Commemorating the Normandy Landings

To remember

  • Normandy > Operation Overlord > to assault, simultaneously, beaches on the Normandy coast <= better shelter for shipping + less heavily defended than other possible beach areas along Channel coast => foothold gained on the Continent of Europe
  • 130,000 personnel and 20,000 vehicles, all of which were to be landed on the first three tides. …
  • German intelligence confused by practice of dropping dummy parachutists
  • French Resistance ordered to ready itself for invasion by BBC broadcast on 1 June > first line of poem Autumn Song by Paul Verlaine, which went Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automme (‘The long sobs of the autumn violins’).
  • Hans Speidel > Twelfth SS Hitler Youth Panzer Division to counter-attack at Caen
  • by far the greatest concentration of German fire on the entire invasion front
  • John Watney – eye-witness account in The Enemy Within (1946)
  • Wehrmacht overwhelmed by ability of RAF and USAAF to attack unprotected armour from above
  • bombing campaigns against Luftwaffe factories + trattritional war against German fighters = paid off spectacularly.

 

hungarywolf

Documenting D-Day:

This Thursday, 6th June, many of the world’s leaders will be gathering on the beaches in Normandy to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy. Those veterans who survived the landings and the rest of the war are now well into their nineties, but many will make the crossing of the English Channel once more to commemorate their fallen comrades and recall the events of June 1944. But what exactly was ‘Operation Overlord’, what happened along the coast of Normandy seventy-five years ago, and what was the significance of those events in the war itself and over the following period? To gain a true understanding, we should not simply rely on Hollywood films or even documentaries. We also need to consult the documents and other primary, eye-witness testimonies from the time, with the help of serious historians. Otherwise, there is a danger that the sacrifice…

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