Saturday, June 06, 2009

65th Anniversary of D-Day

Ronald Reagan's "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech. It's a classic: humble, humane, inspiring. Video and text.  

Blackfive has
D-Day photos and roundup of posts.

Currahee! The Airborne goes in.

Rangers at Pointe du Hoc:
In the end, Rudder's Rangers had suffered 70 percent casualties and held off five German counterattacks.
Ernie Pyle describes the German fortifications he saw on D-Day: "A Pure Miracle".

Excerpted text of Churchill's
address to the House of Commons on June 6, as the battle raged:
I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place.
So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and from the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air, and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen.
The battle that has now begun will grow constantly in scale and in intensity for many weeks to come, and I shall not attempt to speculate upon its course. This I may say, however. Complete unity prevails throughout the Allied Armies. There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States. [...] Nothing that equipment, science or forethought could do has been neglected, and the whole process of opening this great new front will be pursued with the utmost resolution....
I can state to the House that this operation is proceeding in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. Many dangers and difficulties which at this time last night appeared extremely formidable are behind us. The passage of the sea has been made with far less loss than we apprehended. The resistance of the batteries has been greatly weakened by the bombing of the Air Force, and the superior bombardment of our ships quickly reduced their fire to dimensions which did not affect the problem.
But General Eisenhower's courage is equal to all the necessary decisions that have to be taken in these extremely difficult and uncontrollable matters. [...] It is, therefore, a most serious time that we enter upon. Thank God, we enter upon it, with our great Allies all in good heart and all in good friendship.

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