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Sunday, 31 August 2014

D-Day

On D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944, the Allies succeed on landing in occupied France, a turning point in World War II.

Prior to the landings, a Scottish spiritualist and medium Helen Duncan was arrested as authorities that her alleged clairvoyant powers might betray the planned date of D-Day.

To plan for the operation the BBC ran a competition for pictures of French beaches. It was in fact a rouse to help gather intelligence on suitable beaches for an amphibious landing.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, as commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, agonized on the date to launch the invasion. Several days of bad weather made aircraft reconnaissance impossible and seas too rough for the landing craft.

A break in the weather was forecast for June 6th. Early that morning, German defenders on bluffs overlooking the beaches were stunned to peer out over the English Channel and see nearly 5,000 ships.

It was the largest seaborne invasion in history: 7,000 ships took part.

156,000 Allied US, British, and Canadian troops landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. The allied soldiers quickly broke through the Atlantic Wall and pushed inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history. Many felt the hand of God was involved in providing the crucial weather break needed to launch the invasion.

Men of the 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Infantry Division wade ashore on Omaha Beach

Combat photographer George Hjorth parachuted into France three nights before D-day with three film cameras. His mission was to hide in front of the German lines at Normandy and film whatever happened on the beach. He completed the mission successfully, but the film is lost in the archives.

As a wartime member of the Parachute Regiment, the actor Richard Todd was one of the first to be dropped into Normandy during D-Day. In The Longest Day, the 1962 film about the Allied invasion, he played Major John Howard, who led the D-Day assault of Pegasus Bridge.

Actor James Doohan, famous for his role as Scotty from the original Star Trek television series, fought in D-Day as a lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Artillery. He was shot six times that day,

The film-maker and actor Mel Brooks was a combat engineer, Corporal Melvin Kaminsky in World War II, landing on the Normandy Beaches in June 1944. His main job was clearing land mines.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr,  the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was the only general to land on the beaches during D-Day. Although he was the oldest man on the beach and walked with a cane, he was the first man out of his landing craft. He recited poetry and joked with his men to keep them calm. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Although the landings turned out to be a resounding success, Eisenhower hedged his bets by keeping in his pocket a communiqué announcing the failure of the landings and accepting full responsibility.

Juan Pujol Garcia was a British double agent during WWII. He told Hitler D-Day would happen at the Strait of Dover, earning him the German Iron Cross. It was actually carried out at Normandy, earning him the British MBE.

The “D” in D-Day stands for “Day” to reiterate its military importance.

During the D-Day landings, British soldiers identified one another by calling the word "fish". The response, signifying an ally, was "chips".

4% of the sand in Normandy today is made up of metal particles from D-Day.

Source Good News Magazine

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