30
Mar
11

CR3 #26: Pegasus Bridge by Stephen Ambrose

Pegasus Bridge is another in Stephen Ambrose’s series of books detailing the actions of the Allied army in the European theater of WW2. This particular book is actually the first he wrote, so it is good, but does not have the polish that some of the later works, like Citizen Soldier or D-Day have.

The story is much more compact than any of his other books–this is basically the actions of one small group of soldiers during one battle. The soldiers are part of D-Company “Ox and Bucks,” a group of specially trained British commandos, and they are arguably the first allied soldiers to be engaged on D-Day. They arrived behind enemy lines in Normandy via glider plane, with the assignment to take and hold two strategically important bridges. One of those would be Pegasus bridge. The soldiers spent months training (although they weren’t told what their actual goal would be until shortly before they went into action) and learning ways to attack and defend their goals. Their commander, Major John Howard, did everything he could to be sure his men would be prepared for any obstacle they faced. Due to their excellent training, courage, and determination, the men of D-Company managed to take their bridges intact and fight off fierce German counterattacks until they could be relieved by first paratroops and then soldiers coming up from the beaches.

As always, Ambrose has done a wonderful job incorporating facts and anecdotal stories into his narrative. It is both an excellent history and an entertaining read, which I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys WW2 history.

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