"In the final choice, a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Welcome to a MilBlogs And Friends Special Edition of the Sixtieth Anniversary of D-Day! On June 6th, 1944, over 150,000 men landed by air and sea in Normandy to liberate Europe from Nazi oppression. Operation Overlord planned for the invasion of the 50-mile stretch of coast to be completed in just 24 hours.
First, I must thank Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette who brought us all together and provided the graphic above. He's our Eisenhower (or maybe Patton).
Below you will find links to extraordinary bloggers telling the stories of D-Day from their unique perspectives. Instead of term paper descriptions, you'll see the beaches and cliffs of the Normandy coast, you'll read letters of the survivors and hear about the great sacrifices made by our neighbors to the north...and you'll never forget the Greatest Generation.
Let us begin:
- Joe Katzman (Blackfive's favorite Cannuck) at Winds of Change covers one of my parts of D-Day - The Canadians at Juno. The Canadians had some of the toughest fighting ahead of them on Juno Beach, and their objective was to stop the Germans from targeting the Americans on Omaha Beach. They performed brilliantly on June 6th, driving deeper into France than any other landing - and engaging the 21st Panzer before it could crush the American beachhead at Omaha. This is the story of one of the Canadians in Juno's first wave: Jim Wilkins, B Company, The Queen's Own Rifles. Includes a map and photo.
Chap of Chapomatic has written a post about the X-Craft - a small submarine that the Royal Navy used during the invasion and the impact it has on Chap's job today in the US Navy.
Sgt. Hook has a post about the valiant Coast Guard coxwains who were part of the landing. A Coast Guard coxswain on an LCVP later remarked, “My eyes were glued to the boat coming in next to ours, and on the water in between, boiling with bullets from hidden shore emplacements, like a mud puddle in a hailstorm. It seemed impossible that we could make it in without being riddled.”
Grim Beorn of Grim's Hall has written about the Scot's role in the Invasion of Normandy. Grim adds in an email, "Since BBC Scotland has decided not to do a D-Day memorial for the Scots who fought there, we who have not forgotten will try."
Winds of Change guest blogger J.K.L. has a piece about the deceptions that were launched to keep the Germans guessing. Imagine preparing to land more than 1,000,000 men on 50 miles of beach. There will be more than 2,700 ships, 2,500 landing craft and 700 warships. Preparations for an assault on this scale couldn't be hidden or kept totally secret, so what could be done protect the identity of the actual target and confuse the enemy?
Dennis Morehouse of Fix Bayonetts has a post - Rescue at Normandy-The Matchstick Fleet - which tells the tale of the Coast Guard's 400 rescues during the D-Day landing.
Serenity has a post about the personal accounts of the heroes of D-Day. She provides pictures and links to more information about them.
Mammamontezz has written a poem - "Red Surf" - that'll be one of the most heartfelt poems you've read in a long, long time.
Charlie of Budaechigae has a post about one of the most interesting characters of the war - a Korean who was conscripted into the Japanese Army, captured by the Russians, conscripted into the Red Army, captured by the Germans, forced to defend portion of Utah Beach, and captured by the US Forces.
Blake of Laughing Wolf has an excellent post about the deception efforts - D-Day + 60 Years: The Maskirova (the deception by General George Patton). It's an amazing story.
Dogtulosba Ink. has an examination of the German Fortress Europe defenses from a US Army Engineer perspective. He'll have more later on what our Engineers did to breech those defenses.
Teresa of Technicalities posts about the news media reaction to D-Day. As Teresa writes, "To those waiting at home it was not a day for rejoicing, it was a day for prayer, hope, fear, and contemplation."
Patti of Iraq War News - and who is related to George Patton - provides memories of the Patton family about one of General Patton's aides. For those who have seen the movie Patton, you'll instantly know which aide is remembered.
Deb from Marine Corps Moms has a great post (titled appropriately enough) - Home Front. As the allied forces fought for victory on the beaches of Normandy, those at home waited, watched, and worried. The home front was a vital part of the war effort and everyone was urged to contribute. Are things different today? Yes and no. The home front is still a vital part of the war effort and everyone can contribute.
Ith of Absinthe and Cookies has a really interesting post about the brave women of Britain's Special Operation Executive who risked torture and death at the hands of the Nazis collecting vital intelligence for the Allies in occupied Europe.
Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette is forecasting the weather and will be talking of the war soon.
Jennifer of Jennifer's History and Stuff has a series about what life in France was like before the invasion - French History: The Occupation. Jennifer writes, "...the Occupation is the most-studied period of French history."
Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping has written about The awful stakes of D-Day: The alternate history of June 6, 1944 is too terrible to contemplate. He describes D-Day as one of the "pivot days of human history."
Eric the Straight White Guy has a post (his words, not mine) about "...a few jarheads that were present during the landing on Normandy."
John Cole of Balloon Juice writes about the men who fought in D-Day from the small town of Bedford, Virginia. His post has pictures, maps, and accounts of the Virginians.
Harvey of Bad Example (a former Sailor) has a post about the humor of the day. Why do a post about the humor of WWII and D-Day? According to Harv, "Because back during the early 40's, Americans didn't fear their enemies. They made fun of them."
Vox of Vox Popoli writes of the memories of war and how those of us of later generations remember their sacrifices.
Emigre with a Digital Cluebat offers up a poem dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day.
David of Airborne Combat Engineer has a post about the role of the Airborne Forces (Paratroopers and Gliders) in Operation Overlord.
Paul at Iraq War News has a photo-filled post about Combat Photographers.
Drill Sergeant Rob of An American Soldier takes a look at the way the soldiers of Operation Overlord trained for war, from Basic Training to the Devon Coast in England prior to the invasion. And a look at how it parallels some of the training we conduct today, including how little the basics have changed over the last sixty years.
Michael at The Common Virtue has an interesting post about the Enigma machine. Captured German communications played a key role in defeating the Axis powers. The German military used the Enigma machine, a typewritter-like device, to code transmissions. With the help of captured Enigma machines, the German codes were broken and the Allied nations were able to monitor German troop movements and supply routes. These same codes lead to information, and disinformation, in conjuction with Operation Overlord on D-Day.
Andrew Olmstead has a post about the training our troops underwent for preparation for landing at Normandy. He includes the high price some training excercises incurred and their impact on D-Day.
Hans Nyberg has some really cool panorama photo shots of the D-Day locations. Check out the Pointe du Hoc to see how it must have looked to the Army Rangers. There is also the Pegasus Bridge, St. Mere Eglise, and the HMS Belfast.
Juliette of Baldilocks has posted President Reagan's speech atop the cliffs of the Pointe du Hoc.
Sarah of Trying to Grok has written about perceptions of D-Day by German students and thanks Joe and Tommy.
Cool Blue Blog has a post about Omaha Beach and the USS Arkansas (his father served aboard the Arkansas).
Paul at Sanity's Edge has a post about the Bangalore torpedoes and a link to the Reed Interview.
OkieMinnie Me has a post about the Minnesota Air Wing's role in D-Day (the same Air Wing that her husband serves in today).
SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse has a post about one of the Greatest Generation and the difference between the young Americans of 1944 and 2004.
[Edit note: This post will stay a the top of Blackfive through June 6th. More links will be added every day through the sixth.]