Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6, 1944, D-DAY

June 6, 2014 was the 70th annversary of the Normandy invasion.  The Normandy American Cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel near the village of Colleville-sur-Merlies. The cemetery covers 70 hectare (172 acres), and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Force crews shot down over France as early as 1942.  The names of another 1,557 Americans who lost their lives in the conflict but could not be located and/or identified are inscribed on the walls of a semicircular garden at the east side of the memorial.

France has granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. This cemetery is managed by the American government, under Congressional acts that provide yearly financial support for maintaining them, with most military and civil personnel employed abroad. The U.S. flag flies over these granted soils. The graves face westward, towards the United States.

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.

More Weekend Reflections 
More Black and White Weekend


Gemma Wiseman said... [Reply to comment]

A wonderful tribute. The statue in the first photo is quite unusual. It is almost an Olympian pose.

John said... [Reply to comment]

Visited the site some years ago, very sobering, as are all the cemeteries in France and Flanders.

Yogi♪♪♪ said... [Reply to comment]

Great photo, sacred soil indeed.

Viera said... [Reply to comment]

Great photo and a wonderful tribute...

Monica S Engell said... [Reply to comment]

Wonderful tribute and photos,- I was there some years ago, myself!

HansHB said... [Reply to comment]

Love the photos, - a great tribute!

'Tsuki said... [Reply to comment]

A very nice tribute to the courage of hundred of fighters... Well done.

Leedslass said... [Reply to comment]

The tv coverage drove me to tears and relive memories although I was only a child. Lovely tribute Bill.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Wonderful tribute to those brave soldiers.

Dragonstar said... [Reply to comment]

A moving post, with excellent photos.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful tribute.