Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6, 1944

Today is the 64 anniversary of D-Day.

Some of my favorite quotes of that era:

"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

"Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!"Winston Churchill - September 1940 (Have you ever read about what the British people and the RAF went through in the Battle of Britain? Wow! Do some research on that one.)

"We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old." - Winston Churchill

A little side note here:
Getting ready for Operation Overlord (Code name for D-Day) required a lot of men and equipment to be on the coast of Britain. The British knew the Germans would notice so they decided to pull wool over the German's eyes.

The High Command assigned General George Patton to the 1st U.S. Army Group, - he was one a well know General, he took command of it at it's base near the British coast, and- through the appropriate channels- the High Command let the German spies know that General Patton would have the honor of leading the invasion of Europe through Calais.

(If you've ever read the Scarlet Pimpernel you probably know where this is...if not it's directly across from Dover, England. It's the shortest breadth of the English Channel)

In response to this info, the Germans moved nineteen divisions from the Normandy Coastline into and around Calais.....
and Checked out the 1st U.S. Army Group's base from the air. There was indeed a large build up of Tanks and Men...but from the air, what the pilots couldn't tell was that the Men were dummies and the tanks were made of plywood!! It was a completely Fictitious army. General Patton was there to lend credibility and there were guards, but no actual soldiers to speak of.

Left in peace, General Eisenhower got his REAL army together in the Southampton/Isle of Wright area of Britain.

The best meteorologists in England were put on the task of finding the perfect weather conditions for the landing. A full moon was needed for navigation, so only a few days a month was a possible date for the invasion. Tentatively the date was set for June 5, but on June 4 the weather was HIGHLY unsuitable. A storm was making the channel nearly impassible and clouds were shutting out the moon.

The Germans took note of this and took a holiday, believing an invasion was impossible for this month at least. The Commander in Chief of the West went back to Germany for his wife's birthday, and a 'War Game' drew most of the rest of the high Command away from their posts.

A lieutentant on HMS Grindall predicted that there was a high pressure area coming in that would improve the weather for 24 hrs. On that prediction, Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery gave the command, and in 24 hours through the Omaha, Utah and Juno beache landings, the Allies had a foothold on French soil and on August 25, they liberated Paris.

“ You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. ”
—Eisenhower, Letter to U.S. Army, June 5

(Ok so the Side note is longer than the actually post's interesting! -Hopefully)


An Old Fashioned Girl said...

Wow Debs, that's so neat! Didn't they "accidently" let them know about the "invasion" by a dead soilder?

Lady Dvora said...

No that was the invasion of Italy...another intresting story :)

Incomplete said...

I love Winston Churchill. We need more men like him today!

It was very interresting what he said about America (the new world). I have been thinking thoughts along that line just recently.