Maps Of World War One

December 27, 2015
Map

This collection contains maps showing troop positions beginning on June 6, 1944 to July 26, 1945. Starting with the D-Day Invasion, the maps give daily details on the military campaigns in Western Europe, showing the progress of the Allied Forces as they push towards Germany. Some of the sheets are accompanied by a declassified "G-3 Report" giving detailed information on troop positions for the period 3 Mar. 1945-26 July 1945. These maps and reports were used by the commanders of the United States forces in their evaluation of the campaigns and for planning future strategies.

The collection consists of 416 printed maps and 115 reports, the originals of which reside in the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division.

Detail of a map of the Twelfth Army Group on June 6, 1944.

The Twelfth Army Group Situation Map collection provides interesting insights into U.S. Army operations in northwestern Europe during World War Two. The collection covers the time from the June 6th, 1944 Allied landings in Normandy to the Allied occupation in July 1945. Each map is a cartographic snapshot that preserves the day by day disposition of Allied and Axis forces as understood by the operations staff (G-3) of the First United States Army Group (FUSAG), and later the Twelfth Army Group. Researchers browsing through the maps can easily follow the Western Allies' progress in Europe through the movements of the unit symbols and the front line. Even the casual browser's eye can identify significant battles by the concentrations of unit symbols on the maps. However, the situation map collection has greater significance beyond their use as an easily interpreted display of the Western Front operations during World War Two.

In addition to providing the general scope of the campaign, the situation maps specifically provide excellent primary source information that reflects the incomplete and inaccurate information available to the operational commander, General Omar N. Bradley, and his planning staff during the campaign. In contrast, official and academic histories written after the fact reconstruct the historic disposition of forces by using additional sources not available to the participants during the events. These post-facto reconstructions lift the fog of war and give today's reader the power of omniscience not available to the commanders during the campaign. Any historian commenting on a commander's past plans and decisions must use sources contemporary to the commander's decision making process, such as these situation maps, rather than relying on enhanced reconstructions.

General Omar Bradley

Although the most important and easily recognized information depicted on the map is the black overprint of the unit locations, there is other significant information including operational area boundaries between U.S., British, Canadian, and Free French forces, boxes showing Axis units believed to be in transit to Northern France, boxes listing unlocated units, and the addition of a red overprint showing the German states and pre-war national boundaries that was added after the armistice. Also after the armistice, a stop line between the Western Allies and the Soviet forces was added. Interestingly, the stop line was not static after the armistice and minor adjustments were made in the line between U.S. and Soviet forces in the Austrian area.

Source: www.loc.gov
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