Code Name: Operation Overlord.
Seventy-five years ago seems like a long time ago. Then we realize how old we are, when we were born, and the 75 years is nominal. This past Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of France. It started with a year of planning and a massive build up of Allied forces made up of troops from the United States, the UK, Canada and France. The year-long planning originally picked the date of June 5, 1944 for the Allied invasion to commence, but due to weather issues the massive armada of ships crossing the English Channel had to push back their target time by 24 hours. Early in the morning of June 6, 1944, close to 7,000 ships carried 132,000 troops to the beaches of Normandy. These beaches were code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword with most of the United States soldiers hitting Omaha and Utah beach.
The night before the invasion of Normandy, in order to try and protect the troops landing on the beaches, Allied forces engaged in an extensive bombing campaign to damage German defenses. Close to 24,000 Allied troops were also dropped behind enemy lines shortly after midnight on the day of the invasion. Deception tactics employed in the months leading up to the attack led the Germans to believe that the initial attacks were merely a diversion and that the true invasion would take place further along the coast. Reference: there is a scene in the movie #TheLongestDay that depicts this deception and how the German headquarters had no clue of the Normandy invasion. With that said, and even with the bombings attempting to destroy the German troops protecting the coast, some of the approaches to the beachhead failed miserably. The Germans had hunkered down on the cliffs overlooking the beaches and their gunfire, mortars and hand grenades took their toll on the Allied forces. There were more than 4,400 soldiers confirmed killed, with 9,000 injured or missing. Reference the first 20 minutes of the movie #SavingPrivateRyan.
Allied forces were eventually able to control the Normandy coastline and move inland towards Paris. Months later, with Allied forces fighting with the German troops and their Tiger Tanks, were able to liberate Paris in August of 1944.
There is the old adage: “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but no photo tells more of a horrific story than the one below:
The largest amphibious invasion ever, forever known as #D-Day, laid the foundations for the Allied defeat of Germany in World War II. The gratitude the world owes all of those soldiers is immense. The defeat of the Germans was a pivotal point in world history and was the beginning of the end of WWII. When you see someone who is now serving or once served in the armed forces, please take the time to thank them for their service. I will on Monday, in Jupiter, Florida, when I shake the hand of a proud veteran, who in my mind is the epitome of what describes a patriot.
I could add on some other takes, including the opportunity to talk about seeing a long time friend yesterday…… but not this week, as the 75th Anniversary of D-Day should not be overshadowed.
Adios, Pay it Forward, and Have a Funday Sunday!