Wednesday, June 05, 2013
D-Day: The Final Overlord Plan for the Normandy Invasion D-Day: RAF guys painting invasion aircraft stripes D-Day, British fly boys on the ground, prior to the invasion “A paratrooper boards an airplane that will drop him over the coast of Normandy for the Allied Invasion of Europe, D-Day, June 6, 1944. Soldiers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions parachuted behind enemy lines during the night, while fellow Soldiers assaulted Normandy beaches at dawn.” [N.S. Note how heavily-laden the paratrooper is with arms and supplies.] D-Day: A Waco CG-4A U.S. Army Air Force assault glider D-Day: a +1000 Aerial Armada (including troop-carrying gliders) to take back occupied Europe By Richard Clements June 6, 2012 The Aviationist.com At 22.15 on the evening of Jun. 5 1944, the first engine on the first plane spluttered into life announcing the biggest airborne operation ever undertaken: delayed by 24 hours due to poor weather conditions, the Allied forces were about to take back occupied Europe. That night, some 13,000 U.S airborne troops comprising of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions were to be transported in a vast fleet of 925 DC-3 Dakotas along with the British 6th Airborne Division (some 6,000 strong) and Canada’s 1st Parachute Battalion (some 500 in strength), over the English channel to the Cotentin Peninsula (Normandy)…. [Read the rest here.] D-Day: A bomber from the 416th Bomb Group dropping its load By Nicholas Stix June 6, 2013 June 6, 2010, 8:58 a.m. Revised at 11:58 p.m., Sunday, June 6, 2010. Revised and expanded at 1:10 a.m., on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Last revised and expanded at 1:26 a.m., on Thursday, June 6, 2013. Today, we commemorate the 69th anniversary of the largest amphibious attack in the history of the world, the landing of between 160,000 and 175,000 Allied troops on the coast of Normandy, France. These fighting men were supported yet another 195,000 sailors on 5,000 ships. D-Day infantrymen jumping out of 3 landing craft, side view 2013 6-5 D-Day troops just out of a landing craft at Omaha Beach
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Gen. George S. Patton, old blood and guts, wearing four stars, not long before his death in a motor vehicle accident in occupied Bavaria
Gen. George S. Patton’s Speech on the Eve of D-Day
[“This is the full text of the speech Gen. Patton made prior to D-Day. The date was 5 June, 1944. Please be advised it is quite profane.” George C. Scott performed a shorter, cleaned-up version of this speech at the beginning of the movie Patton (1970).
Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit.
Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.
You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men, and all real men like to fight.
When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ballplayers, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards.
Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men, or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are.
The real hero is the man who fights, even though he is scared.
Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He-Men and they ARE He-Men.
Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.
All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call “chicken shit drilling.” That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans, or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times, if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of shit!
There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horseshit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we're going up against. By God, I do.
My men don't surrender, and I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured, unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bullshit, either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.
What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, “Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.” But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?
No, Goddamnit, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war.
The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the “G.I. Shits.”
Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.
One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious firefight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, “Fixing the wire, Sir.” I asked, “Isn't that a little unhealthy right about now?” He answered, “Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.” I asked, “Don't those planes strafing the road bother you?” And he answered, “No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!” Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.
And you should have seen those trucks on the road to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together, and the chain became unbreakable.
Don't forget, you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day, I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, “Jesus Christ, it's the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton. We want to get the hell over there.” The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one, either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have, or ever will have.
We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you … you'll know what to do!
I don't want to get any messages saying, “I am holding my position.” We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing, regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!
From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, “Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.” No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, “Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!”
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“Ike” addressing American troops on D-Day (General of the Army—as in five stars—Dwight David Eisenhower). “Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with 101st Airborne Division paratroopers before they board airplanes and gliders to take part in a parachute assault into Normandy as part of the Allied Invasion of Europe, D-Day, June 6, 1944.”
General Eisenhower’s Message Sent Just Prior to the Invasion
Hit this link to listen to General Eisenhower’s Message Below (click the ‘play’ arrow to begin the message)
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
Lest we forget.
The Army’s D-Day Web site.
D-Day Airborne and Beach Assault
D-Day, June 6, 1944
The Final Overlord Plan for the Normandy amphibious invasion
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.
Disorganization, confusion, incomplete or faulty implementation of plans characterized the initial phases of the landings. This was especially true of the airborne landings, which were badly scattered, as well as the first wave units landing on the assault beaches. To their great credit, most of the troops were able to adapt to the disorganization. In the end, the Allies achieved their objective.
Plan for the airborne assault, which preceded the amphibious invasion
The airborne assault into Normandy as part of the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe was the largest use of airborne troops up to that time. Paratroopers of the U.S. 82d and 101st Airborne divisions, the British 6th Airborne Division, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, and other attached Allied units took part in the assault.
Numbering more than 13,000 men, the paratroopers were flown from bases in southern England to the Cotentin Peninsula in approximately 925 C-47 airplanes. An additional 4,000 men, consisting of glider infantry with supporting weapons and medical and signal units, were to arrive in 500 gliders later on D-Day to reinforce the paratroopers. The parachute troops were assigned what was probably the most difficult task of the initial operation—a night jump behind enemy lines five hours before the coastal landings.
To protect the invasion zone's western extremity and to facilitate the "Utah" landing force's movement into the Cotentin Peninsula, the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions descended on the peninsula by parachute and glider in the early hours of D-Day. The paratroopers were badly scattered. Many were injured and killed during the attack, and much of their equipment was lost. But the brave paratroopers fought fiercely, causing confusion among the German commanders and keeping the Germans troops occupied. Their efforts, hampered by harsh weather, darkness, and disorganization, and initiative of resourceful soldiers and leaders, ensured that the UTAH BEACH assault objectives were eventually accomplished. The British and Canadian attacks also accomplished their primary goal of securing the left flank of the invasion force.
Utah Beach was added to the initial invasion plan almost as an afterthought. The allies needed a major port as soon as possible, and Utah Beach would put VII (U.S.) Corps within 60 kilometers of Cherbourg at the outset. The major obstacles in this sector were not so much the beach defenses, but the flooded and rough terrain that blocked the way north.
Omaha Beach linked the U.S. and British beaches. It was a critical link between the Contentin peninsula and the flat plain in front of Caen. Omaha was also the most restricted and heavily defended beach, and for this reason at least one veteran U.S. Division (lst) was tasked to land there. The terrain was difficult. Omaha Beach was unlike any of the other assault beaches in Normandy. Its crescent curve and unusual assortment of bluffs, cliffs and draws were immediately recognizable from the sea.
It was the most defensible beach chosen for D-Day; in fact, many planners did not believe it a likely place for a major landing. The high ground commanded all approaches to the beach from the sea and tidal flats. Moreover, any advance made by U.S. troops from the beach would be limited to narrow passages between the bluffs. Advances directly up the steep bluffs were difficult in the extreme. German strong points were arranged to command all the approaches and pillboxes were sited in the draws to fire east and west, thereby enfilading troops while remaining concealed from bombarding warships. These pillboxes had to be taken out by direct assault.
Compounding this problem was the allied intelligence failure to identify a nearly full-strength infantry division, the 352nd, directly behind the beach. It was believed to be no further forward than St. Lo and Caumont, 20 miles inland.
V (U.S.) Corps was assigned to this sector. The objective was to obtain a lodgment area between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River and ultimately push forward to St. Lo and Caumont in order to cut German communications (St. Lo was a major road junction). Allocated to the task were 1st and 29th (U.S.) Divisions, supported by the 5th Ranger Battalion and 5th Engineer Special Brigade.
Gold Beach was the objective of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division of the British 2nd Army. Its primary task was to seize Arrolnanches (future site of a Mulberry) and drive inland to seize the road junction at Bayeux, as well as contact U.S. forces on their right and Canadians on their left. The initial opposition was fierce, but the British invasion forces broke through with relatively light casualties and were able to reach their objectives in this sector. A major factor in their success was that the British assault forces were lavishly equipped with armour and "Funnies" of the 79th Armoured Division. The "Funnies" were the specialist vehicles, armed with 290 mm mortars, designed for tasks such as clearing obstacles or minefields and destruction of large fixed fortifications. Perhaps the most famous is the "Flail" tank, which was a Sherman equipped with a large roller to which was attached lengths of chain. These tanks were designed to clear terrain to their front, and detonate mine fields and other booby traps without danger to the tanks or infantry following.
Juno Beach was the landing area for 3rd Canadian Division. The Canadians were very concerned about their role in the invasion (as were most of the planning staff) as the memory of 2nd Canadian Division's destruction at Dieppe was still fresh. But many lessons had been learned, and the 3rd Canadian Division, in spite of heavy opposition at Courselles-sur-Mer, broke through and advanced nearly to their objective, the airfield at Carpiquet, west of Caen. The Canadians made the deepest penetration of any land forces on June 6th, again with moderate casualties.
Sword Beach was the objective of 3rd (British) Infantry Division. They were to advance inland as far as Caen, and line up with British Airborne forces east of the Orne River/Caen Canal. The Orne River bridges had been seized in late at night on the 5th of June by a glider-borne reinforced company commanded by Maj. John Howard.
As at the other beaches, British forces penetrated quite a ways inland after breaking the opposition at water's edge. Unfortunately, the objective of Caen was probably asking too much of a single infantry division, especially given the traffic jams and resistance encountered further inland. 1st Special Service (Commando) brigade commanded by Lord Lovat, linked up in the morning with Howard's force at Pegasus Bridge on the British left. Fierce opposition from the 2lst Panzer and later the 12th SS Panzer division prevented the British from reaching Caen on the 6th.
Indeed, Caen was not taken until late June.
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FDR’s Prayer, Read over the Radio on the Evening of D-Day
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest—until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violence of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them—help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too—strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment—let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944
Tending to the dead, on Omaha Beach
“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams, from Saving Private Ryan
Thanks to generalkenji and Jonathan Maxfield.
[For 2011 revision, a tip ‘o the hat to Larry Auster.]