Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Winged Victory

to the men who triumphed
on June 6, 1944
Statue of the goddess Nike. Nike means "victory." Her wings symbolize the fleeting nature of victory.

Once, we did not consider victory as something to be ashamed of. Once, we did not believe success must somehow have cheated. Once, we believed in the righteousness of victory.
"Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."
Excellently done:
If it happened today: June 6, 2007, how would the Normandy invasion be covered?

MKH with an outstanding, multimedia tribute post. An excerpt, of action by "Easy Company", made famous in Band of Brothers:
The battalion commander informed Winters that there was a four-gun battery of German 105 mm cannons, a few hundred meters to the front across an open field opposite a French farmhouse called Brécourt Manor. [...] The guns were firing directly down a causeway leading to Utah Beach. The battalion operations officer directed Winters to take the battery. Taking his company, Winters made a careful reconnaissance and then issued orders for an assault. The attack would consist of a frontal assault led by Winters with covering fire from several directions to pin down the Germans. Winters selected three soldiers for the assault: Pvt. Gerald Lorraine, Pvt. Popeye Wynn and Cpl. Joe Toye. Asked later why he selected these three, Winters recalled, "In combat you look for killers.' Many thought they were killers and wanted to prove it. They are, however, few and far between."

Winters saw the impending attack as a "high risk opportunity." The key was "initiative, an immediate appraisal of situation, the use of terrain to get into the connecting trench and taking one gun at a time."
With the mission complete, Winters ordered a withdrawal. It was 11:30 a.m., roughly three hours since Winters had received the order to take the battery. In summarizing Easy's action, historian Stephen Ambrose notes that with 12 men, what amounted to a squad, later reinforced by elements of D Company, Winters had destroyed a German battery, killed15 Germans, wounded many more, and taken 12 prisoners. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that Easy Company saved the day at Utah Beach, but reasonable to say that it had made an important contribution to the success of the invasion.

Winters' action at Brécourt Manor was a textbook infantry assault, frequently studied at the U.S. Military Academy.

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