78 years ago, America’s Most Famous Military Moment!

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
Today marks the 78th anniversary of the US/Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches and the drive to force the Nazis from the western European theater of war!
A salute to my parents generation...”America’s Greatest Generation” for a job well done! (Today’s Americans citizens might do well with a little more of their humility and a little less of our need for “American exceptionalism.”)
Celebrate your “longest day” with a thank-you to those brave souls who stormed the beaches of northern France.
 

rchawk

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I would have shit my pants.
Me too.

My late Uncle Max landed on Utah Beach with the 4th Infantry Division. German artillery shells were coming down. Until the end of the war the 4th ID suffered a high casualty rate.

To Grandma and Grandpa's great relief Uncle Max came home, got a job, and built a house with help from the GI Bill. Raised a family.

For years he had nightmares about the war. He told my Dad, "Nothing smells like dead bodies."
 

Jimmy McGill

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Me too.

My late Uncle Max landed on Utah Beach with the 4th Infantry Division. German artillery shells were coming down. Until the end of the war the 4th ID suffered a high casualty rate.

To Grandma and Grandpa's great relief Uncle Max came home, got a job, and built a house with help from the GI Bill. Raised a family.

For years he had nightmares about the war. He told my Dad, "Nothing smells like dead bodies."

I have nightmares from Iraq, but I couldn't fathom D-Day. They knew they were going into a death.
 

lucas80

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As mentioned every year, the wife’s paternal grandfather went into Normandy in the wee hours of June 6th in a glider. I was looking at a replica of those gliders at the Air Force museum outside of Dayton a few years ago, and tried to imagine what he felt? Plow boy from Indiana living his life, then war breaks out, and at age 26 chugging through the darkness until you smash into the ground in a barely controlled landing.
 

Jimmy McGill

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As mentioned every year, the wife’s paternal grandfather went into Normandy in the wee hours of June 6th in a glider. I was looking at a replica of those gliders at the Air Force museum outside of Dayton a few years ago, and tried to imagine what he felt? Plow boy from Indiana living his life, then war breaks out, and at age 26 chugging through the darkness until you smash into the ground in a barely controlled landing.

Yeah, that had to be crazy scary on the glider.
 

JupiterHawk

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As mentioned every year, the wife’s paternal grandfather went into Normandy in the wee hours of June 6th in a glider. I was looking at a replica of those gliders at the Air Force museum outside of Dayton a few years ago, and tried to imagine what he felt? Plow boy from Indiana living his life, then war breaks out, and at age 26 chugging through the darkness until you smash into the ground in a barely controlled landing.
Wow. One of 6,000 US solders were trained for gliders. Dropped with the airborne.

U.S. and British doctrine made assault glider operations an integral part of the paratroop infantry, but the glider infantry did not wear parachutes. They rode their gliders to the ground and into battle. It is regrettable that Allied military planners did not better heed the costly results of Germany’s May 1941 assault on Crete. It became known as the “graveyard of the Germany airborne” division. The British army defenders on the island exacted a heavy toll on the 13,000 attacking German airborne troops. Seven hundred and fifty infantry soldiers successfully landed on Crete in gliders. The defenders shot down 350 glider tow planes and paratroop transports and casualties among the glider and airborne soldiers numbered more than 5,100 killed or wounded. The vital lesson of Crete was that coordinating large formations of tow planes and gliders to arrive at their landing zones (LZ) on time was nearly impossible. A combination of mechanical problems with tow planes or the gliders and the unpredictable weather foiled planners who often scheduled the gliders to land at different times and in different LZs

 
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h-hawk

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Wow. One of 6,000 US solders were trained for gliders. Dropped with the airborne.

U.S. and British doctrine made assault glider operations an integral part of the paratroop infantry, but the glider infantry did not wear parachutes. They rode their gliders to the ground and into battle. It is regrettable that Allied military planners did not better heed the costly results of Germany’s May 1941 assault on Crete. It became known as the “graveyard of the Germany airborne” division. The British army defenders on the island exacted a heavy toll on the 13,000 attacking German airborne troops. Seven hundred and fifty infantry soldiers successfully landed on Crete in gliders. The defenders shot down 350 glider tow planes and paratroop transports and casualties among the glider and airborne soldiers numbered more than 5,100 killed or wounded. The vital lesson of Crete was that coordinating large formations of tow planes and gliders to arrive at their landing zones (LZ) on time was nearly impossible. A combination of mechanical problems with tow planes or the gliders and the unpredictable weather foiled planners who often scheduled the gliders to land at different times and in different LZs

Due to those losses, the Germans never again employed high numbers of paratroops as airborne forces. But of course, they still fought everywhere as highly regarded infantry.
 

h-hawk

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Favorite D-Day books - The Longest Day-Ryan
Omaha Beach D-Day-Balkoski
Decision in Normandy - D'Este
Favorite D-Day related movies - (Superb Band of Brothers segments deserves mention though not film.)
The Longest Day
Saving Private Ryan
 

onlyTheObvious

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Would have been a lot worse in the following hours if Hitler wasn’t a drug addict by then and the generals were too scared to call up the reserve tanks because that would have required waking Hitler.

Rommel knew it was the real deal and not a diversion because the US wasn’t mining the waters around Normandy. If Calais was the real invasion point the Allie’s wouldn’t have been mining the surrounding waters (which they were).
 

rchawk

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In one of Ambrose's books there is a black and white photo of a bunch of paratroopers taken in a French town, a day or two after they jumped. There are still traces of black greasepaint on their faces. They are unshaven and look grubby. Probably didn't smell that good either. Half of them have cigarettes in their lips or between their fingers.

On the whole, they look like twenty of the last guys in the world you would want to f*** with. They were probably 19-25 years old. In that time and place they were killers.

You look at the faces for a while and wonder who came home.
 

onlyTheObvious

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In one of Ambrose's books there is a black and white photo of a bunch of paratroopers taken in a French town, a day or two after they jumped. There are still traces of black greasepaint on their faces. They are unshaven and look grubby. Probably didn't smell that good either. Half of them have cigarettes in their lips or between their fingers.

On the whole, they look like twenty of the last guys in the world you would want to f*** with. They were probably 19-25 years old. In that time and place they were killers.

You look at the faces for a while and wonder who came home.
Sadly lots of alcoholism and child/spousal abuse. What some soldiers saw in the European and especially pacific theaters is unimaginable. Japan made inhumanity of prisoners a policy in an attempt to get the US to negotiate.
 
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JupiterHawk

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r-o-r-Eisenhower_d-day.jpg
 

jamesvanderwulf

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Several hours of documentary on History Channel this morning. WWII in color on the Smithsonian channel at 10 tonight. War History Online has thousands of pages on wars from the Romans to today. Interesting stories, photos and facts...

 
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seminole97

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The original anti-fascists.
Nope.

Antifaschistische Aktion was a militant anti-fascist organization in the Weimar Republic started by members of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) that existed from 1932 to 1933.

440px-Antifa_Her_zu_uns.svg.png
 

goldmom

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My Dad was a 19 year old who landed on D+3. Oldest Child (of 10) of Irish immigrants, from a block in suburban NYC, full of immigrant parents whose boys went back overseas to defeat an evil madman. Two Polish families, a Dutch family, a Greek family, and two other Irish families.
Amazingly all their boys came home. Daddy was nearly killed in the Battle of the Bulge, though. He couldn’t even talk about the War until the 80’s when we were all grown up.
 
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PhoenixHawk5.0

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Would have been a lot worse in the following hours if Hitler wasn’t a drug addict by then and the generals were too scared to call up the reserve tanks because that would have required waking Hitler.

Rommel knew it was the real deal and not a diversion because the US wasn’t mining the waters around Normandy. If Calais was the real invasion point the Allie’s wouldn’t have been mining the surrounding waters (which they were).
To be fair Rommel also went home for a vacation and took his wife a gift from Paris.
 

TheCainer

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As mentioned every year, the wife’s paternal grandfather went into Normandy in the wee hours of June 6th in a glider. I was looking at a replica of those gliders at the Air Force museum outside of Dayton a few years ago, and tried to imagine what he felt? Plow boy from Indiana living his life, then war breaks out, and at age 26 chugging through the darkness until you smash into the ground in a barely controlled landing.
And THEN he had to look for the fascists, unlike today.

I can just imagine. 😉
 

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