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OneSpike #41 Posted 05 June 2015 - 08:41 PM

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I find it interesting that this photo was already used.  I remember it from one of my first books on WWII and it struck me by its tranquility.  However, the fierceness of the fighting on some of the beaches was quite the opposite.

The preparations and the pre-invasion execution contributed greatly to the success of the landings.  The Naval Heritage Library "Operation Neptune" gives three reasons why the landings started upon such a successful foundation: 1) the weather was so bad that the landing ships went unobserved and not expected by the enemy (however soldiers and equipment suffered heavily in the chop and surf).  Despite the weather, the vast majority of craft made their landings within minutes of their scheduled time. 2) Almost complete surprise was achieved due to misdirections prior to the invasion and the bad weather.  German commanders started to suspect an invasion only by 2:30 am June 6 - when airborne troops were already on the ground. 3) The invasion fleet was almost completely unmolested by air or naval forces during the transit and landing.

Despite the excellent beginnings, Admiral Ramsay gave credit to each sailor and soldier for the success of the invasion: "[The invasion succeeded] "not necessarily because it was a good plan, but because every single individual taking part had confidence in it and was determined to achieve his objective".  Each participant deserves the honor and credit for the success of the initial landings and hastening the end of that war.

BloodType RED #42 Posted 05 June 2015 - 08:50 PM


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Their bodies and parachutes hung from the trees
Near a church tower in Normandy at St Mere Eglise
Eighty Second Airborne from a tracer filled sky
The dice roll of fate choosing those who would die

There are hundreds and hundreds on Omaha Beach
The cliff tops above them now forever out of reach
With mortars and machines guns and 88s as well
It’s a wonder that any could’ve lived through that pain 

Gliders troops from the Sixth took the bridges at Orne
But some never saw that first breaking of dawn
They held out through daylight as the Panzers attacked
But they never retreated, they never fell back

The Eagles were screaming as they took Carentan
They didn’t all make it, but the Germans, they ranT
Clearing the streets as the mortar shells burst
Dying in scores were the Hundred and First

Canadians that fought near the town of Courseulles
Torn up and mangled by huge jerry shells
They all knew the danger, some knew that they’d fall
As they ran through the bullets to breach the sea wall

British Commandos at Ouistreham, Queen Red
The bridgehead they took there was paid for in dead
Advancing inland as the day carried on
Fewer and fewer with a lot of mates gone

If you visit years later and hear the sea roar
Don’t forget those who went there in June 44
For all those that fought there and the many that died
Appreciate your Freedom and Remember them with Pride.

This picture and all the others added on here, astound me, as to the courage these brave young men from so many nations, who gave their all for our freedom in which we live today. may they never be forgotten.

Morpheus02007 #43 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:04 PM


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Operation Neptune:


"Operation Neptune" was the attack plan of the allied invasion of Europe, called "Operation Overlord" on 6 June 1944. It was mainly executed by the Navy. The fleet from Operation Neptune was a coalition of 8 nations, together 6500 ships strong. A very important part were the landing ships, they brought more than 100.000 soldiers, and thousands of tanks on land. 



From the Germans side, there was one important man we all know in charge of the defense, his name was "Erwin Rommel". He predicted the allies would attack at Normandy rather than in Calais. The allies made even a fake army to deceive the Germans to let them think they would attack in Calais. There was even a name for this operation, "Operation Fortitude", and it was a success. The Germans were totally surprised when the invasion started. Erwin Rommel was back in Germany with his family, and arrived back in France to late. And no one dared to wake up Hitler...He was the only one who could send the reserves, a whole division with tanks and a lot of infantry. 



It was all too late for the Germans, from this day they will only retreat and finally lose the war. Victory Day!


Edited by Morpheus02007, 06 June 2015 - 11:18 AM.


Thanks to xRoni7x for this awesome sig!

ROGUExMaGiiKz #44 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:24 PM


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Operation Overlord - D-Day


                                The Command Team of D-Day



Operation Overlord was the code-name given to the Allied invasion of France scheduled for June 1944. The overall commander of Operation Overlord was General Dwight Eisenhower. Other senior commanders for Overlord included Air Marshall Leigh-Mallory, Air Marshall Tedder, Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and Admiral Bertram Ramsey. Operation Overlord required the type of logistical issues that no army had ever had to cope with before and the plan was for the Allies to have landed a vast amount of both men and equipment by the end of D-Day itself.

Overlord itself required the involvement of many men – both in Britain and in France via the Resistance. Security for the plan had to be total. The fact that the Germans were taken by surprise at Normandy indicates that the Allies were successful in this.

The first issue that the Allies had to decide on was where to land in France. The Pays de Calais was an obvious choice as it was the nearest part of France to Britain. Getting to France would be swifter but the whole area was known to be well defended.

The Allied high command decided on a landing in Normandy. The risks were much higher but the beaches were suitable for a mass landing of people and equipment. A diversionary attack on Calais was considered in an effort to confuse the Germans.

One of the first plans was known as the COSSAC (Combined Anglo-American) plan. This included a plan to use two airborne brigades to protect the flanks of the three landings in Normandy.

Montgomery added an amendment to the COSSAC plan. He wanted an attack on five beaches in Normandy with support given to the amphibious landings by two airborne divisions landing on the flanks of the beach attacks in the vicinity of Caen and in the southeast corner of the Cotentin Peninsula. Montgomery wanted a beach assigned to a specific army from either Britain or America – he did not envisage a joint force landing on each beach.

Eisenhower backed Montgomery’s plan and the final variant of Overlord was very similar to Montgomery’s plan. Whereas Montgomery had bargained for five divisions to be landed, Eisenhower had a desire to land more men – 18 divisions by D-Day plus 10.

The planning and logistics behind Overlord were unparalleled in history. The Allies had to ensure that none of the plan was released – above all, the desire to fool the Germans that the Pays de Calais was the main target as opposed to Normandy.

The mere gathering of equipment needed for the invasion was an issue in itself. Where could it be stored without attracting the attention of German spies? How could it be transported to selected places in the south without local people talking about it? How could the thousand of boats needed for the invasion be gathered together and readied?

For the actual invasion, 6,000 ships were needed for D-Day and for future cross-Channel trips carrying troops and equipment. In the first three days of the attack, Overlord planned to move over 100,000 men and nearly 13,000 vehicles. The plan also included the movement of an artificial harbour so that people and materials could be landed with more ease once the landing beaches had been secured..

Overlord had built into it the movement of a total of 3 million men in 47 divisions, moved by 6000 ships with aerial cover provided by 5000 fighter planes. That it was such an overwhelming success (with major casualties only occurring at Juno and Omaha Beach) is indicative of how well planned it was.

CrAzYeYe777 #45 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:25 PM


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As the largest military landing operation in history operation Neptune would be launched at Hitler’s Atlantic wall. Hitler believed this wall to be impenetrable and sank many military resources, money, and manpower into its construction. It took the Nazis four years and billions of Reich marks to construct with over 40 million tons of concrete to build, but the allied forces just one day to break through.  Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was placed in charge of making sure that the defenses were up to military standards after being recalled from North Africa. He had 15,000 bunkers constructed over the 3000 miles of coastline for the sole purpose of preventing the allies from gaining a foothold as he said “if the British once get a foothold on dry land that can’t be thrown out again.”

As part of the operations inflatable decoys were used in mass in order to trick the Germans into believing that the assault, which everyone knew was coming, would be launched at Calais being the closest not on the beaches of Normandy. Little did Hitler know that the allies would not need a port to bring in materials because of the invention of the mobile port. Hitler’s aids were afraid to wake him up to inform him of the attack. The decoy worked and Hitler was convinced that the attack at Normandy was a diversion to the real attack. He believed it so much that he refused to send in the armored division that was stationed only 100 miles away because of concern about an attack that was imaginary.

The allies landed at 2am on June 6, 1944 with over 150,000 soldiers to counter the Nazis 15000 men in their deep fortifications.  At Omaha beach; one of five landing beaches, it was 500 Germans to defend a four mile stretch of beach against 35,000 Americans. The allies would be forced to land under fire from machine gun nest, as well as over 50 million land mines on the beach and in the water. The Germans also set up tank trap called; Belgium gates, to prevent allied tanks from landing on the beaches. To assist in the landing operation the 101st airborne was air dropped behind enemy lines to attack at key military targets. The allies got a lucky break in the fact that Rommel was in Berlin celebrating his wife’s birthday and was unavailable to strategize a counter attack in time. By 10am the Americans would hold control of the beach, the last of the five beaches to fall. The cost of breaching the famed Atlantic wall was over 10,000 allied casualties and over 5,000 German losses.

We should remember that these men paid the ultimate price for our freedom as remember them on the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

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MissTaken ID #46 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:32 PM


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Operation Neptune was part of Operation Overlord, the Allied's successful attempt to gain a foothold in occupied Europe. Planned for over a year by Eisenhower and other Allied commanders, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. It had originally been planned for June 4, but bad weather prevented them from carrying out the operation on that day. They wanted to wait for ideal conditions as possible, full moon to allow pilots to see where their targets were, and low winds to prevent the paratroopers from blowing of course. The weather conditions on the 6th were not as perfect as they had hoped, but waiting until the next idea dates would have meant recalling troops that were already in position, or risk having them discovered by the Germans. Plus, if they had waited until the next window of opportunity, the weather would have been even worse. They had taken great pains in feeding false information to the Germans as far as when the invasion would take place. At the time of the invasion, many German troops had gone on leave, and Rommel himself had gone back home to celebrate his wife's birthday, and ask Hitler for more Panzers.

Five different beaches were chosen for troop landings: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. 24,000 troops from Canada, Britain and the United States participated, and it is estimated that 10,000 lost their lives, in contrast to the Germans only losing about 1,000 troops. Because of the poor weather conditions, many troops were off-course, and many of the planned bombardments along the Atlantic were not as accurate, causing the troops to have to fight their way through swampy regions, and attack areas that should have been bombed before they landed, but weren't.

The five areas weren't completely taken and connected until June 12, but it gave the Allied forces the stronghold that they needed to continue the re-taking of Europe from under Axis control over the next few months. It was an amazingly well-coordinated effort, with airborne landings, naval landings, and cooperation with the French resistance. Tanks were even dropped onto the shores, adding much-needed firepower to the attacks, although some were disabled, and only able to shoot from the beach until the tide rose too high for them to function. The high level of planning and cooperation between the Allied forces was definitely the key factor in the success of the Operation, and there are many war memorials dedicated to the bravery of the troops that lost their lives and fought that day.


Edited by MissTaken ID, 05 June 2015 - 09:55 PM.

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WahawkFL #47 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:32 PM


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     Operation Neptune was the Channel crossing phase of Operation Overlord. It was commanded by Admiral Bertram Ramsey (second from left, back row in picture) who had already played a large part as commander of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940.  Over 6000 total ships were used for Neptune including 287 mine sweepers that cleared the way for 138 warships and over 4000 landing craft.  There were also 146 pieces of Mulberry Habour that were towed by tug boats.  Tugboats also towed about half of the landing craft that were unable to cross under their own steam.


     Salvage tugs that towed the Mulberry Harbour and landing craft were armed with 3 inch, 20 mm, and .303 inch guns for defense.  Trawlers were armed the same way to act as convoy escorts and also marshaling duties to keep the troop transport ships organized.  Some were also armed with depth charges and conducted anti submarine duties.  Also included in the armada were RAF Air and Sea rescue boats to help aid ships that were in distress.


Edited by WahawkFL, 05 June 2015 - 09:51 PM.

DangerMax 007 #48 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:46 PM

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Spending all night huddled together in a boat at anchor ready to jump out and meet the German army entrenched in the sands and hills across the water. Along with 156,000 fellow allied soldiers, sitting and waiting in landing craft just bobbing in the ocean. Your home is across the globe along with family, wives, children, and all your prized possessions, thousands of miles from this place. There is nowhere to get away from the noise and smells of battle, no television, no comfortable bed, no place to take off the sweaty, stained leather boots, mildewed from the ocean spray. You pull out your orders that dictated you to be in this landing craft in the first place, sigh and return them to your front pocket. It seems like just yesterday you where back in the hayfield checking on the irrigation right before your beautiful pregnant wife rang the dinner bell.


Sally and the little one are back home right now and all you have is a crumpled, old picture that she gave you right before the draft put you in boot camp. The drill Sargents blasted night and day that this war was for the survival of America, that the cruel dictator wanted to come and take everything you loved and crush it, “Fight hard and you'll be back for Christmas!” they said. Here in this LC bobbing, and rocking in the ocean on June 5, 1944 sure made Christmas seem like a long, long time from now. You are sick and tired, emotionally, mentally, but yet feverish to end the enemy who can take away Sally and the new little one in her stomach. The Army also promised that after this you would have plenty of money to take home and do with as you please. Finally the new ditches could be dug, the bar re-sided, and the leaky roof replaced so Sally would be proud of the little homestead.


Finally after days of intense waiting that drug on like eternity, the order was given on June 6th, to the 4,126 landing vessels to proceed and attack the German forces. Thick black smoke filled the air as monstrous diesel engines roared to life on catastrophically huge battle ships and the tiny bobbing landing craft. Airplanes roared overhead as 2,395 craft flew towards the German front to support your landing. The officials called this, Operation Neptune, you called this survival. The butterflies and anxiety filled your stomach as the craft chugged towards the inevitable. Suddenly, the great battleships roared their mighty 15 inch cannons towards the beach, explosions burst out in the water next to your craft as the enemy returned fire. Bullets ricochet off the hull as you grind slowly closer to certainty. You clutch the old, torn picture of Sally as the craft slams into the sand. The door drops, Sargent yells, “Attack!” You step out into the water and...



Man0war1945 #49 Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:59 PM


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This image is of the wrecks of a column of  the 4th County of London Yeomanry, destroyed on the 13th of June 1944 on the road between the town of Villers-Bocage and Point 213 in the Normandy area of France by one Micheal Wittmann, commander of 2nd Company, schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101, in his Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. E, Tiger tank.


Wittmanns assault of the convoy began at 09:00 when he engaged the rear of the british convoy moving to reinforce positions already existing on Point 213. The first tank engaged and knocked out was a Cromwell tank, at the very rear of the convoy. The next tank to be engaged was a Sherman Firefly, this too was hit and began to burn, blocking the road for the other vehicles of the convoy. It was at this point that the rest of Wittmanns company engaged positions on Point 213 itself, resulting in another three tanks being destroyed. Wittman then, sensing an opportunity to be exploited, set off alone towards the town of villers-bocage. Engaging targets of the 4th CLY as they presented themselves, the infantrymen first returning fire with both Projectile Infantry Anti Tank Launchers and a 6 pounder anti tank gun, before breaking and seeking cover. Wittmann kept pushing into the town, destroying many of the 4th CLY's vehicles as he went, then, once he had pushed into the town, he proceded to destroy three M5 Stuart light tanks that were in use by the british for reconnaissance purposes. Wittmann then went on a rampage in the town, destroying another five tanks and numerous support vehicles. It was then that a Captain Pat Dyas, driving a cromwell tank that had been missed by Wittmann in his initial advance, stalked behind the Tiger and attempted to penetrate the rear armour of the tank, a task of which the cromwells 75mm gun was unable to complete. Which resulted in Captain Dyas tank being knocked out. Wittmann then proceded through the village, before being knocked out atthe road jjunction of Tilly-sur-Suelles by a British 6-pounder anti tank gun.

Wittmann and his crew then bailed out and returned to their Divisional Headquarters at the Chateau d'Orbois.


Although this battle was not overly significant in the overall scheme of Operation Neptune. It is a prime example of how a skilled individual using the right equipment is able to overcome vastly unfavorable odds in terms of numbers by employing their skills and also a level of tactical cunning.

ANTINATOR #50 Posted 05 June 2015 - 10:12 PM


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This photo was taken at Sword Beach. It shows medics taking care of wounded soldiers behind the shelter of a Churchill AVRE. In the back ground is an M-10 Wolverine tank destroyer from the 20th Anti-tank Regiment. Tanks were critical in the success of the D-day landing. Omaha beach had the fewest number of tanks available due to the high number that were lost in the water. That beach also had the highest casualty count.


To quote Andy Rooney, "There have been only a handful of days since the beginning of time on which the direction the world was taking has been changed for the better in one 24-hour period by an act of man. June 6, 1944 was one of them." Germany surrendered less than a year after a successful landing in Normandy. To the average foot soldier the landing looked like a complete disaster. Dead soldiers lined the beach and most every man that participated in the invasion had a friend that either died or suffered a wound during the invasion. Statistically the invasion was a huge success. On this anniversary we should remember that many men, especially the first to arrive on those beaches, knew that they were most likely going to die and faced their death with the knowledge that is was for a cause greater than themselves. Hopefully the world can someday find peace and these types of sacrifices will not be necessary. Until that time, when men cease to make war on each other, we remember those on both sides that died serving their fellow countrymen.

SG Kage #51 Posted 05 June 2015 - 10:16 PM


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     The small town of Bedford, Virginia gave more than most. The National Guard had had a presences in this sleepy little town for some time. Young men would volunteer as a way to make additional income. After the outbreak of WWII, the 35 volunteers from Bedford found themselves as part of Company A of the 116th infantry Division. Even though the company was new to the Army, it was one of the best preforming units of the old National Guard. They initially provided coastal defense along the Atlantic coast, but were shipped out to England in September of 1942. While other units were fighting in Africa and Italy, Company A trained for the next 21 months. They were the first unit to complete amphibious training.


     All of this training was to prepare them to lead the invasion of Europe. Strikingly, the men would discover this while aboard a ship bound for Omaha beach in Normandy. They were tasked with clearing 4 draws leading to the bluffs above the beach. Company A was assigned the Dog Green section of the beach that was immortalized in Steven Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan. The fighting was intense and 22 of the Bedford men lost their lives. Their stories have been recorded in several books that are well worth the read. The last of the 'Bedford Boys' passed in 2009 (New York Times Story)



The Bedford Boys were the first ones on the Beach and gave their all.

Edited by SG Kage, 05 June 2015 - 10:22 PM.

IrraHOTD #52 Posted 05 June 2015 - 10:19 PM


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Waves, sand, barbed wire, barricades, mines...


With the bodies punished by the weight of the equipment in the backpack, rifles in hand, tens of thousands of American soldiers, British and Canadian advance on the beaches of the north coast of France. Above their helmets, thousands of planes scan the wholesale airspace. Across the horizon, thousands of vessels leaving the colossal artificial ports and dock on the beaches, pouring equipment and personnel in the invaded Gaul. Air, land and sea are part of one gear. Normandy, June 6, 1944. The first day of Neptune - the start-up phase of Operation Overlord - holds the largest amphibious invasion ever. The Allies are back in continental Europe to try to end the yoke of Nazi Germany.

To achieve this purpose, it is another story. However, the landing maneuver in northern France is unprecedented. More than 185,000 men and 20,000 air, sea and land vehicles were involved in the attack, meticulously planned by the team led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Initially designed to take place on Monday, June 5, the "D-Day" - the date was called by the Allies - was delayed for 24 hours by the weather inappropriate. Still, uncertainty about the effectiveness of the gigantic operation is not dissipated completely, because the French skies remained gloomy with the naked eye.

The director of the Eisenhower weather team, the Scot Jim Stagg, assured the general that the weather would turn to the satisfaction of the Allies between Monday and Tuesday. Still, the three heads of the Allied Forces, only two of them - Bernard Montgomery, the Army, and Bertram Ramsey, the Navy - were favorable to the attack on the 6th; the air force commander, Arthur Tedder, still considering that the visibility of the Gauls heavens would not provide sufficient air cover. Eisenhower knew that the weather conditions given, a further postponement would push the attack to at least June 19 - and thousands of soldiers were already more than 50 hours on standby at their posts, crammed into landing ships, ready to the assault.

The surprise factor was also the American side - despite its magnitude, the operation was still ignored by opponents. First, because the Allies had successfully executed an attack of deception plan to Normandy, making the German command believed that the invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais, highlighting even General George Patton to command a fictitious army of 12 divisions site. In addition, only the Allies could count on these forecasts weather: all German stations - Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen and in the island of Jan Mayen - had been taken in the preparation of the attack by the Anglo-American forces. That is, for the Germans, never an amphibious military exercise could be done under that atmosphere.

Crescere Scithe #53 Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:08 PM

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Operation Neptune was the largest seaborne invasion in history, containing not only military boats housing troops, but also airborne divisions of planes and armored units of tanks at the front lines to push forward through the German lines of several beach heads of Normandy. The beaches chosen to be attacked were Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Sword Beach, Gold Beach and Juno Beach with the Americans assaulting Omaha and Utah, the British engaging Sword and Gold and the Canadian troops covering the flank of Juno. The Allies landed under harsh weather conditions and severe gunfire from the beach as they waited in anticipation and shaking uneasiness for the doors to drop down on their boats for what would become for many, their first and only time ever in real combat. Many troops had come fresh out of training and had not ever seen combat as they would face here at D-Day of Operation Overload. And for those many, a large amount would not make it home. The beaches were dense with fortifications to disrupt advancements such as enemy bunkers, caltrops, machine gun nests and debris, mowing down the Allies as they proceeded onward up the beaches. As wounded soldiers fell at the hands of the Germans, medics rushed around trying desperately to attend the countless needs and crying of the injured with morphine and bandages. It did not weaken their resolve. After much fighting and sustaining heavy losses of around 10,000, D-Day, after days and nights of fighting was successful.

The photo above is an image of some of the troops of American Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) rushing out of their landing vessel (a LCVP: Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) as it hits the sandy beaches of Omaha Beach. During the initial landing, two thirds of E-Company was lost to the defenses of the newly mobilized German 352nd Division waiting for them at the backs of their heavily defensive positions. This photo captures the beginning of the very first moments that many soldiers had with the realization that death could be just moments away as the doors on their landing crafts fell and bullets flew past them, with the ringing of explosions deafening their ears. To me, this photo depicts a powerful statement of fearlessness in the face of near certain death and unfaltering resilience to their cause to fight -- rushing forward, wading through the waves to meet their combatants head on in a battle that would see no draw where only one side would be victorious. This picture shows the valor of these men and all the men who, like them, saw the same sight as the heavy metal landing craft doors fell, revealing the beaches before them and knowing that this could be their very last battle to fight for their country and the lives of others.


"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche


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OneChevyBoi #54 Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:32 PM

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U.S., British, Canadian and French forces invaded Adolf Hitler's Fortress Europe in an operation code-named Overlord.Neptune was the code name given to Overlord's amphibious assault and naval gunfire support operations.  These operations were divided between two task forces that would get the troops from ports all over Great Britain and land them on the beaches of Normandy, keep them supplied, and give them fire support.  The Western Naval Task Force, under the command of Navy Rear Admiral Alan Kirk, transported the U.S. First Army to the American assault areas code named Utah and Omaha.  The Eastern Naval Task Force, commanded by Royal Navy Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian, landed the British Second Army on assault areas to the east of the American landings, code-named Gold, Juno and Sword.

r2thelastjedi #55 Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:35 PM


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Action shot of house-to-house fighting by British Commandos supported by Sherman tanks, at Riva Bella, near Ouistreham. This engagement was featured in the movie The Longest Day.

Photo of British commandos supported by Sherman tanks at Riva Bella near Ouistreham.

The 6th Airborne Division and 1st Special Service Brigade would be responsible for holding the left flank of the Allied bridgehead of the invasion of Normandy. The Commando Brigade included the No.s 3, 4 and 6 Army Commandos and the No. 45 (Royal Marine) Commando. At 0731 hrs of June 6, 1944 they landed on Sword Beach with 177 free French of the 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commando under Commander Philippe Kieffer. They landed on the extreme flank of the Allied Forces on Sword and moved inland to join forces with two brigades dropped inland by glider and parachute.

From 0800 to 1100 hrs, men of 4 Commando were fighting in the steets of Riva Bella to silence the german trenches, bunkers and snipers. The casino pillbox at Riva Bella fell at 0930 hrs with help from a Sherman commandeered by Philip Kieffer.

The tank in the photo is a duplex drive tank (DD tank) with its flotation screen. These were nicknamed Donald Duck tanks and were a type of amphibious swimming tank. On Sword Beach the DD tanks worked well due to the reasonably calm sea. Modifications were made to the Sherman and included sealing the lower hull, the addition of a propeller drive and the addition of a flotation screen around the hull.

The photo speaks to me because most discussions about Normandy emphasis it as an infantry action but tanks played an important and vital role to victory.

Edited by r2d2battledroid, 06 June 2015 - 01:11 AM.

Guderian9139 #56 Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:41 PM


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"Neptune" was the code name for the naval operations involved in the landings in Normandy on June 6th, 1944

The largest armada in history secretly converged and executed an invasion of Fortress Europa to assist the besieged Soviets in a land war to destroy the forces of Nazi Germany.  

Allied forces landed at five separate locations: The beachheads were given their own distinct code names:

Gold, Sword, Juno, Utah and Omaha.

There are very few photos of the actual landing at Omaha Beach.  This is one of them.  Fighting was fiercest at Omaha.  

There are stories that at some locations the Germans actually came onto the beach after the liberal shore bombardment with their suitcases packed for their surrender.  Not so at Omaha.  Robert Capa, a Hungarian born photojournalist for Life Magazine was one of the few brave (or was it crazy?) souls to voluntarily jump onto a landing craft armed with a camera.  Mr. Capa had already gained fame as a war journalist during the Spanish Civil war, so this was not his first party.  As the rest of the boys rushed out of the Higgins Boat, Robert paused to take a photograph.  The Navy Boatswain, whether detecting cowardice or just in a rush to get the hell out of there, kicked the fabled cameraman right in the [edited].  

Tumbling into the cold water, Bob Capa was just another target for a MG-42.  He ducked behind a tank trap with a G.I.

After the soldier gained the courage to move forward, Mr. Capa finally had just enough cover to fumble with his camera and take some shots.  Eventually he sought refuge behind a knocked out tank.  He feverishly snapped off 300 pictures and, seeing an LST approaching, did the only thing a sane man would do: he left!  

Immediately he returned to England and handed off his precious rolls of film.  

The developer was in such a rush to see the pictures he inadvertently over-exposed the film with too much heat and only 11 pictures survived.  A shame?  Yes.  But this was nothing compared to the over 4,000 allied servicemen who died on that fateful day.





r2lastjedi #57 Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:49 PM


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A Cromwell tank leads a column of armor inland from Gold Beach on Day 2 of the invasion..

Photo of Cromwell and Sherman tanks moving inland from Gold beach on June 7, 1944.

Gold Beach was more than 8 km (5 miles) wide and was in the center of the five designated landing areas of the Normandy Invasion. The British 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division landed June 6, 1944 with the objectives to take the Caen-Bayeux highway, the port of Arromanches and link up with the Americans from Omaha Beach to the west and the Canadians from Juno Beach to the east.

Specialized armor arriving in the first wave at Gold Beach included amphibious duplex drive (DD tank) tanks, AVREs, mine flails, and armored bulldozers.

The duplex drive tank (DD tank) nicknamed the Donald Duck tank was a type of amphibious swimming tank. Modifications were made to the Sherman and included sealing the lower hull, the addition of a propeller drive and the addition of a flotation screen around the hull.

The Armored Vehicle Royal Engineer (AVRE) was a Churchill tank mounted with a Petard spigot mortar that could fire a 40-pound projectile (dustbin) about 150 yards. It was used by to destroy concrete emplacements including concrete barriers, roadblocks and pillboxes.

The armored bulldozer was a conventional Caterpillar tractor with a dozer blade and plated with armor to protect the engine and driver. They were vital in clearing beach obstacles, clearing openings in the sea walls and constructing ramps for tanks and vehicles to move inland off the beach.

The Crocodile flame-thrower was a modified Churchill Mark VII with a flame thrower gun mounted in place of the hull machine gun with a range of 120 yards.

The Flail (Crab) was a Sherman or Churchill tank with a flailing attachment that could clear a 10-foot wide path through a minefield. The flail was a rotating drum with 43 chains that exploded mines to a depth of 10 inches.

By the evening of June 6, the 50th Division had landed 25,000 men, penetrated 10 km (6 miles) inland, hooked up with the Canadians from Juno Beach but had not taken the Caen-Bayeux highway or linked up with the Americans from Omaha Beach.

The photo speaks to me because Normandy is usually thought about as an infantry action but tanks played an essential role to victory.

Edited by jedirebelr2d2, 06 June 2015 - 12:30 AM.

Golfcartcowboy #58 Posted 06 June 2015 - 12:05 AM


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The Higgins boat or LVCP (Landing Craft/Vehicle/Personnel) was the main method of transport during Operation Neptune for our American forces.  The design was created by Andrew Higgins for use in traversing marshes and swamps originally.  The USMC was frustrated with the Navy because they couldn't seem to draw up a decent design for an amphibious landing craft that met all of their needs.  That is why the Higgins boat became a point of interest for the Marines and trials lead to the development of the LVCP.  These trials ended with a model that  could hold either a 36-man platoon, a jeep and a 12-man squad, or 8,000 lbs of cargo.  The simple design featured plywood sides, a 225 horsepower Gray Marine diesel engine and a steel ramp in the front for loading and unloading its contents.  The simple design seemed like a smart choice in terms of cost and effectiveness during the trials, but during actual landfall in Normandy, that simplicity turned out to be a death sentence for many brave troops.


The approach of the Higgins boats alone was atrocious.  Travelling at 12 knots in choppy waters, seasickness set in quickly.  Upon arrival to the shore, the brave Marines along with troops from Britain and Canada were met with a brutal onslaught of German fire.  One of the most terrifying guns of the war was the MG-42 (Maschinengewehr 42), a belt-fed machine gun operated by two Germans for each weapon.  This gun along with others took out more than 4,000 Allied troops during landfall on Normandy beach, and one of the big reasons for this number of casualties was due to the fact that the Higgins boats had no armor whatsoever being made of plywood on the sides.  When the steel ramp dropped down to release the soldiers into the shallow water, it was just deep enough in many spaces to slow the troops considerably when trying to storm the beach.  The Germans set up high in bunker gun nests, took advantage of that lack of armor and slow approach with the devastating fire power of the MG-42, pumping out 1,200 rounds per minute with surprising accuracy.  Despite the major losses, the Higgins boat still got approximately 156,000 Allied troops ashore and many believe this simple boat, designed by a Nebraskan turned the tide of WWII.  Dwight Eisenhower said that Andrew Higgins was the "man who won the war for us."  Adolf Hitler called Higgins the "new Noah."  This made the simple Higgins boat and its creator Andrew legends of WWII.

Terminatenorsn5 #59 Posted 06 June 2015 - 12:22 AM


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    Operation Neptune was the codename for the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944. This was the largest amphibious operation in history with a fleet of almost 7,000 vessels.

The invasion force consisted of over 10 divisions. The casualties for 1 day were astounding, 9,000 Germans, 4,500 Americans, British, Canadians, and French.

We take for granted that a modern battle such as the Iraq War that lasted for almost 10 years had the same amount of Allied casualties. The sacrifice that these combatants made

was tremendous.

    We honor all of those that fought on that day and remember the courage and see that their generation was the greatest in our history. This wasn't a war of video games and

armchair generals, but of real people. Maybe that's why I have had a fascination with World War II and all sides that fought it. My wife will as me why I watch a movie like the Longest Day,

Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. I respond, "I watch movies like these to remind me of how mankind can be at its lowest form and work together to get to its highest."


    I will never forget.

Mummes #60 Posted 06 June 2015 - 12:33 AM


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 A fake army was constructed in Kent and Essex to deceive the Germans

Everyone knew an invasion was coming, including the Germans, but what they didn't know was where the Allies would strike. In an attempt to deceive the Germans into thinking the invasion would be at Calais, a phantom army of camps, vehicles and planes was constructed in Kent and Essex. This was reinforced by double agent, Garbo, providing the Germans with misinformation about the invasion. [Image Credit: Redbull Music Academy]

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