When the British and Canadians landed in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, they were accompanied by specialized armored vehicles that had the job of removing German obstacles and mines from the invasion beaches. Developed by the Royal Engineers and known as Hobart's Funnies, these unique tanks featured ingenious innovations--ranging from a giant 290-millimeter mortar to carpet-laying and bridge-laying devices--to support their mission on D-Day and after. Covering both the technical development of these engineer vehicles and their combat deployment, military historian Richard C. Anderson Jr. gives a minute-by-minute account of D-Day's early hours on Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches--the critical moments when the success of the invasion hinged on whether the assault engineers could clear a path through a minefield or breach the seawall under withering fire from entrenched German positions. Landing craft sank, vehicles bogged down, but the men and their vehicles blasted their way forward and contributed to Allied victory. Anderson also describes D-Day as it unfolded on Omaha and Utah Beaches, where U.S. troops, despite being offered the special vehicles, stormed ashore without them. Carefully comparing the American and Commonwealth beaches--from the quality and quantity of German defenses on each beach to the number of Allied soldiers making the landing--Anderson assesses the performance of the vehicles and determines the nature of their impact on D-Day's successes and failures. Painstakingly researched and impressively detailed, Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall offers a refreshing perspective on the familiar events of June 6, 1944, while also standing as a testament to the courage and resolve of individual soldiers, whatever their equipment.