Eighty years on, the planning of Operation Neptune remains awesome

In December last year, the last surviving D-Day veteran of my old regiment, the 13th/18th Royal Hussars, died peacefully in his care home. On 6 June 1944, 20-year-old Trooper Lawrence Burn had been the gunner in a specially adapted Sherman tank which, along with others of the regiment, had driven down the ramps of their landing craft 5,000 yards off Sword Beach and swum for almost an hour through the high swell to land a few minutes ahead of the assaulting infantry in order to suppress the defenders’ fire. Years later, Burn was still in awe of the scale and execution of the Normandy landings: ‘I don’t know who planned

A very British coup: SBS – Silent Warriors reviewed

The vast majority of the British public, and even military historians, have never heard of them. COPPists — a combination of naval navigators and submariners with SBS (Special Boat Service) swimmers — played a key role in the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Europe. Admiral Ramsay, the architect of the naval element, said: ‘On their operations depended to a very great extent the final success of Operation Overlord.’ Who were these people, and what exactly did they do? Saul David provides the answers in a detailed analysis of the development of seaborne special forces formed in Britain’s darkest hour to take the offensive against the