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|6th June 2003||D-Day the 6th of June 1944|
By Gary Laliberty
Hi all, I know that this is off topic. But I believe this to be an important day in the history of the world. So, here is a little history of that day: On the eve of June 5, 1944, 175,000 men, a fleet of 5,333 ships and landing craft, 50,000
vehicles, and 11,000 planes sat in southern England, poised to attack secretly across the English
Channel along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast of France. This force was the largest
armada in history and represented years of rigorous training, planning, and supplying. It also
represented a previously unknown level of cooperation between allied nations, all struggling for
a common goal—the defeat of Germany. Because of highly intricate Allied deception plans, Hitler
and his staff believed that the Allies would be attacking at the Pas-de-Calais, the narrowest
point between Great Britain and France.
In the early morning darkness of June 6, thousands of Allied paratroopers and glider troops
landed silently behind enemy lines, securing key roads and bridges on the flanks of the invasion
area. As dawn lit the Normandy coastline the Allies began their amphibious landings, traveling
to the beaches in small landing craft lowered from the decks of larger ships anchored in the
Channel. They assaulted five beaches, code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. By
nightfall nearly all 175,000 men were ashore at a cost of 4,900 Allied casualties. Hitler’s
vaunted Atlantic Wall had been breached in less than one day. The beaches were secure, but it
took many weeks before the Allies could fight their way out of the heavily defended Normandy
countryside and almost a full year to reach and defeat Germany in the spring of 1945.
Operation Overlord was not just another great battle, but the true turning point of WWII in
Europe. While the US and Great Britain had earlier engaged the Axis powers on the periphery of
Europe (North Africa, Sicily, Italy), it was the invasion at Normandy that brought on the
beginning of the end for Hitler and his Nazis. Had the invasion failed (Eisenhower was prepared
to read a statement over the radio taking full responsibility if Allied troops were repulsed from
the beaches), Hitler would have been able to pull troops from France to strengthen his Eastern
Front against the encroaching Soviet Union. A second Allied invasion into France would have
taken more than a year to plan, supply, and assemble. Hitler, meanwhile, would have further
strengthened his Atlantic Wall, his newly developed V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets would have
continued to rain down on England from launching pads across the Channel, and the Nazis’ Final
Solution against European Jews might well have succeeded completely.
|6th June 2003||Martin Everett|
...............and the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment (South Wales Borderers) landed in France on D-Day. Don't forgot to watch BBC TIMEWATCH on D-Day to be shown next year on BBC2.
|6th June 2003||Joseph|
Good job making a connection... so see, its not TOO off topic.
|6th June 2003||Gary Laliberty|
Thanks Martin and Joseph.
And Martin, you know how we Americans can sometimes forget things.
Just to add a little to what Martin said;
The 2/24th were the only Welsh Battalion to take part in the Normandy landings on D-Day. They landed at Le Hamel at midday, captured the bridge at Vaux-sur-Aisne, and by the end of the day had covered more ground than any other battalion in the assault.
And for the next eleven months they fought through France (Sully, Caen, Falaise, Risle Crossing, Le Havre), Belgium (Antwerp-Turnhout Canal) and Holland (Zetten, Arnhem), ending up in Hamburg, Germany in May 1945.
|6th June 2003||Arthur Bainbridge|
We owe these guys our freedom a heartfelt thankyou your all heroes.God Bless.