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After D-Day: Operation Cobra and the Normandy Breakout

James Jay Carafano
After D-Day: Operation Cobra and the Normandy Breakout
ISBN: 978-1- 55587-885-6
2000/295 pages
The Art of War
"Well researched and authoritative ... recommended for use by general readers as well as military historians."—Canadian Military History

"Lt. Col. Jim Carafano has written a history of Operation Cobra that should be useful to all readers of these pages."—Retired Brig. Gen. Harold Nelson, Army History

"How Cobra came into being and soundly defeated the Germans is James Jay Carafano's story. An active duty lieutenant colonel and history teacher, he tells about Cobra with authority. His descriptions and analyses are straightforward and clear, and his judgements insightful."——Martin Blumenson, Army Magazine

"A wonderful new look at Operation Cobra ... Carafano's treatment provides a challenging approach to the operation."—Maj Michael A. Boden, ARMOR

"A valuable addition to any library on World War II or modern military history."—Steven S. Minniear, The Journal of Military History

"The author refutes previous appraisals of some of America's greatest generals and credits the imaginative leadership and operational flexibility of the junior officers, noncommissioned officers, and individual soldiers for the success of the operation that put the Allies on the road to Berlin.... This readable and revealing book is a must for any student of World War II and military history desiring an unbiased appraisal of the actions that changed the course of the Normandy campaign."—Parameters

"An excellent step-by-step analysis of Operation Cobra, the code name for Allied breakout from the attrition-style battles in Normandy."—Choice

"This is an excellent book.... Highly recommended."—Stone and Stone

"After D-Day is a great study of combined arms warfare, ... a significant contribution to the body of works on leadership and warfare in general, and World War II, in particular."—LTC Frank J. Stiltman, Field Artillery Journal

"The most thoroughly researched and detailed operational analysis of Cobra yet."—Lt. Col. John A. English, Naval War College


In Operation Cobra, six US divisions during six dramatic days in Normandy ended the stalemate on the western front, breaking through German defenses after seven weeks of grueling attrition warfare. After D-Day examines the experiences of U.S. soldiers in the July 25-30, 1944, Normandy campaign: their mistakes, hardships, and fears, as well as their leadership, courage, and determination.

Drawing on original archival sources, Carafano argues that previous accounts of Operation Cobra are flawed. Standard explanations of its success—the force of air power, innovative tactics, superior logistics, the inestimable value of "citizen soldiers," hedgerow busting "rhino" tanks—are in fact myths. And serious mistakes were made: one of the most famous US generals, Omar Bradley, ordered strategic bombing close to US lines, a decision that led to the killing and maiming of hundreds of US soldiers by "friendly fire." Nonetheless, Carafano demonstrates, operational flexibility—the ability of commanders to exercise effective combat leadership and take advantage of troop strengths and material advantages—resulted in Allied victory.


James Jay Carafano is vice president of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, as well as E. W. Richardson Fellow, at the Heritage Foundation. His previous publications include G.I. Ingenuity: Improvisation, Technology and Winning World War II;  Waltzing Into the Cold War; and After D-Day.


  • The Beaten Path.
  • The Darkening Sky.
  • Living in Hell.
  • A Measure of Power.
  • The Essence of Decisions.
  • The Firepower War.
  • Taking the High Ground.
  • Beyond the Field of White Crosses.
  • One Tired Division.
  • A CLASH OF ARMOR: 26-30 JULY 1944.
  • A Scheme of Maneuver.
  • A Tank Show, at Tank Speed.
  • The Battle Without Fronts.
  • Aftermath.