Operation Overlord: Shaef (44) 22, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, [Eisenhower] memo dated 10 March 1944

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Lot 195
Operation Overlord: Shaef (44) 22, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, [Eisenhower] memo dated 10 March 1944

US$ 3,000 - 5,000
£ 2,400 - 3,900

World War II

5 Jun 2014, 10:00 EDT

New York

Operation Overlord: Shaef (44) 22, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, [Eisenhower] memo dated 10 March 1944
A 7 pp secret document from Eisenhower to the British Commanding Officers Ramsay (Navy), Montgomery (Army),and Leigh-Mallory (Airforce), outlining briefly, the change in plans for Operation Overlord, comprising 3 pp text 3 pp tables and a folded map at the end, marked in red at top and bottom of the page "U.S. SECRET EQUALS BRITISH MOST SECRET," copy no on the first page left blank, all sheets with binder holes at right margin, original BIGOT MOST SECRET file cover, with special instruction that "to be kept under lock and key," the cover with file markings "21 AGP/00/209/2/4 OPS (B)," green tie to file.

Provenance: The War Museum

An important update to the process that was Operation Overlord (the invasion of Normandy), dated 10th March 1944 issued from Eisenhower's HQ to the British Chiefs of staff organizing the landings in Normandy. Amongst other things the document notes first that plans Cossac 43 and 44 are cancelled, presenting this as the new plan, target date to be 31st May 1944 (rather than May 1), with tables with an "Estimate of landing ships and craft available" for the assault, "Estimate of land forces available on 31st May 1944," and including an operations map for part of the British sector of the Normandy coastline.

The process of planning one of the largest military assaults in military history had been a slow one. First meetings occurred in May 1943, under a British general, but in August 1943, with the greater participation of American forces, Eisenhower took over as Supreme Commander, putting Montgomery in as Head of all Landing Forces. On December 31st Eisenhower and Montgomery saw the first COSSAC plan with just 3 divisions, but both insisted that an extra 2 divisions be added, knowing it would take time. By the spring of 1944 the pace of organizing this operation picked up, more troops poured into England, and the date moved forward from the beginning of May to May 31st (subsequently delayed again to June 6th, because of weather). Eventually 39 Allied divisions were involved in the landings, 22 American, 12 British, 3 Canadian, one Polish, one French. Over one million men assembled, transported, and supplied, for this most ambitious invasion.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    - The War Museum
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