Cross-Channel Attack is based almost entirely on documents now in the custody of the Department of the Army. These range from the official records of the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the operational journals of combat battalions; they include all the records of the German Army which have not been destroyed or sent to the USSR. Quantitatively the archives containing material relevant to this book are measured literally in scores of tons. Evidently no one researcher could have examined the whole record. In the past five years, however, the combined researches of Department of the Army historians have sifted through the bulk of it. While the author cannot claim a definitive exploitation of all the sources, he can at least reasonably hope that the available documents of major interest have not escaped his attention. Free access was had to all relevant material regardless of classification.
The formal record of the wartime proceedings of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff consists of minutes of their meetings together with papers embodying all the proposals which they formally considered. This record includes minutes of the plenary conferences presided over by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill
Rounding out the Joint and Combined record are the thousands of cables between Roosevelt and Churchill, between the War Department and the theater, between the British Chiefs of Staff and their military mission in Washington, and between various commanders and planners. Light is thrown on many of the official ambiguities by the personal letters and cables between General Marshall and General Eisenhower.
The heart of the material for the present volume is the very large collection of SHAEF documents. Again cables, letters, memoranda, and minutes of both routine and special staff meetings recording the day-to-day work of the headquarters comprise the bulk of the collection. Besides these, however, SHAEF collected extracts from memoranda by the British Chiefs of Staff and their affiliated planning bodies as well as minutes of those British Chiefs of Staff meetings at which OVERLORD matters were discussed. Finally SHAEF inherited most of the records of its predecessors, COSSAC and the Combined Commanders. In supplementing the written record a series of interviews conducted by Forrest C. Pogue of the ETO Section of the Historical Division in 1946 with British commanders and planners proved very useful particularly in filling in background to important decisions. The author has interviewed and corresponded with a number of American commanders.
The bulk of the narrative of operations is based on preliminary studies by War Department historians (see below), but these were checked and supplemented by reference to the primary sources. The latter consist of unit journals, after action reports, and interviews conducted by historical officers with participants in most
cases immediately after the battle. The unit journals contain most of the contemporaneous incoming and outgoing messages of the headquarters involved together with overlays of troop dispositions, reports, intelligence estimates, and other supporting documents. These constitute the principal primary sources for the history of operations during June 1944 except for the action of the two airborne divisions. No contemporary record of any value for the historian was kept by the airborne units. This lack was fortunately remedied in good part by the extensive interviews conducted by Colonel S. L. A. Marshall with airborne officers and men during June and July 1944.
The much abbreviated accounts of British operations are largely based on information supplied by the British Cabinet Office Historical Section.
Information on German preparations and combat comes from original records of the German Army and from manuscript histories prepared after the war by more than two hundred German general and general staff officers working under direction of Col. Harold E. Potter, USA Original documents include army headquarters war diaries (KTB's) and their supporting papers, special orders, reports, telegrams, and conference minutes. Although a large number of documents were destroyed by German order or by Allied looters, and a considerable number were sent to the Soviet Union, the collection remaining available to the Western historian is still relatively rich for the pre-D-Day story of the German Army in France. In contrast, few original records of German operations in Normandy survived the annihilation of von Schlieben's force in the Cotentin and the later August collapse of the Seventh Army. The principal extant source is the Seventh Army KTB. This is supplemented by the postwar accounts of various unit commanders and staff officers. The War Diary of Army Group B has been lost and only a few of the supporting documents remain. The OB WEST diary has been preserved only from 1 July 1944.
Some use was made of German naval and air force records. The U.S. Navy Department has duplicates and microfilms of original German Navy documents held by the British Admiralty. Especially useful for the present work were the war diaries of Admiral Doenitz and of Admiral Krancke, Naval Commander in the West. Luftwaffe records are particularly spotty. Most useful were those preserved by the Luftwaffe Historical Section in the Von Rohden Collection, now at the Air University, Maxwell Field (microfilms in the Library of Congress).
Following is a guide to some of the principal documents and document collections.
AAF files. Army Air Force files containing operational records of the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. Now at the Air University, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama.
Adm. file. Administrative file; contains miscellaneous papers mostly from non-operational headquarters in the period before D Day. Like the Pre-Invasion file (q.v.) it includes chiefly documents which were rescued from destruction or dispersion by historians in the European theaters.
Barker papers. Personal papers, chiefly correspondence, of Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker (ret.) specially made available by him to War Department historians.
CC. Combined Commanders' papers filed in SHAEF SGS files (q.v.). A duplicate collection is in the Pre-Invasion file (q.v.).
CCS. Combined Chiefs of Staff papers and minutes of meetings. These are all maintained in the OPD files (q.v.). CCS papers are memoranda, reports, reprints cables, etc., prepared by the U.S. or British Chiefs of Staff or by their subordinate agencies and submitted for combined discussion. Minutes of the meetings are not stenographic. Notes were kept by U.S. and British secretaries. The minutes in final form were specifically and individually approved by each of the Combined Chiefs.
COS. British Chiefs of Staff papers and minutes of meetings. Selections of memoranda and excerpts of minutes relating to matters of interest to SHAEF are bound d separately filed with the SHAEF SGS collection (q.v.). The few COS papers reserved in other special SHAEF files are so cited in the footnotes.
COSSAC. Designates papers officially issued by General Morgan's headquarters and the minutes of COSSAC staff meetings. All such documents are to be found separately bound in the SHAEF's files (q.v.).
C/S file. Contains documents filed during the war in the Office of the Chief of Staff. Now held as a separate collection by Historical Records Section, Department Record Branch, AGO.
Dep C/S file. A small collection of documents which during the war were filed the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff. Now held in a separate collection by Historical Record Section, AGO.
Diary of CinC. MS diary of the Office of the Commander in Chief, kept for General Eisenhower by his naval aide, Capt. Harry C. Butcher. It was begun in July 1942 just before Eisenhower became commander in chief of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Edited excerpts have been printed by Butcher in My Three Years with Eisenhower (New York, 1946).
Eisenhower Personal Files. Contains communications between General Eisenhower and General Marshall including both personal letters and cables which had limited distribution and were not sent to regular operational files.
ETO file. Files of the European theater headquarters now held by the Organization Records Branch, Records Administration Center, AGO.
FUSA file. Administrative and pre-D-Day planning papers of First U.S. Army now held by the Organization Records Branch, AGO.
Hist Div files. A miscellaneous collection of documents chiefly comprising material prepared or collected by War Department historians. It includes interviews, responses to special questionnaires, manuscript histories, and certain British documents not found in U.S. operational files.
JCS. Joint (U.S.) Chiefs of Staff papers and minutes of meetings. Copies of all JCS documents cited can be found in OPD files (q.v.). The JCS papers include memoranda by the Joint Chiefs as a body, by individual members, and by subordinate agencies. Minutes of the meetings were not stenographic. Cf. note under CCS.
JIC. Joint Intelligence Committee (British) estimates found, unless otherwise noted, in SHAEF SGS files (q.v.) in separately bound collection of JIC papers.
JPS. Joint Planning Staff (U.S.) papers and minutes of meetings. Copies of JPS documents are in OPD ABC files, which include in most cases not only the final planners' memoranda, but OPD drafts, discussions, and working notes.
JWPC. Joint War Planning Committee (U.S.) papers, many of which were reissued as JPS or JCS documents. All cited are in OPD files. Cf. note under JPS.
Navy Dept files. The manuscript studies of U.S. operations and the occasional documents cited are in the Office of Naval Record. German documents are in the so-called Tambach collection which contains carbon duplicates and microfilms of German originals held by the British Admiralty office.
OPD files. Collection of the Operations Division of the War Department. They include the central files bearing the OPD decimal classification, and two separate collections: one kept by the Strategy and Policy Group within OPD which is identified by the initials ABC, and one kept by the Executive Group identified as the Exec file.
Pre-Inv file. The Pre-Invasion files contain miscellaneous papers on planning and strategy originating with or collected by various headquarters in the European theater before the invasion. The documents were turned over to War Department historians in the theater during 1944, and are now held by the Historical Records Section, AGO.
SHAEF files. Files of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. This is a very large collection of all the working papers of the staff sections of General Eisenhower's headquarters together with records of COSSAC, the Combined Commanders, and the British Chiefs of Staff. Files of each of the five general staff sections and of the Secretary of the General Staff (SGS) and the Adjutant General (AG) are separate, each containing the papers of chief concern to the respective section. For the present work the richest files are those of SGS G-3, and AG. The SGS section actually contains the bulk of the important cables, memos, minutes, and planning papers with which SHAEF was concerned. Files are held by the historical Records Section, AGO.
12th A Gp file. Operational files of the 12th Army Group with certain planning papers from the preinvasion period when the headquarters was designated 1st Army Group. Files now separately held by the Historical Records Section, AGO.
USSTAF file. Comprises documents specially collected by the chief USSTAF historian. Formerly in the Air Force Historical Section office, some of these papers have been transferred to the Spaatz file in the Library of Congress. Others can be found in AAF files at the Air University, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama.
WD Cable log. The large collection of cables which cleared through the War Department Message Center, filed by date in incoming and outgoing books.
Unpublished preliminary historical studies by Army, Navy, and Air Force historians greatly facilitated the task of research into subjects peripheral to the
main narrative. Especially useful was the series, The Administrative and Logistical history of the European Theater of Operations. The eleven volumes of special studies on such matters as training, manpower, planning, and supply were written by Army historians in the European Theater of Operations under the direction of Maj. Roland G. Ruppenthal, assistant theater historian, USFET. The Administrative History, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, on file in the Historical Division, contains material on naval organization for the assault. Other manuscript studies of naval administrative history, on file in the Navy Department, were consulted chiefly for aspects of the submarine war and landing craft procurement. Of some help were two manuscript histories of the Ninth Air Force, one by Lt. Col. Robert H. George and one by Col. William B. Reed, both in Air Force files. The 1500-page history of the French Forces of the Interior, prepared by Capt. Lucien Galimand, Capt. Marcel Vigneras, and Maj. R. A. Bourne-Paterson, is an important compilation of information on the French Resistance, drafted in 1945 from documents that have since been widely scattered. From interview material, Col. S.L.A. Marshall made a series of small-unit studies of airborne operations in Normandy. These manuscripts in Historical Division files are often brilliantly illuminating as to the nature of the fighting in the Cotentin.
Published sources include official reports and dispatches of commanders, special studies generally for limited distribution, official histories, unofficial histories, and memoirs.
Of the dispatches and reports, most of which are not very useful for historical purposes, special mention need be made only of "Despatch of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory," Fourth Supplement to the London Gazette No. 37838, 31 December 1946; and Report by Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Expeditionary Force on Operation NEPTUNE (London, 1944), 3 vols. Both of these reports are exceptionally full. A pertinent special study particularly valuable for the OVERLORD story is George E. Mowry, Landing Craft and the WPB (Civilian Production Administration, Historical Reports on War Administration: WPB Special Study No. 11) (Washington, 1946).
The Historical Division of the Department of the Army has published in the AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION series, two preliminary narratives of U.S. operations in Normandy in June 1944 which cover most of the fighting described in Cross-Channel Attack. These narratives are [Charles H. Taylor] Omaha Beachhead (Washington, 1945) and [R. G. Ruppenthal] Utah Beach to Cherbourg (Washington, 1947). Fully documented manuscripts of both studies are on file in the Historical Division. This documentation has not been repeated in the present volume. Official histories of the U.S. Navy and Air Forces are just beginning to appear and for the most part those so far published do not cover the period with which this volume is chiefly concerned. However, some use has been made of the first two volumes of Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate (eds.), The Army Air Forces in World War II (Chicago, 1947 and 1948). In addition, portions of that work still in manuscript have
been made available to the author by the Air Force Historical Section. The published volumes of the semiofficial naval history, Samuel E. Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic (Boston, 1948), and idem, Operations in North African Waters (Boston, 1947), bear only indirectly on the subjects of this volume. Col. C. P. Stacey, The Canadian Army, 1939-1945 (An Official Historical Summary) (Ottawa, 1948), a preliminary work, is the only official account of British or Dominion forces to appear so far.
Semiofficial histories exist for most U.S. combat units but few go beyond the bare outlines of after action reports colored by accounts of individual exploits. A noteworthy exception is the history of the 101st Airborne Division: Leonard Rapport and Arthur Norwood, Jr., Rendezvous With Destiny (Washington, 1948).
Of the unofficial histories touching OVERLORD far the best now in print is Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York, 1948) A revised edition with supplementary material was published in 1950. Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1948) is a fine volume of memoirs and a valuable contribution to the strategy story at the highest level. Some use has been made of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York, 1948) and Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Morgan, Overture to Overlord (New York, 1950), although these books deal with subjects abundantly covered by the primary sources consulted Captain Harry C. Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower (New York, 1948) is not the "personal diary" of Captain Butcher as advertised but a collection of excerpts from the personal and official diary of General Eisenhower kept for him by Captain Butcher. Winston S. Churchill, The Grand Alliance (New York, 1950) touches only on the very beginnings of the OVERLORD story.
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