June the 6th 1944 D Day Honor Thread.

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    Re: June the 6th 1944 D Day Honor Thread.

    In response to TheExaminer's comment:

    I need to read some more books about that. I still dont understand how those guys were able to get off those boats while being sprayed in the face with direct machine gun fire, wade ashore, establish a beach head, then take the pillbox covered heights above the beach. Amazing. Hard to imagine any assault with more bravery than that since the Civil War.

    purely numbers.  you can only shoot at 1 thing at a time.

    On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British): 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.

    11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties, and 127 were lost.

    In the airborne landings on both flanks of the beaches, 2395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF were used on D-Day.

    Operation Neptune involved huge naval forces, including 6939 vessels: 1213 naval combat ships, 4126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels. Some 195,700 personnel were assigned to Operation Neptune: 52,889 US, 112,824 British, and 4988 from other Allied countries.

    By the end of 11 June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.

    As well as the troops who landed in Normandy on D-Day, and those in supporting roles at sea and in the air, millions more men and women in the Allied countries were involved in the preparations for D-Day. They played thousands of different roles, both in the armed forces and as civilians.


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    Re: June the 6th 1944 D Day Honor Thread.

    Rick Atkinson, who's book, An Army At Dawn, about the US Army in N. Africa, 1942-43, won the Pulitzer for history several years ago, has now published the third volume, Guns At Last Light, of his trilogy about the US Army in Europe in World War II. 

    Guns at Last Light begins with the final planning conference, May 1944, in London for Operation Overload, which today we call the D-Day invasion of France, and goes through to V-E Day and the immediate aftermath.  It is brilliantly written and contains 641 pages of incredible detail about all levels, highest to the lowest, of the participants.  The NY Times review coined the phrase "pointillism history" to describe Atkinson's ability to cram in so many details without losing focus on the big picture as this amazing, epic series of battles unfolded.  I am reading it now and have read the first two, An Army At Dawn and The Day of Battle (Sicily and Italy campaigns through the liberation of Rome in June 1944).   He is an indefatigueable researcher and one of the best writers around.  Earlier he won two Pulitzers as a journalist. 

    I like both movies, Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day, but the latter is obviously much more comprehensive about D-Day.  Saving Private Ryan has better acting, better writing, and better direction, to say nothing of that amazing opening scene on the beach, but that movie is more about the days after D-Day than the day of.  One of my relatives commanded a tank battalion that didn't roll over the Normandy beaches until a month or so later, but he still saw a lot of action. 

    As important as all those soldiers on the beaches and those sailors getting them there were, I tend to gravitate toward Ike.  Atkinson describes the incredible pressure on him, so great that he smoked four packs a day and finally had to tell the doctors they could not take his blood pressure because it was way too high and might force Marshall to replace him.   Interestingly, a similar problem is what actually killed BG Theodore Roosevelt Jr not long after D-Day when he died of a heart attack. 

    In An Officer and a Gentlemen, the Lou Gossett character, the drill sergeant, says at one point (to Richard Gere), "this is all about character."  Atkinson says the same thing and that is why he decided to write his trilogy--war reveals character, good and not so good.