Original battle maps for the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach

WORLD WAR II   |   Samuel Eliot MORISON

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Item#: 124884 price:$68,000.00 Currently On Reserve.

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AN EXTRAORDINARY OFFERING OF ARGUABLY SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS IN WORLD WAR II HISTORY: FOUR ORIGINAL “TOP SECRET” D-DAY BATTLE MAPS FOR THE LANDING AT OMAHA BEACH, ANNOTATED BY ROOSEVELT’S SENIOR MAP ROOM OFFICER AND USED FOR THE INVASION

WORLD WAR II. Original battle maps for the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, with pencil notations of intelligence as of May 30, 1944. No place: No publisher, 1944. Four large original color maps of Omaha Beach, one measuring 42-1/2 by 16 inches, and three measuring 20 by 26 inches. Housed in a custom cloth portfolio. $68,000.

Four extraordinary annotated original battle maps for the American landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day, with pencil notations of actual landing sites (as opposed to planned sites), and the latest strategic intelligence on targeted German strong-holds (in red pencil), made by Roosevelt’s senior Map Room officer stationed on the U.S.S. Ancon off Normandy Beach.

"Our long months of preparation and planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history ended on D-Day, June 6, 1944… As dawn came, the ships, great and small, began to file into their prearranged positions… There was no doubt that we had achieved a tactical surprise… As soon as the foremost infantry got ashore they dashed forward towards their objectives, and in every case except one made good progress. On 'Omaha' beach, the 5th American Corps ran into severe resistance… Our Allies had a very stiff fight all day to make any lodgment at all, and it was not until the 7th that, after losing several thousand men, they were able to force their way inland" (Churchill). These four large strategic battle maps of Omaha Beach were actually used by Naval Lieutenant George M. Elsey (former graduate student of Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison and duty officer of President Franklin Roosevelt's White House Map Room), who had been ordered to Normandy on assignment to provide an eye-witness account of the allied invasion for Morison's proposed History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (1948). On D-Day, Lieutenant Elsey was on duty with the intelligence staff of Assault Force O aboard the U.S.S. Ancon. "The task of Assault Force O was to land assigned elements of the V Corps U.S. Army, in the Vierville-Colleville Sector of the coast of Normandy, and to support the landing and subsequent Army operations by Naval gunfire" (Admiral J.L. Hall). Elsey and his colleagues were responsible for correlating information from a variety of sources regarding the build-up of German defenses along the Normandy beaches and making strategic notations on these very maps. Key targets were penciled in red. The most up-to-date intelligence on German strongholds was then conveyed to naval bombardment personnel. One map depicts the length of Omaha Beach, with actual landing sites and known German defenses. The other three maps show inland details of the environs of three French villages, St. Pierre-du-Mont, Vierville-sur-Mer, and Colleville-sur-Mer, with German fortifications indicated in red pencil. Each is designated "Top Secret—Bigot," which indicated the highest security clearance, to be maintained "until departure for combat operations." "Top Secret—Bigot" indicated that the information could be passed only to persons entitled to know the exact time and place of Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. After the war, George Elsey joined the civilian staff of the White House, but was recalled briefly to active duty in order to prepare preliminary drafts (referring to these maps) for Morison's History. He later became a key foreign policy aide to President Truman, and together with Truman's special assistant Clark Clifford, helped formulate the Clifford-Elsey report, a seminal analysis of Soviet expansionism that helped solidify U.S. Cold War policy and contribute to the development of the Truman Doctrine.

Minor creases and a few small marginal tears. Fold lines crisp and unbroken. An extraordinary collection of primary source materials of enormous historical significance and superb provenance, the maps being in Elsey's possession until this time.

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