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Old 06-06-2014, 03:58 AM
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Default D-Day after 70 years

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the U.S.-led Allied armada crossed the English Channel to launch an offensive that would help lead to the defeat of the Third Reich. World leaders, including President Obama, will journey to France to commemorate the occasion. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers died or were wounded.

While most in the U.S. know of the bloody scenes that immediately follow the beaching of amphibious craft on the shores of Normandy, the brunt of the fighting took place far from the coast. Some 20,000 French civilians would perish in the crossfire, most killed by Allied bombing. Allied and German forces engaged in pitched, chaotic skirmishes throughout the picturesque Norman countryside, marked by hedgerows and old stone-and-steeple towns. Bitter fighting between U.S. forces and crack German paratroop regimes took place by St. Lo, which was reduced to rubble.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...n-of-normandy/

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https://www.google.com/search?q=d-da...w=1252&bih=558

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Just a few months ago my family lost our last W.W. II family member who was a coxswain ferrying GI's to Omaha Beach.

He was a plank owner, who saw many of our GI's being lost as they stormed the beach, or lost because they drown once off the boat because they had too much weight on their backs.

Let us never forget those veterans who are still alive and those who lost their lives on this historic day.
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Old 06-06-2014, 10:47 AM
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Yah, I woke up this AM thinking about Operation Neptune/Overlord.

And I was thinking that even though it hastened the defeat of the Nazi Reich,

that the main thrust from a US foreign policy standpoint was to make sure that the Commies didn't take over all of Europe.

Quote:
For retired engineer Lyudmila Krylova, 67, the timing had to do with political ideology.

"Because the West had a very bad attitude towards the Communist Soviet Union at that time and was interested in preventing Communism from spreading across Europe - that's why probably political leaders in the West were not interested in such a triumphal victory of the Red Army and a swift end of the war," she said.
No doubt that the Nazi Reich needed to be whipped. And no doubt that allied bombing of the infrastructure did massive massive damage to their war machine. But also no doubt that the Russian armies were on a roll and likely would have defeated Germany even without US/Brit assistance.

The summer of 1944, beginning 16 days later was a massive Russian thrust through the German Eastern Front Center.

I appreciate the courage of the amphibious landings at Normandy, as well as the tactical and strategic war by the western allies in Europe. Likely it saved the French, Germans, Dutch, Danes and Belgians from the fate of Eastern Europe (40 years of Communism)

D-Day is certainly a day to remember.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasher View Post
Just a few months ago my family lost our last W.W. II family member who was a coxswain ferrying GI's to Omaha Beach.

He was a plank owner, who saw many of our GI's being lost as they stormed the beach, or lost because they drown once off the boat because they had too much weight on their backs.

Let us never forget those veterans who are still alive and those who lost their lives on this historic day.
Talk about balls of steel!

I never really considered the coxswains (and related positions) until I read Ambrose's D-Day.

We see Saving Private Ryan or The Longest Day or whatever, and we think about the guys storming the beach, and for God's sake, that was incredible bravery. Rushing toward the sound of the gun, looking down its barrel, is certainly a terrifying prospect.

But then think about the coxswain. He didn't stumble (no one actually "ran" or "stormed" by any reasonable measure) onto the beach. Instead, he had all of a steering wheel for cover as he went in as far as he could, disgorged 20 or so men from, for lack of a better description, a glorified johnboat, had to sit there as a stationary target while people got off the boat (which could take several minutes; you try staying in place for several minutes with bullets whizzing past), and then chug back to the "mother ship" (top speed of maybe 7 knots on a good day) to get more guys to take to the beach. All the while, you, as coxswain, could do nothing but hope that you didn't get an 88mm shell dropped on you or your very-large-target boat and/or shot in the back on your way back out into incredibly rough seas, again in a glorified johnboat.

And as a coxswain, you did this over and over again, ALL DAY during D-Day, when the beach was anything but what anyone would call "secure" until about twelve hours after the invasion actually started.



What those guys did was truly incredible.
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