Assault on Normandy – Review by Phil Hodges

Here we have another DVD in the Assault on Normandy range from our friends at Pen &Sword.This film as the title suggests focuses on the 2nd Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc and the somewhat ill-fated assault there seventy years ago this very week during the D-Day landings.

The assault itself is well documented enough and most, if not all, with a knowledge or interest in the D-Day landings will know the basics of the assault so the question I was left to ask was…..why?Why make yet another documentary without supplying anything new?I’m guessing, after viewing the documentary that the simple answer to that is passion – for the subject and a passion for history.

I was left in no doubt at all that the four contributors to this documentary are, if nothing else, enthusiastic enough for the task, but do they bring anything new to the table? Well, not really. There is quite a chaotic mix of locations and the film flicks back and fourth from one presenter to another for no obvious reason. It’s as if everyone wants camera time and unfortunately this only adds to a confusing and cluttered programme. That said, it is informative at times, has clear maps and graphics and loads of period photographs and stock footage but without sounding too offensive its at a Schools Level so not one for the connoisseur or die hard history buff.

Of note was the inclusion of a re-enactor or ‘human mannequin’ showing off the various pieces of kit , uniform and equipment used by the GIs during the assault.  I thought this was highly original and an obvious yet often overlooked source of information. My only criticism is the equipment used was of the poorest quality reproduction kit and the guy’s haircut was anything but period. This plus the fact he clearly didn’t look remotely interested in what he was doing spoiled what could have been a refreshing change. Such a shame when there are so many living historians out there who would have given their eye teeth for such a chance to show off their kit, most of it original. Still, criticism aside, if you want a basic insight into the struggle at Pointe Du Hoc then this could be what you’re looking for.

Personally, I’d watch the dozens of documentaries available for free on the History channel.

Pointe Du Hoc taken?

Review by Phil Hodges for War History Online

Pen and Sword Military
90 Mins Running Time
ISBN 024762041-6

Phil Hodges

Phil Hodges is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE