By lex, on June 6th, 2009
Sixty-five years after the fact, I still wonder how they did it.
156,000 US and allied forces crossed the English channel to face 380,000 battle hardened, well-entrenched Axis soldiers that had industriously used two years of relative calm to build reinforced concrete bunkers and overlapping fields of fire. By the end of the day, over 6,000 US servicemen would fall, nearly 1500 of whom would never rise again. And there would be much more hard fighting left to come before the landing force would breakout from the Normandy beachhead.
The Armorer has much more, including this letter from a grateful French liaison officer serving alongside the 82nd in Afghanistan. The French government has not forgotten either – John “Harry” Kellers returns to France to be recognized as a Chevalier in the Légion d’honneur. His first trip there was as an 18-year old sailor serving a gun on an amphibious landing craft.
Naval forces * played their role both on the on the beaches as well as offshore, according to German Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt:**
The enemy had deployed very strong Naval forces off the shores of the bridgehead. These can be used as quickly mobile, constantly available artillery, at points where they are necessary as defence against our attacks or as support for enemy attacks. During the day their fire is skillfully directed by . . . plane observers, and by advanced ground fire spotters. Because of the high rapid-fire capacity of Naval guns they play an important part in the battle within their range. The movement of tanks by day, in open country, within the range of these naval guns is hardly possible.
The liberation of France started when each, individual man on those landing craft as the ramp came down – each paratroop in his transport when the light turned green – made the individual decision to step off with the only life he had and face the fire.
How did they do it?
Back To The Index
By lex, on December 16th, 2008
Today that’s often taken to mean bravely foregoing a second croissant. Sixty-four years ago today, the term had a very different connotation indeed.
Having successfully lodged and expanded a beach head in Normandy in June of 1944, Allied forces spent the rest of that month and most of July trying to breakout through the French hedgerows – a brutal battle of attrition requiring on-the-battlefield innovation.
By lex, on May 24th, 2008
Read the story of Ross McGinnis – son, juvenile delinquent, soldier, hero, Medal of Honor winner:
By lex, on May 1st, 2008
“Laws control the lesser man,” wrote Mark Twain, who concluded by saying, “right conduct controls the greater one.”
Vice President Cheney pinned (PFC Monica) Brown, of Lake Jackson, Tex., with a Silver Star in March for repeatedly risking her life on April 25, 2007, to shield and treat her wounded comrades, displaying bravery and grit. She is the second woman since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest combat medal.
By lex, on January 16th, 2008
Army Rangers on a raid hunting an al Qaeda assassination cell in Mosul on Christmas morning got an unwelcome present: The sight of two gunmen playing the “human shield” game. Unfortunately for the terrorists, it’s hard for two grown men to hide behind an eleven year old child. Using precise fires, the Rangers killed both men, leaving the child unharmed.
That’s when it started to get interesting:
By Lex, on Sun – May 29, 2005
This won’t be deep, or moving. It won’t challenge your assumptions or change your world view. There will be no blinding revelation at the end, something that ties it all together in a neat emotional bow.
Loss isn’t like that.
And we have given so much of our best recently, for a goal whose end seems nearly as far away today as ever it did.
Memorial Day, now two years on – has it really only been two years? Somehow it seems longer. Somehow I have a hard time clearly remembering a time when we weren’t at war. I have a hard time remembering when young men and women didn’t gain a moment’s fame on page two of the local paper under the heading “Daily developments “:
By Lex, on Thu – May 5, 2005
By now, being who you are, you’ve seen that picture from Mosul. The one of the dying Iraqi child , being held by the Army major.
Read on then.
Click on the picture for hi-res, if you can stand it.