D-Day

Discussion in 'Education' started by Xenophon, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    In four parts, the allied landings in Normandy France, June 6th 1944

    D-Day: Utah Beach

    Americans on the right flank


    The D-Day landings on Utah were made on the wrong beaches. Had they been made on the correct positions the Americans would have been cut to pieces by an alert German defence but the landings took place some two kilometres south of where they were intended and thereby missed the main part of the German defences in the area. In the event the two leading regiments lost twelve men killed.

    Though the assault went off with relative ease the Americans faced considerable problems, most of which stemmed from the vindictiveness of the elements during the build-up of forces after the assault. The weather persuaded the American naval commander to halt unloading during the night of 6th/7th June, but this was overruled by the commanding General and the risks of weather and uncleared obstacles were accepted. In fact by the evening of 6th June the whole of the US 4th Division was ashore and Utah, isolated at the base of the Contentin peninsula, was in reality the most secure of the beaches. German resistance in the immediate vicinity of the beaches was desultory and easily suppressed, though the link-up with the scattered airborne forces was not entirely successful. But Ste Mere Eglise was secured and the Americans were well placed to begin the reduction of German forces in the peninsula.

    Utah had been selected outside the main landing areas precisely for the purposes of ensuring two areas of attack, the beach being intended to secure the Contentin peninsula from which further operations could be conducted in the event of failure between the Orne and the Vire. Therefore operations in the peninsula on and after D-Day do not fully belong to the linking of the beachheads since Utah's objectives lay to the west and north rather than the south and east. Within two weeks of landing the Americans were astride the peninsula facing both north and south, the 7th Corps taking Cherbourg on 29th June. Though the main battles in the aftermath of D-Day were to come elsewhere, Utah was crucial in the provision of space and security for the invasion, not least in forcing the Germans to extend their reserves over an ever-widening front.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  2. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    D-Day: Omaha Beach

    Formidable opposition to American troops


    The Allied armada which crossed the Channel on D-Day, 6th June 1944, was the largest and most powerfully equipped invasion fleet in the history of warfare. Yet on at least one of the Normandy landing beaches, Omaha, there was real danger of the assault troops being flung back by the German defenders.

    Omaha was the second landing area of the five along the Normandy coast, working from west to east. It comprised a superb defensive position, tailor-made for devastating crossfire, with ample scope on its enclosing bluffs and the gradual slope that rose behind it for strongpoints, concrete gun emplacements and machine gun posts. This was the mantrap that awaited 34,000 men of the US V Corps who set out in some 200 assault boats with 3,300 vehicles 12 miles (19.3 km) out to sea at 0300 on 6th June.

    The boats were still 880 yards (804.6 metres) from Omaha when they came under a withering bombardment which sunk several of them. Other craft, which survived to reach the surf, became impaled on uncleared underwater obstacles. The soaked, seasick survivors staggered ashore into a hellfire of shells and bullets hammering at them through the savage winds that whipped the shore.

    However, the catastrophe that seemed imminent was averted by the sheer weight of the invading forces. Behind the first wave of assault troops, follow-up troops swarmed in, and American destroyers came sweeping to within 1,000 yards (914.4 metres) off the shore to blast the German strongpoints with their guns. As the day wore on, the Allied pressure built up, and men of the lst Division, part of the first wave, were able to move up from the sea wall where enemy crossfire had pinned them for several hours.

    In the afternoon, lst Division survivors were slowly pushing their way up the slope and off the beach. The fighting was of the bitter inch by bloody inch variety, but the defending Germans, though they resisted savagely, lacked reserves. By nightfall, the lst Division, or rather the remnants of it, held a beachhead 8 miles long by 1.5 miles deep (12.8 x 2.4 km).

    The fighting at Omaha was the toughest in the entire Normandy campaign.
     
  3. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    D-Day: Gold and Juno Beaches

    British and Canadians get ashore on D-Day


    Gold and Juno were the only beaches that were linked on D-Day and were the areas where the deepest penetration inland was achieved - though even this failed to secure the somewhat optimistic objectives these beaches were assigned.

    On neither beach, however, did events go smoothly. On Gold the attacking forces quickly found that German positions, particularly on their right flank, had not been silenced and these took a toll of the special `flail' mine-sweeping tanks of 231 Brigade while the beach obstacles wrecked many landing craft being driven by storm and tide on to a lee shore. Nevertheless the left flank of the Gold attack made better progress (even though the `DD' amphibious tanks had to be dry landed) with many lanes being driven up the beaches by the 'Hails' while the motor-firing `Petard' tanks were successfully smashing the intricate complex of German strongpoints commanding the beaches. Inside an hour the armour and infantry had broken through the defences to 1 1/2 km inland.

    The left flank, having broken the initial resistance, was able to pass through its second echelon and get some five km inland, crossing the Seulles and securing the Bayeux - La Riviere road. By that time the right flank, aided by 47 Commando, managed to eliminate German resistance at Le Hamel and push on towards Port-en-Bessin. Conditions off Juno were as bad as if not worse than any of the beaches, the Canadians losing many landing craft on obstacles. They were forced to fight without armour support but the Canadian infantry were so effective that the second echelon; arriving fifteen minutes after the first, encountered no resistance whatever. On both sides of the Seulles estuary lanes across the beaches were opened despite the chaos on the beaches, and by the afternoon armour was approaching the Bayeux - Caen road and a linkup with Gold had been achieved, the beachhead being 20 km long. Nevertheless there remained problems. On the left there had been no linking with Sword and on the right the American position on Omaha was still desperate at the end of 6th June. Much still had to be done.
     
  4. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    D-Day: Sword Beach

    The attack on the left flank

    The phasing of the D-Day attack to conform with tidal considerations meant that Sword was the last of the landings. It was also one of the most difficult in that it encountered strong German resistance (including the only armour counterattack made on 6th June) and had three diverging objectives. On the left flank Sword had to link up with 6th Parachute Division, on the right with Juno. In the centre it had to push on to secure Caen. While all the beaches had to be enlarged in three directions the importance of Caen made the task of Sword extremely formidable and its failure to secure the town on D-Day was critical in determining the character of the ensuing battle.

    The Sword landings were strongly opposed and the invading forces encountered far more obstacles on the beaches than had been anticipated. Moreover, the area between the main Sword landings and Juno were found to be too strongly defended and the approaches too treacherous for the Marines to land. Thus the assault had to take place against a strong and alert enemy. But the positions were over-come relatively quickly-with the aid of massive naval and air support.

    Though lanes through the beaches and sea walls were cleared, the deployment inland was held up by German positions on the Periers and Lebisey ridges and then checked by the 21st Panzer Division's counterattack, Nor were matters helped by the inevitable confusion on the beaches themselves, particularly in the afternoon when the beaches were subject to accurate and sustained German artillery fire.

    Nevertheless, despite the problems, the gains on Sword were secure and deep. But the advance on Caen was held some five kilometres short, the German positions west of the Orne being too strong to be taken with the forces available on D-Day.

    Sword's tactical objectives, therefore, whilst not abandoning Caen, were switched to a proper link-up with the paratroopers east of the Orne and the Canadians to the west, the momentum of the inland advance being sacrificed.
     
  5. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Omaha beach:
    [​IMG]
    (Many of these pictures were lost, as they were rushed to Britain for development and the man doing it was so excited by them he over exposed the rolls and ruined teh greatest combat photos ever made.)
     
  6. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Omaha secured:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  7. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Utah beach:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Sword beach:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Gold Beach:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Xenophon
    Offline

    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    16,705
    Thanks Received:
    3,750
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    In your head
    Ratings:
    +3,751
    Juno beach:

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page