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FOR RELEASE APRIL 2018

Contact: Jacqline Barnes
(410) 295-1028, jbarnes@usni.org

The Allied War Against France
An important rethinking of the Normandy war
narrative

Beyond the Beach examines the Allied air war against
France in 1944. During this period, General Dwight
David Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander,
took control of all American, British, and Canadian air
units and employed them for tactical and operational
purposes over France rather than as a strategic force to
attack targets deep in Germany. Using bombers as his
long-range artillery, he directed the destruction of
bridges, rail centers, ports, military installations, and
even French towns with the intent of preventing
German reinforcements from interfering with
Operation Neptune, the Allied landings on the
Normandy beaches. Ultimately, this air offensive
resulted in the death of over 60,000 French civilians and an immense amount of damage to
towns, churches, buildings, and works of art. This intense bombing operation, conducted against
a friendly occupied state, resulted in a swath of physical and human destruction across northwest
France that is rarely discussed as part of the D-Day landings.

This book explores the relationship between ground and air operations and its effects on the
French population. It examines the three broad groups that the air operations involved, the
doctrine and equipment used by Allied air force leaders to implement Eisenhower’s plans, and
each of the eight major operations, called lines of effort, that coordinated the employment of the
thousands of fighters, medium bombers, and heavy bombers that prowled the French skies that
spring and summer of 1944. Each of these sections discusses the operation's purpose, conduct,
and effects upon both the military and the civilian targets. Finally, the book explores the short
and long-term effects of these operations and argues that this ignored narrative should be part of
any history of the D-Day landings.

Praise for Beyond the Beach:

A Book for Review 1
"Stephen Bourque's Beyond the Beach is a well-conceived, well-argued, and well-written
exploration of the last major neglected corner of the aerial conflict over western Europe. An
indispensable book for anyone interested in the air war, it manages at the same time to earn
that precious moniker few other works attain: an important book about World War II."
—Thomas Alexander Hughes, author of Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the
Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II and Admiral Bill Halsey: A Naval Life

"Stephen Bourque’s exciting new book, Beyond the Beach, fills gaps in the story about the
Allied bombing campaign in support of the Normandy invasion and subsequent offensive.
Not only does he refute the existing narrative that the Allied bombing effort was wildly
successful, but he also adds a new dimension to the story by exploring the bombing’s impact
on the local civilian populations. In addition to chronicling the destruction to the physical
landscape, Bourque also includes personal stories of people whose loved ones and neighbors
did not survive the Allies’ 'liberation' operation." —Mary Kathryn Barbier, author of D-
Day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion, Associate Professor of
History, Mississippi State University

"For decades after World War II the grim story of Allied bombing of friendly populations in
Europe has been missing from the narrative of the 'Good War'. Stephen Bourque has rescued
from obscurity one of the most damaging of those campaigns, against French towns, railways
and ports in support of D-Day. It should make us all rethink the Allies' uncritical claim to
hold the moral high ground in the war. This is a disturbing and important book. Operation
Overlord will never seem the same after reading it." —Richard Overy, author of The
Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945

"With Beyond The Beach, Stephen Bourque drives us beyond the myth of a victory only
based on justice and heroism. Through a brilliant and accurate global analysis the author
reminds us that under the Allied bombs were not only German targets but real people, real
villages, real cities. And the heavy price French civilians have paid to Freedom!" —Paul Le
Trevier, French historian, expert in Allied bombing over Normandy

Stephen A. Bourque obtained his PhD at Georgia State University and taught history at several
military and civilian schools and universities, including the School of Advanced Military
Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, where he is professor emeritus.

NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS | Publication date: 15 April 2018
World War II |14 b&w illustrations | 3 maps | 376 pp.
Hardcover & eBook: $34.95
ISBN: 978-1-61251-873-2

At bookstores, online
or direct: In Canada: International:
Customer Service SCHOLARLY BOOK SERVICE EUROSPAN GROUP
NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS 800-847-9736 Tele: 1767 604972
800-233-8764/410-268-6110 www.sbookscan.com www.eurospanbookstore.com
www.usni.org

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