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Thread: Never Forget D-Day
06-05-09, 11:40 AM #1
Never Forget D-Day
Never Forget D-Day
by Ted Nugent (more by this author)
Posted 06/05/2009 ET
July 4, 1776. December 7, 1941. September 11, 2001. These dates that were seared into hearts and minds of the collective American consciousness now seem -- to some -- distant, faded, even unimportant. But those who care to learn from history will always remember them, and teach their children.
There remains one other date in American -- no, world history -- that signifies good over evil, freedom over tyranny, liberty over oppression. That date is June 6, 1944. For as long as the world shall exist, June 6, 1944 will be forever known as D-Day.
As you read this, 65 years ago almost to the exact day, tens of thousands of scared young American soldiers were crammed together on landing craft in the English Channel heading for the beaches of Normandy, France. Their mission: save the world. Though they surely didn't know it, these young men in all those landing craft would be forever known in American history as the Greatest Generation.
Just prior to the invasion that would ultimately liberate Europe and save civilization from the dark evil of Nazism, General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, transmitted a message to the young men who would fight and die in the coming hours. It read in part: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
As their landing craft pitched in the waves of the English Channel, in front of them on the high ground above the beaches known as Sword, Utah, Juno, Gold and Omaha was the Nazi war machine. Omaha beach was the most heavily fortified by Hitler's war machine, and Omaha beach was the objective of the American military.
As the landing craft full of the Greatest Generation warriors came closer to Omaha beach, the Nazis aimed their machineguns, artillery, rifles and mortars at the landing craft full of 19, 20, and 21-year-old young American infantry soldiers. As the gates of the landing crafts fell, the Nazis unleashed Hell upon the Greatest Generation. In mere minutes, hundreds had been killed or wounded. By day's end the American military would suffer 5,000 casualties on Omaha beach, all in the name of freedom. Know it.
The American dead and wounded on Omaha beach was so severe that American commanders considered abandoning the beach. But what our commanders had not counted on was the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Greatest Generation. Just as the firemen on 9/11 kept rushing up the stairs of the burning Twin Towers into the hands of God, the landing craft full of American infantry kept coming.
Under withering Nazi machine gun fire, the Greatest Generation slowly inched forward silencing the Nazi war machine on the bluffs above Omaha beach. By the end of June 6, Omaha beach would be largely secured. In less than a year the Nazi war machine would be crushed, Hitler dead.
Those young Americans who stormed Omaha beach on that morning 65 years ago on June 6th accomplished their mission: they saved the world.
June 6 is D-Day. Do not ever forget this day. Teach your children, make sure no one forgets how good wins over evil and the price that is paid. God bless the warriors.
06-05-09, 01:16 PM #2
06-05-09, 01:37 PM #3
~ D-DAY June 6, 1944 ~
May 1944 had been chosen at the conference in Washington in May 1943 as the time for the invasion. Difficulties in assembling landing craft forced a postponement until June, but June 5 was fixed as the unalterable date by Eisenhower on May 17. As the day approached and troops began to embark for the crossing, bad weather set in, threatening dangerous landing conditions. After tense debate, Eisenhower and his subordinates decided on a 24-hour delay, requiring the recall of some ships already at sea. Eventually, on the morning of June 5, Eisenhower, assured by chief meteorologist James Martin Stagg of a break in the weather, announced, “O.K. We'll go.” Within hours an armada of 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships, and 500 naval vessels—escorts and bombardment ships—began to leave English ports. That night 822 aircraft, carrying parachutists or towing gliders, roared overhead to the Normandy landing zones. They were a fraction of the air armada of 13,000 aircraft that would support D-Day.
January 1944 meeting of Operation Overlord Commanders, General Eisenhower, Walter B. Smith, Omar Bradley, Arthur Tedder, Bernard Montgomery, Trafford Leigh-Mallory and Bertram Ramsay. The Eisenhower Presidential Library
GENERAL EISENHOWER’S MESSAGE SENT JUST PRIOR TO THE INVASION
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
-- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
06-05-09, 01:48 PM #4
D-DAY AIRBORNE AND BEACH ASSAULT
The Normandy beaches were chosen by planners because they lay within range of air cover, and were less heavily defended than the obvious objective of the Pas de Calais, the shortest distance between Great Britain and the Continent. Airborne drops at both ends of the beachheads were to protect the flanks, as well as open up roadways to the interior. Six divisions were to land on the first day; three U.S., two British and one Canadian. Two more British and one U.S. division were to follow up after the assault division had cleared the way through the beach defenses.
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06-06-09, 06:48 AM #5
June 06, 2009
'D-day'-Day of Glory
By Jan LaRue
They gave us ‘nothing less than full victory.'
June 6, 1944, "D-day," is a day that lives in glory.
"D-day" in military history stands for the "day" of invasion. On this "D-day," obscure beaches on the French coast of the English Channel became the hallowed ground on which heroic men fought and thousands died to end tyranny and liberate millions from Nazi oppression and death camps. These are the beaches renamed, remembered and revered as "Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold and Juno."
Normandy is the most inspiring, humbling and historically important place to visit in France. Standing above Omaha Beach looking out across the English Channel from what was a Nazi cement bunker, provides a commanding view of what the allied forces faced that monumental and awesome day-"the longest day."
Excerpts from Adolf Hitler's "Directive No. 5l," 3 November 1943, expose the resolute and seemingly invincible Nazi army entrenched against the allied forces. Hitler demanded defense of the coast of France at all costs:
If the enemy here succeeds in penetrating our defenses on a wide front, consequences of staggering proportions will follow within a short time. All signs point to an offensive against the Western Front of Europe no later than spring, and perhaps earlier.
For that reason, I can no longer justify the further weakening of the West in favor of other theaters of war. I have therefore decided to strengthen the defenses in the West, particularly at places from which we shall launch our long-range war against England. For those are the very points at which the enemy must and will attack; there-unless all indications are misleading-will be fought the decisive invasion battle.
During the opening phase of the battle, the entire striking power of the enemy will of necessity be directed against our forces manning the coast. Only an all-out effort in the construction of fortifications, an unsurpassed effort that will enlist all available manpower and physical resources of Germany and the occupied areas, will be able to strengthen our defenses along the coasts within the short time that still appears to be left to us.
Should the enemy nevertheless force a landing by concentrating his armed might, he must be hit by the full fury of our counterattack. For this mission ample and speedy reinforcements of men and materiel, as well as intensive training must transform available larger units into first-rate, fully mobile general reserves suitable for offensive operations. The counterattack of these units will prevent the enlargement of the beachhead, and throw the enemy back into the sea.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, commissioned our troops as they boarded planes, gliders and ships, great and small. He called them to nothing less than full victory:
Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations [not today's U.N.] have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
An invading army had not crossed the treacherous English Channel since 1688. The heroes of "D-Day" knew that the beaches of Normandy had to be taken or else. There would be no throwing them back into the sea:
It was to be the largest combined, sea, air, and land military operation in history, made up of three million men, 13,000 aircraft, 1,200 warships, 2,700 merchant ships, and 2, 500 landing craft. Fifteen minutes after midnight on June 6, the first of 23,000 U.S., British, and Canadian paratroopers and glider troops plunged into the darkness over Normandy, and the Allied liberation of France was underway. Just before dawn, Allied aircraft and ships bombed the French coast along the Baie de la Seine, and at daybreak, the bombardment ended as 135,000 Allied troops stormed ashore at five landing sites. Despite the formidable German coastal defenses, beachheads were achieved at all five landing locations. At one site-Omaha Beach-German resistance was especially strong, and the Allied position was only secured after hours of bloody fighting by the Americans assigned to it. By the evening, some 150,000 American, British, and Canadian troops were ashore, and the Allies held about 80 square miles. Over the next five days, Allied forces in Normandy moved steadily forward in all sectors against fierce German resistance. On June 11, the five landing groups met up, and Operation Overlord-the code name for the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe-proceeded as planned.
By nightfall on June 6, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were dead or wounded, but more than 100,000 had made it ashore, securing French coastal villages.
This Saturday would be a good time to read the citations of the 12 Medal of Honor Recipients of the Normandy Invasion. Five were awarded posthumously. They embodied the words of Jesus: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
A personal note:
My step-dad landed at Normandy two months after the invasion. He commanded a tank crew in Patton's 3rd Army and fought in the "Battle of the Bulge." Dad suffered severe frost bite in both feet during one of Europe's coldest winters. He spent a month in a hospital where doctors came very close to amputating them.
He didn't talk much about his war experiences, but he loved to attend the reunions of the men with whom he served. They told stories and relived some unforgettable moments such as crossing the Rhine River at night in total blackout over a pontoon bridge laid down by an engineer combat batallion. There was the time that tanks in front and in back of his were hit by enemy fire and his buddies died.
I will never forget one 4th of July when Dad came into the house after walking in the backyard while fireworks were going off. He had "hit the dirt" when a loud rocket went screaming overhead. He was concerned that neighbors had seen him and were laughing at him. Dad was embarrassed. I was proud.
Dad made it clear that he wanted to be buried with soldiers. His grave is in Arlington National Cemetery in Riverside County, California. They gave us the Flag from his coffin and "the thanks of a grateful Nation."
Jan LaRue is an attorney, author, and frequent contributor to American Thinker.
06-07-09, 09:05 AM #6
D-Day Plus 65 Years
Posted By McQ
Yesterday evening I thought about what was occurring at the same time 65 years before in Europe. Young paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions as well as the British 6th Airborne Division and 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion were headed in for night combat jumps with the mission of securing key bridges and road junctions and setting up blocking positions to prevent German reinforcements from reaching the beaches of Normandy. Of the 17,000 US airborne troops engaged in operation Overlord, 1,003 were KIA, 2,657 were WIA and 4,490 were declared MIA.
At the same time, off that coast, the largest amphibious assault fleet the world had ever seen, drawn from 8 allied navies (6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 transport vessels (landing ships and landing craft), and 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels), began gathering. 19 and 20 year old young men, who to that point had never seen a shot fired in anger nor fired one themselves, would get their baptism in war on Omaha, Gold, Utah, Sword and Juno beaches. In all 160,000 allied troops would land that day.
At Pointe du Hoc, the US 2nd Ranger Battalion assaulted the massive concrete gun emplacements that commanded the beach landing sites. They had to scale 100 foot cliffs under enemy automatic gunfire to reach them. When they did, the found out the guns had been moved further inland. They pressed their assault, found them and destroyed them and then defended the location for two days until relieved. The operation cost them 60% casualties. Of the 225 rangers who began the operation, only 90 were still able to fight at its end.
On Omaha beach, the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions landed opposite the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division. They had sited their defensive positions well and built concrete emplacements which were all but immune from bombardment. The initial assault waves of tanks, infantry and engineers took heavy casualties. Of the 16 tanks that landed upon the shores of Omaha Beach only 2 survived the landing. The official record stated that "within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, [the leading] company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action. Every officer and sergeant had been killed or wounded [...] It had become a struggle for survival and rescue". Only a few gaps were blown in the beach obstacles, resulting in problems for subsequent landings.
Allied leaders considered abandoning Omaha, but the troops that had landed refused to stay trapped in a killing zone. In many cases, led by members of the 5th Ranger Battalion which had been mistakenly landed there, they formed ad hoc groups and infantrymen infiltrated the beach defenses and destroyed them, eventually opening the way for all. Of the 50,000 soldiers that landed there, 5,000 became casualties of bloody Omaha.
Canadian forces landed at Juno. The first wave suffered 50% casualties in the ferocious fighting. The Canadians had to fight their way over a sea wall which they successfully did. The 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada achieved their 6 June objectives, when they drove over 15 kilometres (9 mi) inland. In fact, they were the only group to reach their D-Day objectives.
By the end of D-Day, 15,000 Canadians had been successfully landed, and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had penetrated further into France than any other Allied force, despite having faced strong resistance at the water's edge and later counterattacks on the beachhead by elements of the German 21st and 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer divisions.
The Brits landed at Sword and Gold beaches. At Gold the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division landed with heavy casualties, but overcame the obstacles and drove about 10 kilometers off the beach.
Led by amphibious tanks of the 13th and 18th Hussars, the landings on Sword went rather well with elements of the 8th Infantry Brigade driving 8 kilometers off the beach.
And the final beach, Utah, saw the 23,000 troops of the US 4th Infantry Division land. Through a navigation error they landed on the western most part of the beach. That happened to be the most lightly defended as well. Taking full advantage of the situation, the division fought their way off the beach and through the German defenses linking up with the 502nd and 506th Parachute Infantry Regiments of the 101st Airborne Division which had dropped in the night before and secured the inland side of the beach exits.
The liberation of Europe had begun.
But it was costly. Of the total 10,000 casualties suffered that day on the beaches by the allies, the US had 6,603 of which 1,465 were killed in action. The Canadians suffered 1,074 casualties (359 KIA) and the British had 2,700.
Men who had never set foot on the continent of Europe before died trying to liberate it that day. Today most of them lie in quiet graveyards near where they fell, the only piece of land ever claimed, as Colin Powell said, was enough to lay them to rest.
65 years ago, as the guns boomed, the shells exploded and desperate and courageous men made life and death decisions on the bloody sands of Normandy beaches, the fate of the world literally hinged on their success.
I think it is important, on this day to remember that. It is also just as important to remember that had the rest of the world taken the threat posed by the evil of Nazi Germany seriously earlier than they did, the possibility exists that such a fateful landing would never have been necessary.
But it was. And to those who made it, liberated Europe and destroyed the evil that was Nazi Germany, they have my undying respect and deserve to have what they did -and why they did it - remembered by all for eternity.
06-09-09, 07:56 AM #7
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