Randy L Harvey reviews the book, Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944 from Osprey Publishing by author Steven J. Zaloga and illustrator Adam Hook.


** Amphibious landings were an essential tool of Allied military strategy in World War II. The Royal Navy and the US Navy provided operational mobility that allowed the Allies to strike unexpectedly across the vast coastlines of the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Nazi Germany did not have sufficient naval power to seriously contest this, and consequently relied heavily on the huge and costly Atlantic Wall fortification programme. By 1944, the French coast featured more than 1,900 coastal guns over 75mm in calibre.

In this study, military historian Steven J. Zaloga explores the clash between Batterie Hamburg (defending Cherbourg) and the Allied naval bombardment group led by the battleship USS Texas on 25 June 1944.  He also examines the evolution of Allied naval doctrine, which was based on experiences in successive amphibious operations, and which enabled the Allies to successfully overcome the coastal gun threat.  Illustrated with over 50 photographs, stunning artworks of the opposing weaponry and detailed maps, this is a fascinating exploration of a key episode during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. **  

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.  


Osprey Publications has released Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944 as Number 128 in the Duel series. It is an 80-page soft cover book, 7 x 10 inches in size.  Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, color illustrations, color maps, detailed captions and more. It has a 2023 copyright, a publication date of September 26, 2023, and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-5415-5.  


- Introduction

- Chronology

- Design and Development

- The Combatants

- The Strategic Situation

- Combat

- Analysis

- Aftermath

- Bibliography

- Index


Author Steven J. Zaloga provides a well written and informative text detailing the combat actions between allied ships and German gun emplacements during World War II.  Author Zaloga details things such as lessons learned during World War I and the early stages of World War II, also detailed are subjects such as American and British naval operations, US battleship fire controls, the names of the German gun batteries and the types of weapons installed as well as their actions during combat, damage caused by allied ship operations and damage caused by the German gun batteries, military operations that were part of the Normandy attacks including Operation Overlord, Operation Neptune, and Operation Flashlamp, and military operations discussed in addition to the Atlantic actions including Operation Husky (Sicily), Operation Torch (French North Africa), Operation Dragoon (southern France) and Operation Corkscrew (Italian island of Pantelleria) and the actions taken during them and the end results and much, much more.  In addition to his own words Steven J. Zaloga has also provided quotes from official reports, the USS O’Brien ship’s log, official studies, and after-action reports.  The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.  Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.  Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on combat actions between allied ships and German gun emplacements of the Atlantic Wall during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this informative and interesting book.    


A total of 44 black and white and 10 color vintage and current photographs are included in this volume.  The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs.  They contain a combination of in-action photographs, photographs removed from motion pictures to photographs that have been staged for the photographer.  The photographs include subjects such as allied warships, various axis guns and casemates, interior shots of allied ships, aerial views of gun emplacements and battle damage to them, fire control/aiming devices of German guns, battle damage on the USS Texas, German and allied troops, US naval personnel, and more.  The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable; however, a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light.  This is typical for the discussed period of history and the quality of some of the photographs is no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book.  Author Steven J. Zaloga stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book.  The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in combat actions between allied ships and German gun emplacements of the Atlantic Wall during World War II due to the details they contain.  


There are 7 color illustrations included in the volume by illustrator Adam Hook.  The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:

Plate A

Batterie Hamburg Geschützschartenstand Für 240mm SK L/40-Sonderkonkonstruktion

- Front, profile and plan views of the German 240mm batterie accompanied by a well detailed caption.

Plate B

Regelbau M 178 Leitstand (Fire Control Bunker)

- Front, profile and plan views of the fire control bunker accompanied by a well detailed caption.

Plate C

USS Texas (BB-35)

- Starboard side profile and overhead plan views of the USS Texas (BB-35) accompanied by a well detailed caption.

Plate D

14in. 45Cal Two-Gun Turret, USS Texas

- Right side profile cut-a-way view of the two-gun turret accompanied by a well detailed caption.

Plate E

US Navy 14in. Ammunition

- Side view and cut-a-way views of a 14in. Armour Piercing Mark 20 Mod 1 round and a 14in. High-Capacity Mark 19 Mods 1-6 round.

Plate F

USS Texas at Omaha Beach on D-Day

- A two-page action illustration showing the USS Texas providing fire support during the Operation Neptune landings.  The illustration is accompanied by a well detailed caption on the following page.

Plate G

Kriegsmarine 240mm Ammunition

- Side view and cut-a-way views of a 240mm Panzergranate L/2.6mBdz (armour piercing with base fuse) round and a 240mm Sprengranate L/4.2 Bdz u. Kz (m.Hb) umg (high-explosive with base and nose fuses; modified) round.


The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown.  The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific type of weapon shown and their caliber, naval ship names,  names and locations of the gun emplacements shown, specific targets the guns are firing at, the codenames of specific military operations, battle damage shown what it was caused by, the names of cities, the names of specific individuals and military rank, equipment shown, dates, and other such pertinent information.  As I read through the captions, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.  I was impressed by Steven J. Zaloga’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.   


There are 2 maps included in this volume:

- Batterie Hamburg

- Gun Duel Off Cherbourg, 25 June 1944


There are 6 informational charts included in this volume and they provide information on the following:

- Table 1: Atlantikwall Artillery by Sector and Calibre

- Table 2: German Artillery Defences Near D-Day Beaches 6 June 1944

- Table 3: Bombing Attacks Against Primary Neptune Coastal Batteries

- Table 4: Trailmate: Task Group 129.2 Composition

- Table 5: German Gun Batteries Targeted Under Op Plan #7-44

- Table 6: US Navy Ammunition Expenditure on 25 June 1944


There are 3 individuals profiled in this volume, and they are:

- Vice Admiral Carleton F. Bryant

- Captain Charles A. Baker

- Oberleutant Der Marine-Artillerie Der Reserve Rudi Glebhaar


 There are 4 notes included in this volume and they are:

- Artist’s note

- Author’s note

- Glossary/acronyms

- A note on measure (Metric to Imperial conversions)

Osprey Publishing also offers Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944 electronically as:

eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4728- 5413-1


Ebook (Epub & Mobi) ISBN: 978-1-4728- 5416-2

Osprey Publishing’s,   Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944 is also available as an electronic Kindle version through Amazon.com. 


UK £15.99 / US $23.00 / CAN $31.00 


This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing.  Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase.  Thank you.



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