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D-Day Invasion officer's intelligence booklet

Started by captaxe , Oct 22 2009 12:59 PM

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#1 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 12:59 PM

Writing in "Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II," 3rd Armored Division officer Belton Cooper, who would land several weeks after D-Day, commented that "great lengths were taken to attend to the most minute details. A small booklet entitled "Invade Mecum" (invade with me) was given to platoon leaders before the D-day invasion. It contained detailed drawings of every hamlet in the Normandy area, with the location of major buildings in the village, such as the mayor's home, city hall, the public utility building and the telephone exchange; in some cases it even gave the names of the mayor and director of utilities. The booklets proved an invaluable source of information to the combat troops"

I was lucky enough to pick up volume 4 of Invade Mecum (believe there were a total of 4 or 5 volumes??)-- it covers Manche (Insigny, Avranches, Utah Bech area and the Cotentin Peninsula/ Cherbourg) along with most of the major combat areas of the 1st and 3rd Armies during Normandy and the breakout.

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#2 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:00 PM

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#3 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:02 PM

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#4 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:03 PM

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#5 J_Andrews

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:09 PM

It sure looks familiar. I sold one -- perhaps THIS one -- at the Richmond show in August.

Would you like Volume 3 for Brittany? It has stapled cardboard covers, no waterproof outer.

#6 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 01:18 PM

PM'ing you

#7 Chris_B

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 02:14 PM

:o What an item! Can you give an idea of how dearly such a thing would cost me should I stumble on one?

#8 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 02:26 PM

:o What an item! Can you give an idea of how dearly such a thing would cost me should I stumble on one?



Chris- I paid just under $150 for mine-- I think I got pretty lucky.

J Andrews notes that he sold one at the Richmond show-- J-- what did it sell for?

#9 J_Andrews

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 06:29 PM

The one I sold was snapped up just before the doors opened to the public -- by a dealer or a delaer's helper -- for either $50 or $60. He passed up Vol. 3 on Brittany, because it did not say "NORMANDY".

#10 OD MAN

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 06:36 PM

Never heard of these books, thanks for posting. :)

#11 gwb123

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 06:42 PM

You know, its funny how the more things change, the more the stay the same.

When I was in Germany in the 1980's, we had mission books that were maintained by our S-2. They were binders that showed where we were supposed to move in case the balloon went up. They had maps, routes, photos, and sketches of the towns and facilities we were supposed to occupy. (We were a division maintenance battalion.) They also had the same information on our fall back position, assuming any part of the unit was left after the first three waves of the Warsaw Pact had rolled over us.

As I recall, these were maintained for each company, but once issued they might have broken down to the platoon level.

Now get this... I was not shown these until I had been in country for a year and a half! Thinking about it later, our good S-2 was a bit lax in his duty. Every officer in the battalion should have been briefed on their part of the mission within a month of being there. In any case, I was a bit shocked to find out just how close we were to the Fulda Gap. It would not have been a good time.

Neat item that you have.

#12 J_Andrews

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 06:48 PM

It should be noted that these are BRITISH products. They were sized to fit into the thigh pocket on Battle Dress trousers.

And in a display of British wit, the title is taken from the Latin terminology for a tour guide (in pre-war civilian life), which was "Vade Mecum" (Come with me).

#13 captaxe

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:34 PM

It should be noted that these are BRITISH products. They were sized to fit into the thigh pocket on Battle Dress trousers.

And in a display of British wit, the title is taken from the Latin terminology for a tour guide (in pre-war civilian life), which was "Vade Mecum" (Come with me).



Yes-- very good point-- these were produced by the British for all invasion forces. On the first page of the volume I pictured (on the bottom, which is cut out of my post), there is a paragraph headed "Notes for American Users", which then goes on to helpfully explain American versions of British terms used in the book:

Abbatoir= Slaughterhouse
Engine Shed=Roundhouse
Marshalling Yards=Switching Yards
Metalled Roads=Paved Roads
Revetted=Reinforced by timber, wire, etc

Edited by captaxe, 22 October 2009 - 08:34 PM.


#14 Packhow75

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:18 AM

Yes-- very good point-- these were produced by the British for all invasion forces.


I have some of this series - from memory PAS DE CALAIS - perhaps Vol 1.

When I get a chance of Christmas I'll see if I can dig some of them out and give you a list... and perhaps some photos.

Tim

#15 Packhow75

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 03:18 PM

I have some of this series - from memory PAS DE CALAIS - perhaps Vol 1.

When I get a chance of Christmas I'll see if I can dig some of them out and give you a list... and perhaps some photos.

Tim


Dug them out... Vol 3 (unbound) - photo attached... also included "Thoughway Town Plans".

Tim

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#16 Packhow75

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 03:20 PM

Throughway Town Plans are just books of town plans with aerial photos... sample of Le Mans.


Tim

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  • Invade_Mecum_2.jpg


#17 captaxe

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 11:21 AM

Scott Kraska has one available (Vol. 4- American Sector) for $675, if anyone wants to part with that kinda ching!

#18 arclight

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 11:33 AM

I got one thru Alibris several years ago for a paltry sum, practically unused. Looks like I did well. Guess at these prices, I won't be getting any more. I always thought it was really neat and am still amazed at all the details in it.
G

#19 Blake_E

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 05:00 PM

I have never seen one of those, talk about scarce!

#20 henry2

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 04:44 PM

You know, its funny how the more things change, the more the stay the same.

When I was in Germany in the 1980's, we had mission books that were maintained by our S-2. They were binders that showed where we were supposed to move in case the balloon went up. They had maps, routes, photos, and sketches of the towns and facilities we were supposed to occupy. (We were a division maintenance battalion.) They also had the same information on our fall back position, assuming any part of the unit was left after the first three waves of the Warsaw Pact had rolled over us.

As I recall, these were maintained for each company, but once issued they might have broken down to the platoon level.

Now get this... I was not shown these until I had been in country for a year and a half! Thinking about it later, our good S-2 was a bit lax in his duty. Every officer in the battalion should have been briefed on their part of the mission within a month of being there. In any case, I was a bit shocked to find out just how close we were to the Fulda Gap. It would not have been a good time.

Neat item that you have.



i was assign to a unit that was part of the company that dealt with the road control of the forward movement of unit as a m.p company there in the gap for i spoke German and Russian and i was assigned to help with the movement of civil personal away from the battlefield ..i allwasy thought of us as a road bump for the russain army across the gap ..for people could not get into there head how many tanks where waiting across the line for us and i used tell them it better to let them roll over us and then swing up behind them and kick them in the rear with the everything we had ..not intill after the cold war ended did some of the guys really get the idea in there head about how many tanks we where faceing when the wall came down and they got to tour the other side and then saw the massed amounts of the russain armour units on the other side..

Edited by henry2, 31 March 2010 - 04:46 PM.



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