On June 6th 1944, a combined force of American, British and Canadian troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. The Allied invasion of occupied France was a turning point in the war against ... See full summary »
On June 6th 1944, a combined force of American, British and Canadian troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. The Allied invasion of occupied France was a turning point in the war against Hitler's Germany. From a tactical view, Canada's role was limited; strategically, it was pivotal. Canada's infantry and armored regiments were thrown against Germany's elite troops and tank divisions. The price they paid was enormous. Written by
A truly bad "documentary", well discussed in the book The Valour and the Horror Revisited. Suffice to say here that the McKennas have chosed to unfairly depict the Canadian Army in Normandy as criminally incompetent while at the same time painting the soldiers as unwitting victims. Such distractions as historically inaccurate uniforms on the re-enactors who are given screen time, as well as the truly ridiculous recreation of the Verrierres Ridge assault using Canadian Forces personnel circa 1990, do nothing to add to the film. Anyone wanting to gain a true understanding of the events in Normandy is better off consulting the various histories by Stacey, Copp, Roy, et al. Notice also the focus on eastern Canadian regiments; perhaps a coincidence, but then again, western regiments didn't charge themselves to extinction the way the Black Watch did at Verrierres Ridge, either.
The truth is that Canadian generalship in Normandy is a more complex issue than this so-called documentary would suggest. Canadian soldiers by and large were inexperienced, but did the best they could with what they had. While the McKennas are certainly correct about Canadian tanks being inferior to German tanks, nothing is said about the doctrinal and economic issues which led to these tanks being employed - or the fact that the Canadians were using an artillery-based doctrine to rather good effect on the Continent. The McKennas, in other words, have explored certain elements of this period in a vacuum in order to present "evidence" of some type of conspiracy. Viewers are advised strongly to do further research.
Good interviews with veterans of the campaign are the only notable highlight in this seriously disappointing offering. Even the newsreel footage often did not match the narration; sharp eyed viewers will see footage of the Calgary Highlanders on parade while the Black Watch are being discussed.
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