The Allied landings in Sicily, Anzio, Normandy and Provence are well known today. But there are also those that never took place. The fall of France and the British Expeditionary Force’s retreat to Dunkirk, followed by its evacuation thanks to a rather disparate fleet, may have led the German High Command to think that a quick landing on British beaches was possible (Operation Sea Lion).
For their part, some Allied plans to liberate Europe were abandoned, for example because of strategic developments – such as Churchill’s plan for a landing in the Balkans in 1943. Some Allied plans also turned out to be deception stratagems to convince the enemy that the Allied invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais (Operation Fortitude / Operation Quicksilver) or in Norway (Operation Skye), or that the German code had not been broken. The real landing of 6 June 1944 was preceded by failures, through raids-such as on Dieppe, or ill-fated large-scale rehearsals, such as Operation Tiger on Slapton Sands in Devon.
All these preparations required planning and the implementation of combined operations involving land, sea and air units. The difficulty, or the challenge for the attacker being to cross the sea so as to set foot on enemy territory.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-day Landing, ULCO (Université du Littoral & de la Côte d’Opale) will welcome an interdisciplinary conference on those themes on 27 and 28 November 2014. The chosen location, Boulogne-sur-mer, matches the theme as it was where from 1803 to 1805 part of the Army of the Ocean Coasts gathered and trained for Napoleon’s aborted invasion of England.
The conference aims to address, from the Allied and the German sides, how the aforementioned ghost landings and preparations contributed to the success of the landings in Normandy and in Provence in 1944.
What kind of images and representations did they also give birth to? How were they reflected in cultural media, and more particularly, how were they portrayed in literature and film? For example these themes appeared in novels like Fortitude, which then became a feature film, or in The Eye of the Needle, which also became a film, in documentaries, for example Operation Tiger, or in television series such as Foyle's War.
Proposals in French or in English (with a title and an abstract of about 300 words), as well as a short biography, should be sent by 30 January 2014 to Xavier Boniface at [email protected] and Nathalie Dupont at [email protected].