Friday, June 6, 2014

The Friday Flyby - 06 June


D-Day

I'm taking a break from the "series within a series" this week for the (should be obvious) reason that today is the 70th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy. (For those who simply must have more, the Daily Mail Online has more photos of those two birds here. Go, enjoy, I'll wait here...)

Now wasn't that grand?


The Modern Typhoon

Old School Typhoon

It started shortly after midnight on the 6th of June 1944, a Tuesday, when the Pathfinders started jumping from their C-47s to mark the drop zones for the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions on the western end of the invasion beaches and the British 6th Airborne on the eastern edge.

To goal was to seal off the beaches from German reinforcements.

C-47 Skytrain

In addition to the parachute drops, many troops came in via glider as well.

Waco Glider

Horsa Glider

Men like these...


General Dwight D. Eisenhower "Ike" and men of the 101st

And these...

British Paratroopers - The man third from the right in the back row was only 16.
A volunteer. He did not make it. The Ex-Bootneck tells his story here.

They fought in the dark and, in some cases, confusion as not all the drops were successfully concentrated. They fought for places like Pegasus Bridge...


And Sainte-Mère-Église...



The men who landed by parachute and glider and those who followed them at dawn on the beaches at Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno were up against some very tough opposition. Right from the start for some, building up slowly over the first few days for the rest of the invasion force.

Waffen SS Infantryman

Panther with Panzergrenadiers

Led by this guy...

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel
A talented adversary.
But the Allies had a little thing called "airpower" going for them. They established not just air superiority over the invasion beaches and beyond, they had air supremacy.









The Germans paid a heavy price...




So did the Allies...





But the troops got ashore after some hard fighting. It may not have been the end of the Third Reich...

But that was coming.

And soon.

Köln, 1945





German POW column in Italy, 1945

Celebration in London, 1945
Take a moment today...

...and remember.


20 comments:

  1. Great post. I for one will never forget, nor will my children.

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    1. Thanks Rob.

      My children won't forget either.

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  2. Spent the better part of 3 months at "ARRRMY TRAINING, Sir!!!!" studying this operation and wasn't until 2 years ago, standing on Pont Du Hoc did I even begin to grasp the enormity of the undertaking. Arrows on Maps just don't bring it home. My hat's off to all participants.

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    Replies
    1. It's always best to see the ground for yourself.

      I will never forget them. Ever.

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    2. The Ol' Man agreed with you about "see the ground for yourself." One of the first trips we took during his three year assignment to Paris was up to Normandy. That was in 1954 and the area wasn't as tidy then as it is now. I'll never forget that trip.

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    3. I need to get over there again. One of the regrets of my European tour was not visiting Normandy.

      Quite honestly, I'm not sure how I would have handled it, emotionally speaking. Still not sure.

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    4. The day I visited, there seemed to be an awful lot of allergens in the air. My eyes were frequently watery as were those of most of the folks there, seemed to be even worse around the American Cemetery.

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    5. That would be my problem, the allergies.

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  3. Great post and pictures. Thank you for sharing. I will never forget.

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  4. Nice pics. About half I'd seen, half I hadn't...you've got a rare head-on pic of either a Martin Maryland or Baltimore light twin solid-nose attack there--hard to say which..

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    Replies
    1. I do believe that's a Martin Baltimore. Nice spec page here.

      And that solid nose is pretty rare! Good eye Virgil!

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  5. The picture after you stated that the 3rd Reich was soon to be over- the one with the city destroyed got me to thinking. We have to go to war when a madman (Hitler, Hussein, Bin Laden), or a leader completely blinded by his beliefs in his imperialist ideology (Hirohito), forces our hand and causes us to nearly destroy everything in order to subdue him. It's a shame that their insanity or ego blinds them from the nearly inevitable defeat that is forthcoming and has to result in actions like the bombing of Dresden and Nurnburg, firebombing and nuking of Japan, and the loss of so many innocent lives which we have to call collateral damage. Of course the loss of our servicemen is a tragedy as well, as we remember today. Tokyo is a modern city now, with almost no pre-war architecture remaining. Nurnburg? Only a little remains. Dresden rebuilt as well. War is definitely hell.

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    Replies
    1. I could not have said that any better Tuna.

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