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Operation Totalize – Battleground Normandy

Pen & Sword Military

by Tim Saunders

Reviewed by Al Bowie



Pen & Sword Military
Operation Totalize – Battleground Normandy
by Tim Saunders


978 1 52674 126 4

Media and Contents:

Soft cover; 276 pages with B&W photos and historical text


GBP£14.99 plus shipping available online from Pen & Sword's website

Review Type:

First Read


A treasure trove of information; excellent photos and illustrations; thoroughly researched and easy to follow.


None noted.


Highly Recommended



In late July 1944 after a month of hard fighting against the cream of the German Panzer Divisions, the British 2nd Army committed to battle in Normandy were still being held in the north by the vast majority of German armour and infantry and Montgomery under pressure from Eisenhower and more importantly the press need to breakout as the US forces had done during Operation Cobra against a far smaller opponent.



Unlike the US forces that continued to grow the British Army had peaked and manpower issues were becoming critical effecting how each battle could be fought. The Canadians who had landed on D-Day and fought their way through past Caen were now joined by the rest of their forces and formed the Anglo /Canadian First Canadian Army which was tasked to Breakout to the South and encircle the still Substantial German forces in Normandy with the aim of their annihilation or surrender. General Simonds after seeing how the Germans defended against armour during the previous operations Goodwood and Perch needed to come up with a way to negate there long range Anti-Tank defence and devised the novel plan of an attack at Night which was not the done thing with armour as the tanks of 1944 were hardly equipped to fight in the dark. Operation Totalize introduced the heavy tank/AFV based APC using converted M7 SPG’s to carry the infantry forward with the tanks under protection of their heavier Armour. His novel ideas proved to be successful but like a lot of campaigns in Normandy the enemy reacted quickly and prevented the exploitation of the break in. 



This title in the excellent Battleground series examines the operation in detail and gives a complete narration of the Operation including its background, execution and aftermath. It has been presented with many excellent supporting photos and maps of the campaign including a present day guide to the battlefields and memorials. I have many titles from this range in my Library and find them invaluable reference due to their detailed day to day, hour by hour descriptions of the battles and the units and sub units involved. I have found these invaluable in research due to the detail contained within and thoroughly recommend them.   



This book is 276 pages in paperback format printed on high quality glossy paper with numerous high quality images in black and white. The book has approximately 10 Chapters plus Appendixes:

•           Introduction
•           Chapter  1       – Campaign Background
•           Chapter  2       – operation Spring – 3rd Canadian Div at Tilly
•           Chapter  3       – II Canadian Corps’ TOTALIZE Plan
•           Chapter  4       – The 51st Highland Division – Armoured Advance
•           Chapter  5       – The 2nd Canadian Division  - Armoured Advance
•           Chapter  6       – The Bypassed Villages
•           Chapter  7       – The Morning of 8 Aug 1944
•           Chapter  8       – The Armoured Advance
•           Chapter  9       – The second Day of TOTALIZE
•           Chapter  10     – The End of TOTALIZE
•           Appendix I      - Order of Battle
•           Appendix II     - Battlefield Tours of Operation TOTALIZE
•           Appendix III   - SS Ranks and their Allied Equivalent
•           Index

This book is a fantastic treasure trove of information on Operation Totalize and how the Normandy campaign was fought by the British and Canadians. It is aimed at a broad range of readers and I would recommend this to serious students of the AFV/MBT, armoured warfare, historians, battlefield archaeologists and even modellers. This is thoroughly researched and high quality information presented in an easy to follow style backed by graphics, maps and images. For the price it is an absolute bargain and I would rate this as one of the must read titles on The Canadian Army in North West Europe and armoured warfare in WWII. I cannot recommend this enough due to the high quality of material within. I will continue to be adding a lot more of this range to my library

Review sample supplied by Pen & Sword