With all the news about the protest engulfing the nation and the lingering pandemic….it is forgivable that the day might slip past the memories of the American people.
Today is the 76 anniversary of the beginning of the end for the Occupation of Europe…..we remember it as D-Day….Operation Overlord.
At dawn on 6 June, nearly 7,000 U.S. and British ships and craft carrying close to 160,000 troops lay off the Normandy beaches, surprising German commanders, who had overestimated the adverse weather’s impact and were also expecting landings to the northeast, in the Pas-de-Calais area. Following assembly, and a 24-hour delay, the invasion fleet had proceeded across the English Channel along five lanes cleared by minesweepers toward the French coast. The waters off of the U.S. (Utah, Omaha) and British-Canadian (Gold, Juno, Sword) landing beaches had been divided into transport off-loading areas, fire-support channels and areas, and lanes for the assault craft. Cruisers and battleships bombarded enemy coastal fortifications and strongpoints, followed by tactical air strikes. In each of the initial attack waves, LCTs (landing craft, tank) carried specially configured amphibious tanks that were to serve as immediate infantry fire support once ashore. Patrol boats served as control vessels off of each beach. Destroyers and other small combatants stood by to provide gunfire support, and loaded landing craft proceeded from their line of departure (“Dixie line”) toward the beaches.
For those too young to remember then a little background…..
D-Day – 6 June 1944 – was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. The statistics of D-Day, codenamed Operation Overlord, are staggering. The Allies utilised over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy. The landings marked the start of a long and costly campaign in north-west Europe, which ultimately convinced the German high command that defeat was inevitable.
Sadly the numbers are dwindling of our greatest generation and people that will mourn the dead from the day.
At least the dead will always be there.
All too many have been, for 76 years since that fateful June 6 on France’s Normandy beaches, when allied troops in 1944 turned the course of World War II and went on to defeat fascism in Europe in one of the most remarkable feats in military history.
Forgotten they will never be. Revered, yes. But Saturday’s anniversary will be one of the loneliest remembrances ever, as the coronavirus pandemic is keeping almost everyone away — from government leaders to frail veterans who might not get another chance for a final farewell to their unlucky comrades.
Please take a moment to say a few words of praise for our greatest generation that gave all to save the world from tyranny….
I Read, I Write, You KNow
“lego ergo scribo”