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Friday, June 06, 2008

Today in History - D-Day (Re-post)

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)

"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 they 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

Must-See WWII Movies:
The Big Red One
The Guns of Navarrone
Saving Private Ryan
The Dirty Dozen
Memphis Belle
Band of Brothers
The Great Raid
The Great Escape

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"
"Band of Brothers" and "Beyond Band of Brothers" by Major Dick Winters

Please feel free to add your book / movie suggestions / links in the comments section!

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