Given that the people who risked their lives and livelihoods, to defeat one of the greatest evils the mind of mankind has ever concocted, are quickly succumbing to old age, it’s important to continue to remember what they did:
today on the anniversary of the Invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944. Here we are now, 68 years later.
18 thoughts on “An Important Anniversary”
They empowered FDR who enabled Stalin. Whoops!
Yes, seriously. FDR was a very bad man who did many very bad things including supporting Stalin by handing him a large chunk of Europe along with many millions of people for him to enslave and murder. There was no reason or need for FDR to do that – he only did so because he was a very big fan of Stalin.
Ain’t history something?
Yes, e.g. FDR was much more concerned with British imperialism (which Churchill was unapologetic about, he said in 1942 “I have not become the Kingâ€™s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire”) than the Soviet variety.
Yes, they empowered FDR, who did despicable things in league with Stalin. They also empowered FDR, who conquered the Nazis and eneded their reign of terror.
As much as I dislike FDR, we should at least be willing to accept when he managed to do something right.
The Soviets and I’m sure the Russians today Ma href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Allied_army_positions_on_10_May_1945.png”>argue they did a whole lot more than the other Allies to defeat Nazi Germany. And as I understand it we (US, UK, etc.) did not have the infantry manpower to take Berlin in the 1945 time frame.
Then again, the Soviets benefited from Germany having to defend both fronts. FDR was a good wartime leader, but we shouldn’t overstate his and our accomplishments.
No errors my “fill in the blank” and I sure miss the ability to post-posting edit. Let’s try that again:
The Soviets and Iâ€™m sure the Russians today argue they did a whole lot more than the other Allies to defeat Nazi Germany.
Awsome men those who went ashore. I cannot comprehend an infantryman’s mindset. They have all the respect I can imagine. The lesson here is that the Big Brass estimated a sure-enough loss of 15% if not more of the troops going ashore. That is called leadership? Not by my thinking. This invasion was avoidable as are most. Airpower could have avoided the slaughter of our troops. To use the pawn theory to win a battle is not acceptable. How “leaders” justify the “estimated losses” is something I will always question. Great Generals–Not. God Bless the Troops.
Airpower was widely used for several years, without breaking the will of the German people.
Been to the beaches of Normandy. Stood by a sunken landing craft and looked ashore to Utah Beach and the headlands. Stood below the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, Walked Omaha Beach right after Bubba took his photo-op. Also walked the Sword, Juno, and Gold landings. Visited Sainte-MÃ¨re-Ã‰glise and bridges.
And I don’t have more than a mere inkling of the courage of those young men that kicked in the door of Festung Europa.
We have young men (and women) today with comparable courage, some of whom are suffering from PTSD and horrifying injuries. The numbers aren’t comparable, but the guts sure are.
My grandfather served in WWII and survived D-Day and the rest of the war. Respects to him and all others who served and are serving.
Alas, I still wish America’s finest would only fall to defend our country and not to secure oil reserves around the globe.
What oil reserves does Afghanistan have?
None but they have plenty-o-poppies so the CIA can run heroin all over the globe. The oil is in Iraq.
My route home this evening took me over a portion of US 29 which has been dedicated to the memory of the 29th Infantry Division. 68 years ago today, the 29th was on Omaha Beach.
It’s interesting to contrast the operation at Normandy with contemporary amphibious operations in the Pacific theatre. I always wondered why the Pacific ops seemed so much more intensive in terms of naval gunfire and armored amphibious vehicle support.
Well if one book I skimmed could be believed, a naval officer with experience in previous Pacific operations was assigned to planning of the D-Day operation, and he did advise a heavier level of support based upon experience in the Pacific. Supposedly his advice was dismissed because Pacific operational experience was considered irrelevant to European activity!
It’s been a long time since I seriously studied D-Day (like, the ’70s I think), but as I recall didn’t things go mostly right except on Omaha beach?
And I did recently read in the informal WWII USNavy history by Samuel Eliot Morison (“History of United States Naval Operations in World War II“, the primary source for Victory At Sea) that Omaha (and Utah) had significant firepower on call, from destroyers ordered and willing to help at all costs including grounding (which would have then gotten them shot to pieces; some came close but managed to avoid that) all the way up to the 14 inch gun battleship Texas, which used her big guns to clear one of the beach’s exits.
Certainly not a fraction as intensive as Pacific Theater preparations, on the other hand Normandy had constraints the seriously opposed landings in the Pacific didn’t. E.g. after a certain point we didn’t care about losing the element of surprise, a multi-day bombardment signaling an invasion did not allow the Japanese to reinforce the targeted island except by submarine, unless they wanted to put their capital ships and carrier planes at risk for their much desired decisive battle. One example where they tried this a couple of weeks after D-Day was nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot….
As for on call support, I’m not sure the difference was vast.
I just took a quick peek at the wikipedia pages for Omaha Beach and the Battle of Saipan. Both were June 1944 amphibious attacks of similar scale against prepared defenses. Omaha Beach was an attack by two US Army infantry divisions and Saipan was attacked by two USMC divisions and one Army division. The differences in support are spectacular, and can account for much of the higher carnage at Omaha Beach.
Naval gunfire support for Omaha Beach: One battleship, two cruisers and six destroyers. At one phase of the battle the destroyers were released to provide close-in support.
Naval gunfire support for Saipan: 15 battleships, and 11 cruisers. Close support provided by 11 fire support ships, probably the devastating LSM(R) type ships.
The first assault wave at Omaha Beech consisted of 6 infantry battalions, two tank battalions, two ranger battalions, and two combat-engineer battalions. The tank battalions used the DD type amphibious Sherman tanks, and foundered in the rough waters of the landing, only about the third of the Shermans made it because they were dropped of directly on the beach by LCT landing craft. I believe the infantry, ranger and engineer units were landed by Higgins boats, many of which either landed at the wrong part of the beach or failed to get all the way to the beach leaving heavily burdened men to struggle through the surf.
Contrast that with the way 8,000 Marines of the first wave at Saipan were landed on the beach by 300 LVT armored amphibious tracked vehicles.
It’s just stunning to me that after the horrible lessons that were learned in first years of amphibious assaults in the Pacific theatre of operations, that adjustments were made to equipment and doctrine in the Pacific as exhibited by the Saipan landing, but ignored for the D-Day landing. Or I should say the US Army part of the D-Day landing. The British were much more keen to use every edge they could muster hence the “Hobarts Funnies”.
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