history, takes a look at one the most one of the most critical, yet largely overlooked Canadian actions during the opening days of the Allied Normandy Campaign, the struggle of the 3rd Canadian Division to cover the flank of the British offensive against Caen while keeping the panzers away from the beach.
Milner opens with two chapters about plans and preparations for the landings, which included plans for the Canadians to cover the British left. That done, he gives us four days of hard fighting, with many excellent battle pieces. The events of June 6th are covered in a single chapter. But those of June 7th require three and the 8th two more, as the 3rd Canadian Division found itself heavily beset by several German divisions, most notably the 12th SS Panzer “Hitler Youth”, 21st Panzer, and Panzer Lehr. Although the Canadians bent under this pounding, they held and then threw back the attackers. Milner ends with a chapter on the fighting to stabilize the front on June 9th and 10th, and then adds a conclusion discussing the important of the division’s action and its consequences.
Milner includes many illustrations and several excellent maps, which are not only appropriate, but very useful for understanding events, which are covered in considerable details, as are his frequent short profiles of individual soldiers. Stopping the Panzers, a volume in the excellent Kansas series “Modern War Studies”, is a very readable and valuable contribution to the literature on the Normandy operation.
Note: Stopping the Panzers is also available as an e-book $34.95 ISBN 978-0-7006-2049-4.