06/06/06 – D-Day Anniversary

I’d probably be having a lot of fun with the whole 666 thing, but as today is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Europe, I think I’ll dwell on that instead.


That picture, taken by Robert Capa at ‘Bloody’ Omaha Beach, says an awful lot.

Last year, I wondered what today’s media would have to say about D-Day. Omaha Beach, in particular, had enough errors in judgment, planning, and execution to fill volumes of critical commentary. But our guys refused to give in and carried the day at great cost.

For a lot of information on the planning and execution of the Omaha Beach landings, check out Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory by Adrian R. Lewis.

(Blackfive has an “awesome…simply awesome” D-Day Blogburst. When you finish this go check it out.)

Though merely a Hollywood film, I think most of us will agree that the opening sequence of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is legendary. I realize that the movies, no matter how many accolades from veterans they receive, can never really re-create actual combat. But those twenty minute are as close to actual combat as Murdoc wants to get.

The moment in that film (which has many ‘moments’) that resonates with me the strongest is the moment when the troops are in chaos, pinned down at the seawall and being systematically slaughtered. Nothing has gone right and they do not hold the beach. They want to know what to do.

The answer? “Gather weapons and ammo.”


  1. Y’know, they had those bouncing bombs. Imagine if they had led off the invasion with a butt load of those. Picture it skipping along, rolling up the beach and hitting that wall. and that pillbox in SPR and bam, 11,000 pounds of explosive, makes that the route off the beach… Only major tactical blunders of the invasion that Im aware of is failure of the Sherman swimmer tanks to make it to the beach in Omaha. And the failure to have a couple of DD’s ready to back up any beach that had serious problems. Still, not bad for such a massive operation.

  2. Aaron: Why do I get the feeling that if GW Bush had been President in 1944 we’d be hearing all about all the unforgivable errors made on D-Day by the decepticons from you?

  3. Those ‘bouncing bombs’-and I’m assuming you’re referring to the ones used by the famous ‘Dambusters’ wouldn’t have worked on D-Day. They required calm, flat water to skip the way they did, something that was quite absent off the coast of Normandy on 6 June 1944. And I’m not so sure the failure to get the swimmer tanks ashore was a tactical one so much as overestimating their ability to deal with the rough surf. The biggest error in decision making, IMO, was made by the Americans in choosing not to build/employ any of the ‘funny’ tanks employed by the Brits-to quite good effect-other than the swimmers. The other, and even more inexcusable, error, was in not properly planning, training, and resourcing for how to deal with the hedgerows the lay beyond the beaches. It’s not like their existence was a secret-they’d been there for centuries. But in planning every detail of the invasion, they neglected to look that far beyond the beaches.

  4. One of the un-reported stories is about the DDs that were off Omaha. The squadron commander was unwilling to risk all of his DDs in the shallows but, they couldn’t tell who was who from safe water. So he took his DD in until it ran aground. Still couldn’t tell who was who but, one of the Duplex-Shermans had made it ashore and when it fired, he ordered a broadside at what it shot at. The hatch on the tank opened, the tank cmdr looked out at them and waved, then proceeded to target for them. He fired at a target (MG or Mortar position) and the DD fired 4 broadsides (20 5′ rounds) at where he fired. Almost 1000 rounds fired. Lightened them up enough to get back underway. Omaha broke out within three hours of that incident. The ID of the tank (and its crew) is unknown, it did not survive.