Pegasus Bridge is a bascule bridge (a type of movable bridge), built in 1934, that crosses the Caen Canal, between Caen and Ouistreham, in Normandy, France. Also known as the Bénouville Bridge after the neighboring village, it was, with the nearby Ranville Bridge over the river Orne, a major objective of Operation Tonga in the opening minutes of the invasion of Normandy. A glider borne unit of the British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard was to land, take the bridges intact and hold them until relieved. The successful taking of the bridges played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the invasion. In 1944 it was renamed Pegasus Bridge in honor of the operation. The name is derived from the shoulder emblem worn by the British airborne forces, which is the flying horse Pegasus. On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men, led by Major John Howard, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, southern England in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and also "Horsa Bridge", a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River. The force included elements of B and D Companies, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a platoon of B Company, Royal Engineers, and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. The object of this action was to prevent German armor from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach. Five of the Ox and Bucks' gliders landed as close as 47 yards from their objectives from 16 minutes past midnight. The attackers poured out of their battered gliders, completely surprising the German defenders, and took the bridges within 10 minutes. They lost two men in the process, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance-Corporal Fred Greenhalgh.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released "Pegasus Bridge Benouville D-Day 1944" as Number 11 in their Raid series. It is a paperback book with 64 pages. Included with the text are color and black and white photographs, color illustrations, color maps and detailed captions. It has a 2010 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84603-848-8. The book examines the planning, the execution and the success of the raid to capture Pegasus Bridge.
The table of contents
The text in the book is well written and extremely detailed. I didn’t notice and spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the book. Zaloga covers the planning, the execution and the success of the raid very well. It is obvious that the author has gone to great lengths to research Pegasus Bridge, its importance during D-day, the planning and execution of the raid to capture the bridge and provides a very well written and accurate history of the raid. Anyone interested in D-day, British airborne troops and the raid to capture Pegasus Bridge will find this book very informative and interesting.
There are color and black and white photographs throughout the book. They are nice and clear with a few exceptions. Some of the older period black and white photographs have a blurry look to them and some appear to be a little too dark. However this does not take anything away from the book.
The color prints
The illustrations by illustrators Johnny Shumate and Mariusz Kozik are well done and cover the raid very well. They have also included illustrations of a Horsa glider, a British glider pilot and a British airborne soldier and other areas of interest such as maps and an action scene.
The captions are well written and even though they can be brief at times they are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.
All in all I am very impressed with the book. It details the planning, the execution and the success of the raid to capture Pegasus Bridge very well. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.