The True Stories of the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Missions behind D-Day

  • Subject: World War II
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    May 1, 2019
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.5 × 7.3 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    51 oz
Hardcover $46.95
Member Price $37.56 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Operation OVERLORD, the opening up of an Allied second front by the invasion of the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944, was the largest military invasion of all time but it was preceded by years of industrial-scale intelligence collection and dangerous clandestine reconnaissance missions off the French coast.

Vanguard is the untold story of this work, the intelligence machine and covert reconnaissance missions that went into the D-Day planning, such as the signals intelligence intercepts, the agent running operations orchestrated by the 15th Flotilla, to the secret work of the X-Craft and COPP (Combined Operations Pilotage Parties) diver teams that scoured the Normandy coast months before the June 1944 deadline.

Editorial Reviews

“Vice Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger (a Royal Marine himself), describes Vanguard as an ‘invaluable case study for the modern practioner as an excellent historical account for anyone wanting to understand the Allies’ military success on D-Day.’ Fair comment.” —Warships: International Fleet Review
“For those interested in the story of D-Day Vanguard offers an unprecedented and densely-packed look at the different activities that went into launching D-Day, one rarely discussed in more conventional histories of the event.” —The Daily News
“Former Royal Marine Commando, author and lecturer Abrutat, author of several works on intelligence and special operations, has written an impressive book which adds greatly to public awareness of the Allied intelligence, deception, espionage, and cover planning for D-Day…. Vanguard is a good addition to the literature on the information side of the war in Europe.” —StategyPage
“I commend David Abrutat’s book to those who have a keen interest in the subject matter. As with those who prepared for D-Day, he has clearly invested a great deal of time and effort in his research. [This book] is difficult to put down when you get into your stride.” —The Naval Review
“The book includes many wonderful wartime photographs, both of individuals, facilities, and equipment, as well as charts and sketches, plus a few facsimiles of key documents. There is also a very useful list of acronyms and abbreviations. The book is printed on very heavy, glossy stock, so it will hold up well as a volume to dip into and study the contributions made by many different kinds of specialists who enabled victory on D-Day.” —The Journal of America’s Military Past
Vanguard is a worthwhile read. Abrutat highlights fascinating primary source documents and subject interviews that might otherwise never see the light of day. His enthusiasm for the subject and deep respect for the individuals involved is palpable.” —Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence