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D-DAY The 5th of June 1944

O

O.C.

Guest
Shortly before midnight on June 5th.1944, the familiar drone hundreds of aeroplane engines above the south coast of Britain caused people to lift the black-out curtains of their rooms and peer up at the sky. For months the noise of Allied bombers going out and returning had been heard, but that night it seemed to be much louder than before.
In the months past it had heralded the blasting of gun-sites, the destruction of airfield runways, the demolition of bridges, all over northern and western France. During May alone the Anglo-American Air Forces had unloaded more than 20,000 tons of bombs there, systematically destroying, communications between the German coastal armies and their bases further inland. Fifty out of 82 main rail centres had been destroyed, and 25 more damaged,only three bridges over the River Seine remained available to bear traffic. But by June 5th the signal for invasion had been given, The planes, 1,300 strong, were going to blast ten coastal batteries between Le Havre and Cherbourg, in the home airports all the way from Devon to Kent, paratroops, with emergency rations, were already on board the gliders and transport planes which within an hour or two would spill them out all over the Cherbourg Peninsula and the country before Caen. More than a thousand ships of all sizes, from giant liners to dirty tramp steamers and small coastal craft, filled every harbour, packed to their gunwales with machinery and plant for sowing the seeds of freedom on French soil tanks, guns, ammunition boxes, shells, wagons, medical supplies, food, repair outfits all loaded according to carefully arranged schedules, so that first things might be the first available. Under their hatches nearly a quarter of a million men sprawled and talked and smoked and slept.
Out at sea it was blowing hard, a wind which despite much resistance was to uproot German power and scatter it back across the frontier. For this was the dawn of D-Day, the moment for which countless millions of oppressed people throughout Europe waited and prayed. The Germans, however, knew nothing until the bombs crashed down on their batteries and the parachutists floated to earth. Paratroops seized a couple of bridges near Caen, and held them despite a violent reaction. Some landed in fields, others close to the coast, and collecting themselves, rushed for their immediate objectives. One glider spilled its occupants into the main street of Ste. Mere - Eglise, the astonished enemy surrendering without a fight, at other places fighting was both bitter and bloody. Meanwhile, before dawn the great armada had got under way, guarded by twin forces of light warships, British under Rear-Admiral Sir Philip Vian on one side, American under Rear-Admiral A. G. Kirk on the other. A special scratch force of small craft acted as a screen against U-boats and E-boats. "H.M.SS. Nelson", "Warspite" and "Ramillies" lent the weight of their 15 in. and 16 in. guns to the bombardment of almost every place along the Seine Bay, as did three American battleships, and behind this screen landing ships and landing craft passed inshore and discharged tanks and men, often in five feet of water.
The tanks were waterproofed, when they crawled out of the ocean the water proofing was blown off. General Montgomery, who commanded the operation, had given one comprehensive order, "Don't stop on the beaches, but get inland as far as you can."
And so the story unfolded..................................
 

The Baron

master brummie
Just one of the many D DAY waterproof tanks. a   "Sherman" you can see the canvas apron pulled up around the body of the tank
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Nice photo Aston
If you have ever been to Tenby and gone across to Caldey Island, you land on a Pre-fabricated pier or section that was bought back from Normandy the famous Mulberry harbour, concrete section that were towed out by 85 tugs across the Channel to make a floating Mole (Harbour)a mile offshore so all the supplies could be landed and drove straight on to the shore, a piece of sheer genius in design and thinking
 
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Beryl M

Guest
D-Day. June 6th 1944. -

D-Day. June 6th 1944. - The longest day.- The breaching of the Atlantic Wall.- The striking of a major blow to Nazi Germany, forcing it to defend itself, on a third front besides Italy and Eastern Europe.

The landings in Normandy that day by British, Canadian and American troops, supported by thousands of Allied aircraft and ships opened a new chapter in the story of World War11 one that was key to ending the war in Europe a year later

D-Day was also monumental date in the lives of thousands who took part in the invasion and millions who followed the events from elsewhere!

The first task was crossing the Channel from England to France. From the mother ship there would be barges that would carry 30 to 40 men to the beach. Visibility limited due to smoke and flashing lights on shore guided them to the beach –there they would drive in until the barge scraped, lower the end gate and unload. This started at daybreak and continued till nightfall, picking up troops, taking them to the beach, backing out, turning around and returning as quickly as possible. What a terrible thing to watch the men go ashore seasick- frightened wet and cold while their buddies were dying right and left …….

The Allied plan of attack called for three airborne divisions, including two American - one British including the 1st Cdn Parachute Battalion to secure the flanks the night before the seaborne invaders were to touch down. Then the Americans were to land on the two westernmost beaches Utah and Omaha The British in the centre Gold beach and the Easternmost flank Sword. The third Canadian Inf. Division was to hit Juno beach between the British landing beaches.

To no ones surprise nothing went as planned – the hardest struggle was at Omaha beach where the Americans suffered terrible casualties The underwater and beach defenses of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall posed a deadly threat to landing craft.. Despite the underwater mines regiments made it to the beach faced a withering enemy!

Now the Germans’ main forces came into play - But what shook Canadian solders- they soon learned that captured soldiers were murdered by SS troops and in some cases ground to pulp under tank treads. The SS troops became the most hated troops faced by Canadians

The fighting went on and next the 13th SS troops hammered Regina’s Rifles and Winnipeg’s Queens own Rifles.

After the dust had cleared the battered Regina’s still held there positions as did all the divisions units. Both sides had taken heavy casualties and lost many tanks while the Canadian Artillery had begun to establish its dominancy The German attempt to drive the Canadians- the British and the American forces into the sea had failed. The battle of the bridgehead was over and the Canadian’s had won.

The Americans launching Operation Cobra had broken out of the hedgerows and Hitler ordered a counter attack with the Nazis moving west there was the opportunity to trap German forces in Normandy in a giant pocket and bag the lot.

More than a thousand British and Canadian bombers dropped the bombs successfully – but churned up so much dust they couldn’t see the Germans. Americans roared into to hit Nazi positions, but their bombs fell short, pounding Canadian and Polish positions – A tragedy - three hundred were killed or wounded.

At last the enemy resistance slackened under the weight of fire and superior numbers.

The cost of victory was terrible from D-Day to August 23 150,000 troops stormed Normandy beaches. About 2,500 GI's died on the beaches and 2,600 paratroopers died. And 3,100 Germans died.

Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1000 on Gold Beach and the same number on Sword Beach.
The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000 casualties at Omaha Beach.

Canadian casualties 18,444 with 5,021 killed. Was it worth? Was it worth the death and maiming the shattered hopes, the ruination of lives? There can only be one answer that Hitler and his Nazis were a monstrous evil that had to be destroyed, and the Allies had to invade France to do so. As a partner in the war on freedom Canadians had to carry their share of the burden. And they did. The liberation of France was an Allied victory on which Canadians did their full part. Freedom survived. Was it worth it? Oh Yes!
 
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mike jenks

master brummie
D Day 6th of June

Hi

I only have one person who ever told me about that Day Landings.
My Apprentice Supervisor Harry Evans.
In his words he said the front of the Landing crafy came crashing down
and you just ran. The sky was full of bullets and explosions but you
just kept and running to the Sand Dunes at the Top of the beach
and dived in for Cover. All around me mates were hit but you just
dug in. Terrible expereince he said but you just had to do it.
It was no picnic Mike he said turned his back walked away and
never said a word.
Clearly in the wider view it was an amazing victory over Hitlers
Atlantic Wall and what we owe these guy's for what they did
for us today is incalculable.

Mike
 
B

Beryl M

Guest
D-Day June 6 1944

Seasickness and fear as the beaches draw near. Overhead artillery booms illuminating the Normandy morning with the first flashes of battle. Soldiers in landing craft, donning their gear saying final prayers, as bullets pierce the air announcing the enemy. . .

Landing craft doors slap the angry surf, men jump into too deep waters, some carried by the weight of their loads or murderous fire, to the bosom of Neptune. Others bravely wade to shore, amid the ordinance, obstacles, blood and bodies of their comrades. Then rush to meagre shelter by the sea wall as the officer shouts that only the dead and the soon to be dead will remain on these beaches under fire.

The armada of a thousand ships at dawn grow fear and stubborn determination in the German defenders, and hope in the hearts of French civilians. Their resistance emerges into the light, as they pray these liberators shall prevail against their oppressors.

D-Day, June 6 1944 The beginning of the end of the greatest conflict in history, the freedom we now enjoy born with from this day’s terrible labour, Leaving debts to the soldiers living and dead that can never be repaid. . . Except that we are thankful, and promise never to forget their great sacrifices.
 
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