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Monday, June 06, 2005

June 6, 1944 - D-Day

Troops wade onshore at Omaha Beach - taken by a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer

"we will accept nothing less than full victory."
-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

This day in 1944, 160,000 Allied troops hit the sands on a 50-mile long stretch of sand in Normandy, France. The operation was supported by nearly 13,000 aircraft (close to 9,000 of those American), and more than 5,000 ships.

9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded.

U.S. Army divisions involved in the ground assault were:
1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One)
2nd Infantry Division
4th Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
8th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division
28th Infantry Division
29th Infantry Division
30th Infantry Division
35th Infantry Division
79th Infantry Division
83rd Infantry Division
90th Infantry Division
2nd Armored Division
3rd Armored Division
4th Armored Division
6th Armored Division
82nd Airborne Division
For a detailed list of all involved units, go here

The U.S. Navy, in Operation Overlord, participated in the largest amphibious landing in history. Allied Naval forces did more than just transport troops -

- Minesweepers combed the waters for anti-ship mines.

- "Frogmen" - demolition swimmers - swam ashore in order to destroy obstacles that would harm landing craft.

- Transports carried troops to the pre-landing area, and landing craft took them to the beaches.

- Cruisers, Destroyers, and Battleships bombarded German fortifications.

- Naval beach battalions braved fire to handle logistics and tend to the wounded.

The U.S. Air Force was multi-tasking, too:

- The 8th U.S. Air Force deployed 1,729 bombers, dropping 3,596 tons of bombs. It suffered three losses.

- Heavy bombers also struck choke points near the beaches.

- 900 aircraft, and 100 gliders, dropped the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions behind enemy lines.

- Forward air controllers landed with U.S. Army Infantry units in order to direct bombers.

- 8th and 9th Air Force p-38's provided air cover for convoys approaching the beaches.

- B-26's and fighters attacked transporation targets and airfields, and supported heavy bombers attacking the shore defenses.

U.S. Marines were there - although perhaps not as big a part of common knowledge, U.S. Marine officers helped in the planning stages of the invasion, and the Jarheads did a few other things, too.

And the U.S. Coast Guard? They participated as well. 4 US Coast Guard landing craft (LCI's) were destroyed on D-Day. They helped to land the Big Red One on Omaha beach. Four Coast Guard-manned LST's carried British troops and equipment to Juno, Sword, and Gold beaches.

D-Day - General information
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation
Survivors Share Memories Of D-Day
The National D-Day Museum


Air Force
USAAF Chronology - D-Day
The United States Army Air Forces in WWII - D-Day
The Mighty Eighth

Navy Art Gallery Exhibit - The Normandy Invasion
D-Day Information at the Naval Historical Center

GyG's Old Corps Legends, Myths, etc.

U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard at Normandy

D-Day on the Blogs
The Laughing Wolf
Mudville Gazette

Must Read WWII Books
by Gerald Astor

The Greatest War, Volume I - From Pearl Harbor to the Kasserine Pass
The Greatest War, Volume II - D-Day and the Assault on Europe
The Greatest War, Volume III - The Battle of the Bulge to Hiroshima

I read these myself, and I couldn't put them down. I had only known the sanitized version of WWII from my school days until I decided to find out more on my own. These books take you from start to finish of the American involvement, and are filled with personal accounts and information I'd never found anywhere else.

Michael Yon : Online Magazine

hat tip to HUGH HEWITT

Michael Yon : Online Magazine
Army troops wade ashore on "Omaha" Beach during the "D-Day" landings. They were brought to the beach by a Coast Guard manned LCVP. (June 6, 1944).
Quote of the Day
"These men are loved with a kind of love that exists no place but on the battlefield -- and it is never talked about. These gents go for days without sleep, give away their clothes, go without food, keep going when they are sick, perform miraculous feats when they are wounded, and take the suicidal details rather than ask someone else to do it. They are never afraid, they are never cold, they never complain, and they spend all of their time trying to think of ways to help their men -- and to save them. I don't know if they are happy -- but if it isn't selflessness I never hope to see it."
-- Carl Schluter, American soldier, in a letter home from Belgium, November, 1944

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from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Today in History
1523 - Gustavus I becomes king of Sweden.
1639 - Massachusetts grants 500 acres of land for construction of a gunpowder mill.
1816 - Following an eruption of Mt. Krakatoa, New England sees a 10" snowfall, during the "year without a summer."
1862 - The city is surrendered after the Battle of Memphis.
1918 - The first U.S. victory of WWI occurs at the Battle of Belleau Wood.
1932 - A Federal gas tax is enacted.
1936 - Aviation gasoline is produced commercially for the first time in Paulsboro, NJ.
1942 - The first nylon parachute jump occurs in Hartford, CT; Japanese forces retreat, ending the Battle of Midway; Nazis burn the village of Lidice Bohemia in order to avenge the killing of
Reinhard Heydrich.
1944 - D-Day: 150,000 troops in the Allied Expeditionary Force land in Normandy, France; Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., receives the Congressional Medal of Honor.
1946 - Henry Morgan becomes the first actor to take his shirt off on TV.
1967 - The Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors begins.
1971 - Air West Flight #706 collides with a Navy Phantom jet over LA, killing 50; Soyuz 11 takes 3 cosmonauts to the Salyut 1 space station.
1975 - The Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam is established.
1977 - The Supreme Court rejects automatic death penalty laws.
1982 - 30,000 Israeli troops invade Lebanon in order to drive out the PLO.
1984 - 1,200 die in the Sikh "Golden Temple" uprising in India.
1985 - The body of Nazi criminal Dr. Josef Mengele is located and exhumed; Soyuz T-13 carries 2 cosmonauts to the Salyut 7 space station.

1755 - Nathan Hale,patriot, said "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country," hanged
1756 - John Trumbull, American painter(Declaration of Independence)
1872 - Alexandra, last Russian czarina
1928 - George Deukmejian (Gov-CA)
1932 - David R. Scott, Col. USAF/astronaut (Gemini 8, Apollo 9, 15)
1933 - Heinrich Rohrer, Swiss physicist / Nobel Prize winner
1935 - Dalai Lama Tibet, Tibetan spiritual leader

1862 - Confederate Brigadier General Turner Ashby, in battle
1967 - Edward G. Givens, Jr., astronaut, auto accident
1968 - Robert F. Kennedy (Sen-NY), assassinated
1976 - J. Paul Getty, oil magnate

Reported Missing in Action
Klusman, Charles F., USN (CA); Escaped August, 1964 - alive and well as of 1998

Son, Ha Van, Commando (Vietnam); Released February, 1989 - alive and well as of 1998

Burgard, Paul E., USMC (OR); Pilot, killed in CH46A crash, remains recovered June, 1968
Harper, Ralph Lewis, USMC (IN); Killed in CH46A crash, body not recovered
LaPlant, Kurt Elton, USMC (KS); Killed in CH46A crash, body not recovered
Palacios, Luis Fernando, USMC (CA); Killed in CH46A crash, body not recovered
Sanchez, Jose R., USMC (NY); Killed in CH46A crash, body not recovered

Fowler, James A., USAF (ND); F4D shot down
Seuell, John W., USAF (ND); F4D shot down