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D-Day

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It has been a while, 72 years to the day when so many young Americans sacrificed their lives kicking in the door of Hitlers fortress Europe.  Sadly I see next to nothing online or in the news showing reverence to those men.  But we sure get to relive Hiroshima every August.  So I thought I'd toss it out here.  If not for so many who fell then we'd likely not be here and from the looks of current events not enough Americans appreciate the freedoms won so painfully.

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My friend just got back from Normandy, he booked a guided tour of the battlefield. He said the miltary cemetaries were emotionally overwhelming. Plenty of folks do not forget,

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History Channel is showing WWII in HD today. 72 years after the fact it still stands as an amazing military achievement.

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I think we, the children of the Greatest Generation appreciate the sacrifices they made. I know I do, especially I as I get older. The young of today don't seem to know or care.

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My Dad went in on D-Day 1, the day after.  Never talked much about that stuff but he said what he saw coming in scared him so badly he could barely function.

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My grandfather, pvt. Loren W. Tully 743rd Tank Battalion Company B, landed on Omaha beach D-day at 6:30A.M. He was the driver of a Sherman M duplex-drive amphibious tank. I remember how he told me he never seen a single hollywood movie that got it right. Turn the ocean into blood, and fill the beach with bodies, and you start to get close to the reality. He said Saving Private Ryan D-day scenes got the closest. Stopping there with details told to me by him.

 

The Initial Assault Wave

Ninety-six tanks, the Special Engineer Task Force, and eight companies of assault infantry (1,450 men), landing just before and after 0630, were to carry out the first assault missions

 

"On the right, the 743d Tank Battalion brought in all its tanks on LCT's. Company B, coming in directly in face of the Vierville draw, suffered from enemy artillery fire. The LCT carrying the company commander was sunk just of shore, and four other officers were killed or wounded, leaving one lieutenant in Company B. Eight of that company's 16 tanks landed and started to fire from the water's edge on enemy positions. The tanks of Companies C and A touched down to the east at well-spaced intervals and without initial losses. In the 16th RCT one, only 5 of the 32 DD tanks (741st Tank Battalion) made shore; of Company A's 16 standard tanks, 2 were lost far off shore by an explosion of undetermined cause, and 3 were hit and put out of action very shortly after beaching. The surviving third of the battalion landed between E-1 and E-3 draws and went into action at once against enemy emplacements."

 

By the end of D-Day the 743rd Tank Battalion could report 38 operational tanks (with one in repair). Nevertheless, the much larger numbers of tanks that made it to the beach from the 743rd Tank Battalion by all accounts proved critical in suppressing and destroying German positions. This helped the 29th Infantry Division's men to get off the beach at the D-1 Vierville draw. In addition, the 743rd Tank Battalion even took over for the missing 741st Tank Battalion's armor in helping to open the E-1 St Laurent draw off the beach."

Débarquement-chars-Sherman-Omaha-Beach-D-Day-5049x3181.jpg

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I’m surprised you didn’t see much D-Day coverage in the US.  Here in Canada, there were interviews with some of the few surviving veterans of that day, some of which were pretty graphic, reports about other veterans speaking to pupils in primary schools (Grades 4-6 by the look of them), coverage of the ceremonies at the graveyards and other memorials in Normandy, which were attended by world leaders, and so on.  Quite a few Canadian high school and university students were also at the Normandy ceremony, which was good to see.  History is not being forgotten, at least not by some of the youth.

 

Some of the vets were close to tears as they described their fellow soldiers who had not come home.  One said that he was not a hero.  To him, the heroes were the ones who died in battle.  War leaves scars, some visible, some not, that last a lifetime.  You could see the hurt the vets still felt, all these years later.

 

Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was at the ceremony in Normandy, along with President Trump, the Queen of England and Theresa May, the Prime Minister of England, and Emmanuel Macron, the President of France.

 

TV reports and updates started on June 4th, and were broadcast several times a day, wrapping up late on June 6th.  We had plenty of news coverage, but not too much, which was a good thing.

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