Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy (Joanne Goodman Lectures)

Terry Copp

Published by University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division, 2004
ISBN 10: 0802037801 / ISBN 13: 9780802037800
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Fields of Fire offers a stunning reversal of accepted military history. Terry Copp challenges and refutes the conventional view that the Canadian contribution to the Battle of Normandy was a 'failure': that the allies won only through the use of 'brute force,' and that the Canadian soldiers and commanding officers were essentially incompetent. His detailed and impeccably researched analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield portrays a flexible, innovative army that made a major, and successful, contribution to the defeat of the German forces in just seventy-six days.

Challenging both existing interpretations of the campaign and current approaches to military history, Copp examines the Battle of Normandy, tracking the soldiers over the battlefield terrain and providing an account of each operation carried out by the Canadian army to illustrate the valour, skill, and commitment of the Allied citizen-soldier in the face of a well-entrenched and well-equipped enemy army. Using signal message logs, war diaries, operational research reports, and interviews, Copp re-examines often overlooked battles such as the advance inland on D-Day and the defence of the bridgehead, as well as the frequently analyzed struggle for Verrières ridge and the operations to reach Falaise, placing each operation within the context of overall Allied strategy. He demonstrates that previous accounts exaggerated the prowess of the German army and that while Allied air power and numerical strength were important, the Canadian and other Allied citizen armies won the war on the battlefield by employing an effective doctrine. The Canadian contribution to the Battle of Normandy, Copp argues, was an extraordinary achievement, well out of proportion to the number of troops engaged in battle, and the army was far more successful than previous historians have claimed. Passionately written and compellingly argued, Fields of Fire will make an irrefutable and controversial mark on Canadian military history.

From the Inside Flap: 'Full of new material, this is a provocative and challenging interpretation by a master of Canada's military history.'

'With Fields of Fire, we have a new, fresh, and nuanced model for understanding the Normandy campaign ... Copp's command of detail is impressive, and his ability to weave that detail into a compelling narrative even more so. He attacks decades-old orthodoxies regarding the Canadian army's performance in Normandy, and advances a new and convincing interpretation of the campaign. Using entirely new kinds of evidence, particularly an intimate knowledge of the terrain and the evidence gleaned from specialists in operational research, he demonstrates that Canadian brigades were effective and efficient in battle ... Copp never loses sight of the lowly foot soldier who actually did the fighting; this is a kind of military history that really understands the many challenges faced by those in the front lines.'

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Title: Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy (...
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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