News 75th Aniversary of D-Day

MaverickSawyer

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kuddel

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What I found out (only very late) is, that -despite the impression all the US movies left- the number of British / Canadian soldiers exceeded the number of US soldiers on D-Day!
The US put in many more troops, equalizing the "mismatch" later on, though.
 

Urwumpe

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What I found out (only very late) is, that -despite the impression all the US movies left- the number of British / Canadian soldiers exceeded the number of US soldiers on D-Day!
The US put in many more troops, equalizing the "mismatch" later on, though.


The British/Canadian forces also had been much more successful on D-Day compared to the US forces. Utah and Omaha beach were near disasters. Omaha has intact defenses because of a failed strategic bombing, On Utah the US landed 2 km off the planned landing site.


Most people talk of Omaha beach when talking about D-Day, but not about Utah, where the initial confusion was quickly ended by good and creative leadership... and little resistance, only 197 US soldiers died there, out of 20000. No comparison to Omaha or Juno beach.
 

Notebook

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Weather looks good in Normandy, better than the day I think!
Lots of coverage in the UK, BBC doing what they are good at, research and presentation, the veterans tell it best.

N.
 

Linguofreak

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What I found out (only very late) is, that -despite the impression all the US movies left- the number of British / Canadian soldiers exceeded the number of US soldiers on D-Day!
The US put in many more troops, equalizing the "mismatch" later on, though.

Our biggest contribution to the war wasn't so much the fighting we did, but the logistical contribution we made. The two sides, without the US involved, were about evenly matched, GDP-wise. But when the US joined the war, the GDP ratio between the two sides went from 1:1 to 2:1. Once that happened, Allied victory was just a matter of time.

But logistics doesn't make blockbuster movies, and British or Russian war heroes don't make the American heart swell with pride, so Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge and the Pacific War get all the screen time.

---------- Post added at 09:37 ---------- Previous post was at 09:12 ----------

The British/Canadian forces also had been much more successful on D-Day compared to the US forces. Utah and Omaha beach were near disasters. Omaha has intact defenses because of a failed strategic bombing, On Utah the US landed 2 km off the planned landing site.


Most people talk of Omaha beach when talking about D-Day, but not about Utah, where the initial confusion was quickly ended by good and creative leadership... and little resistance, only 197 US soldiers died there, out of 20000. No comparison to Omaha or Juno beach.

I wouldn't call Utah a near disaster, the off-target landing at Utah was really the key to how well it went, and the good leadership was realizing, once the first troops had come ashore a mile off-target, that everything would be much easier if everybody came ashore there instead of at the originally planned location.

Omaha, on the other hand, I'm not sure qualifies as a merely a *near* disaster. If the other beaches had gone that badly, I don't think the operation as a whole could have succeeded.
 

Urwumpe

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I wouldn't call Utah a near disaster, the off-target landing at Utah was really the key to how well it went, and the good leadership was realizing, once the first troops had come ashore a mile off-target, that everything would be much easier if everybody came ashore there instead of at the originally planned location.


Well, there had been two things happening that prevented diaster on Utah:

  • They landed on a less well defended place of the beach without knowing it.
  • And they noticed that they had been in a better position before the Germans did.



Omaha, on the other hand, I'm not sure qualifies as a merely a *near* disaster. If the other beaches had gone that badly, I don't think the operation as a whole could have succeeded.


Well, on the other hand, even with Rommel understanding the situation before invasion perfectly and preparing accordingly, the German leadership really made it easy for the Allies.



More so, without Rommel changing the defense plans in the months before to something more sane, D-Day would have been a beach picknick for the allies. The initial German plan was as insane as letting hundred thousands of allies land first in Calais, relying completely on the static and underequipped Atlantic Wall, and THEN engage them in a massive battle far away from the coast.


Thats like trying to win a football final against Germany by beginning with the penalty shootout.



if the bombing of Omaha would have been hitting the correct targets, that beach would have been much easier to take, since the Atlantic Wall was very vulnerable to bombing and ship artillery - as the other beaches showed this too well. As Patton said wisely: fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man.


D-Day could have ended differently. With a different German leadership and leadership culture... Especially Saint Lo and The Falaise Pocket later showed how the German Nazi system prevented an effective defense against allies. It was a tough hard fight already with so many idiots giving the orders. But IMHO, a better defense strategy would have resulted in the allies needing multiple D-Days to create the western front.


(Though as you said correctly: Winning a prolonged war was impossible for Germany once the USA entered the war logistically. An even winning a short intense war against England instead of turning against the USSR would have been unlikely under the known circumstances. Hitler luckily was an idiot.)
 

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This reminds me of the book i learned about the war from as a kid, back in USSR.

It wasn't until mid-Wikipedia age that i realized that D-Day was a thing, because the book, while portraying America's Pacific Theater rather faithfully, basically glanced over the whole "second front" as if it was just a quick walk in the park in order to stop us from continuing past Berlin. "They landed and went east".
And school's history lessons weren't any better.

It's a shame how much history is re-shaped by politics, and soon enough there won't even be anyone left alive to call it out.
 

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This reminds me of the book i learned about the war from as a kid, back in USSR.

It wasn't until mid-Wikipedia age that i realized that D-Day was a thing, because the book, while portraying America's Pacific Theater rather faithfully, basically glanced over the whole "second front" as if it was just a quick walk in the park in order to stop us from continuing past Berlin. "They landed and went east".
And school's history lessons weren't any better.

It's a shame how much history is re-shaped by politics, and soon enough there won't even be anyone left alive to call it out.

Here one at least hears of, e.g, Stalingrad, but there's still a definite bias towards telling the stories that involve American troops.

The Normandy landings had other goals than simply stopping the Soviets from moving past Berlin. The liberation of France would have been a goal whether or not Western leaders thought they could trust Stalin, and for the British I think it was even considered a point of honor. That said, I think that that making sure that the Soviets didn't just keep going west was certainly on the minds of Western leadership (though probably less on Roosevelt's mind than anybody else's, he's seen by many as having been soft on Stalin), and there are plenty of people in the US today that wish we'd gotten started earlier and met the Soviets further east. Whatever one thinks of later Soviet/Russian regimes, Stalin is seen in the West as having been nearly as bad as Hitler, and some even think he was worse.
 

Urwumpe

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Also, of course, one factor for the landing was that Stalin demanded it already 1941. Back then under different conditions in the war of course. It was before Stalingrad and the battle of Kursk.
 

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...a definite bias towards telling the stories that involve American troops...


It has to do with the availability of archive images. The US films are mostly in the public domain, so you could use them on documentaries with no trouble.
And today they are on youtube, even the raw footage:



If other countries did the same with their records, we could have more balanced accounts.
 

soumya-8974

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I think that D. Day (Day of Deliverance) was the beginning of the end of Fascism and Nazism.
 

Linguofreak

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It has to do with the availability of archive images. The US films are mostly in the public domain, so you could use them on documentaries with no trouble.
And today they are on youtube, even the raw footage:
Memphis Belle (Outtakes)-Reel 1 - YouTube



If other countries did the same with their records, we could have more balanced accounts.

But I'm talking about what Hollywood puts out, or what you see in books. Books don't need footage, and wartime footage isn't shiny enough for Hollywood, so they roll their own. No the reason that the stories we get aren't balanced is the same as why the book Artlav read wasn't balanced, even if the Western tradition of a free press moderates it to some degree.
 

Urwumpe

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I think that D. Day (Day of Deliverance) was the beginning of the end of Fascism and Nazism.


Sadly not. :dry:


The cheapest form of pride however is national pride. For it reveals in the one thus afflicted the lack of individual qualities of which he could be proud, while he would not otherwise reach for what he shares with so many millions. He who possesses significant personal merits will rather recognise the defects of his own nation, as he has them constantly before his eyes, most clearly. But that poor blighter who has nothing in the world of which he can be proud, latches onto the last means of being proud, the nation to which he belongs to. Thus he recovers and is now in gratitude ready to defend with hands and feet all errors and follies which are its own.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer
 

Notebook

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Never heard D-Day called Day of Deliverance before, obviously that's not the meaning!. There was also H-Hour in military parlance, I think.

Long way to go before Victory In Europe was declared, and it wasn't a certainty if the Red Army hadn't gone all the way to Berlin.
Obviously it wasn't liberation for the countries that came under Stalin's control.
Especially ironic for Poland for who Britain and France declared war on Germany and couldn't do anything after 1945.

N.
 

Urwumpe

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Especially ironic for Poland for who Britain and France declared war on Germany and couldn't do anything after 1945.


Yes, for Poland, its hard to tell who was worse there: The Germans and Russians who invaded, or England and France, who betrayed them in Yalta.
 

Notebook

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Betrayal is a harsh word, I think this sums up what I've read about that conference.

Each of the three leaders had his own agenda for post-war Germany and liberated Europe. Roosevelt wanted Soviet support in the U.S. Pacific War against Japan, specifically for the planned invasion of Japan (Operation August Storm), as well as Soviet participation in the United Nations; Churchill pressed for free elections and democratic governments in Eastern and Central Europe (specifically Poland); and Stalin demanded a Soviet sphere of political influence in Eastern and Central Europe as an essential aspect of the USSR's national security strategy. Stalin's position at the conference was one which he felt was so strong that he could dictate terms. According to U.S. delegation member and future Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, "it was not a question of what we would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do."[8]
from:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yalta_Conference

In practical terms there was little British or French troops could have done against the Red Army. Britain was worn out, France yet to reorganise its armed forces. America wanted USSR involved in the Pacific.

What could they have done?

N.
 

Urwumpe

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What could they have done?


"We promised the Europeans freedom. It would be worse than dishonorable not to see that they have it. This might mean war with the Russians, but what of it? They have no air force, and their gasoline and ammunition supplies are low. I've seen their miserable supply trains; mostly wagons drawn by beaten up old horses or oxen. I'll say this; the Third Army alone and with damned few casualties, could lick what is left of the Russians in six weeks. You mark my words. Don't ever forget them. Someday we will have to fight them and it will take six years and cost us six million lives." -- George S. Patton





And of course:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Unthinkable
 

Notebook

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Never heard of that operation, not surprising really:
The plan was taken by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as militarily unfeasible due to an anticipated 2.5 to 1 superiority in divisions of Soviet land forces in Europe and the Middle East by 1 July, where the conflict was projected to take place.[5] The majority of any offensive operation would have been undertaken by American and British forces, as well as Polish forces and up to 10 divisions of the former German Wehrmacht, re-mobilized from POW status. Any quick success would be due to surprise alone. If a quick success could not be obtained before the onset of winter, the assessment was that the Allies would be committed to a protracted total war. In the report of 22 May 1945, an offensive operation was deemed "hazardous".


Luckily Patton wasn't a politician, so could say what he thought.

N.
 
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