February 3, 2006 World War II Situation Maps Available Online
Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
A new online presentation from the Library, “World War II Military Situation Maps,” documents troop positions from June 6, 1944, to July 26, 1945. The presentation is available at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/maps/wwii/ and is one of more than 135 thematic presentations in the American Memory Web site.
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 toward Germany. Some of the sheets are accompanied by a declassified "G-3 Report" giving detailed information on troop positions for the period March 3 through July 26, 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.
The collection provides interesting insights into U.S. Army operations in northwestern Europe during World War II. 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 12th 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 frontline. Even the casual browser’s eye can identify significant battles by the concentrations of unit symbols on the maps.
However, the situation maps have greater significance beyond their use as an easily interpreted display of the Western Front operations during World War II. 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, Gen. Omar N. Bradley, and his planning staff during the campaign. Users can zoom in on these digitized maps and view details not easily seen with the naked eye.
“World War II Military Situation Maps” joins the American Memory (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/) collections of more than 10.5 million items. This Web site’s presentations range from the papers of U.S. presidents, Civil War photographs and early films of Thomas Edison to papers documenting the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements, Jazz Age photographs and the first baseball cards. The materials are drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress and other major repositories.