Thursday, May 12, 2011

Road Trip Day 5, Thursday - The National D-Day Memorial

The roll of Allied Forces Killed in the Invasion
The roll of Americans Killed in the Invasion

Soldier Pulling His Comrade to Safety
Tribute to Commanding General Dwight D.  Eisenhower

 I made this brief video of the statuary and fountain depicting the Normandy Invasion of June 6, 1944. Bursts of compressed air simulate bullets striking the water.  There is too much here to communicate in a blog post.

Here is a summary of a longer article from Wikipedia. 

The Normandy landings were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Overlord and Operation Neptune, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 AM British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval. The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30 AM.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and material from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. 11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties, and 127 were lost.

Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from British, Canadian and Polish ground forces, 125,847 from the US ground forces.

The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded. The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the 425,000 total, above).

Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides. The American Cemetery at Normandy contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead. Of this number, some 307 are unknowns, three are Medal of Honor winners, and four are women. In addition there are 33 pairs of brothers buried side by side. The families of the deceased were given the option of having the dead returned to their homes to be buried. About 60% asked for their return. The remainder are buried at Normandy.

The vertical sculpture commemorates the massive concrete cliff-top gun emplacement at Pointe du Hoc. The task of the 2nd Ranger Battalion was to scale the 30 meter (100 ft) cliffs under the cover of night, approximately at 5:30, one hour prior to the landings with ropes and ladders, and then attack and destroy the German coastal defense guns, which were thought to command the Omaha and Utah landing areas. The Rangers were eventually successful, and captured the fortifications. They then had to fight for two days to hold the location, losing more than 60% of their men.

 xxAfter the somber reflection at the memorial we treated ourselves to a nice lunch at the Liberty Station in Bedford where we met the proprietor Mr. Harry Leist.


Yogi♪♪♪ said... [Reply to comment]

That is quite a memorial. Very good description of the invasion.