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Battle of Normandy

The Battle of Normandy, known as Operation Overlord, was one of the most famous battles of World War II. The battle began on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and it was the largest amphibious attack in history, requiring extensive planning. Some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. Though this was a difficult battle, it resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

The main plan for Operation Overlord was constantly changing as new information and intelligence became available. The complexities of Operation Overlord and its successful execution make it one of the greatest feats of military strategy of the modern age. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.

The Neptune Monograph was the plan prepared by the Task Force 122 commander two weeks before Operation Overlord. The Neptune Monograph was one of many reports given to the naval combat demolition units at Normandy (NCDUs) and shows that organization is one step to create victory. The document was an informative report and was not designed to be considered a directive.

The document contains special instructions summarized in section headers such as, “Destruction of previously issued Omaha shoreline sketches.” It describes “Enemy E-Boat Tactics,” noting: “The most modern E-Boats carry both torpedoes and mines, and are expected to constitute the greatest surface threat to Operation ‘OVERLORD.’” Other topics include small submarines and “human torpedoes,” secret enemy weapons such as long-range rockets and “robot mines.” The document also discussed the enemy army order of battle, the estimated enemy air force effort in the face of an invasion, and obstacles to be expected on beaches and underwater.

Pictured below is a rare mimeographed addendum document intended for insertion within the Neptune Monograph. This original document is a testament to the thorough planning and enormous effort that went in to orchestrating the invasion. The artifact is in very good condition, with burn marks in the upper left corners and areas of paper loss and chipping to edges which did not affect the text.



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