In honor of this month being the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I thought I'd post some interesting and some less known facts about that day.
The name ~ what in the world does D-Day stand for? Actually it means nothing. D stands for day which was a code for an important military operation.
There were over six million people involved on the Allied side of D-Day. The vast majority of them were Americans and British, but they were joined by other countries fighting for freedom such as the French, Hungarians, Polish, and Dutch. Nearly 160,000 of the troops landed on Normandy.
Just a few hours before the Allied forces planned to attack, British Meteorologist, James Stagg, persuaded Eisenhower to delay the attack. A storm had been brewing as Allied meteorologists watched the weather. The troops needed good weather to land safely. Stagg predicted a break was coming in the weather and after talking to Eisenhower the decision was made to delay the attack by 24 hours. Many meteorologists disagreed with Staggs but Staggs advice ended up being crucial to the success of the mission. The Axis Powers also monitored the weather and because of the stormy weather and rough seas, many left their posts believing that it would be impossible for an Allied attack.
|Meteorologist, James Stagg|
There were a number of famous people who were part of the D-Day invasion. Here are just a few you might know, the famous author who penned "Catcher in the Rye" J.D. Salinger, the handsome movie star Henry Ford, and baseball great Yogi Berra. Star Wars superstar Obi-Wan Kenobi played by Alex Guiness. The Force sure was with him and his comrades that day. And James Doohan, you might remember him as Scotty on Star Trek. Those famous Star Trek words, "Beam me up, Scotty." I'm sure he'd have liked to have beamed himself up on that day.
It was more than just ships that contributed to the success of the mission. There were 10,000 aircraft that participated. The most important rolls these planes and pilots filled were dropping paratroopers behind the enemy lines, keeping the airspace clear from enemy planes, and lastly to weaken German resistance to the invasion. They did this through bombing key fortifications and troops.
I admire Prime Minister Winston Churchill, for what he told his wife the night before the invasion. It shows that he held all life as valuable. He told his wife, "Do you realize by the time you wake up in the morning 20,000 men may have been killed?" There were actually fewer casualties than expected on the Allied side.
And the last tidbit I'd like to share is that in the summer of 1943 a man passing by the Norfolk House in London picked up an early copy of the invasion plans that had blown out the window. He turned them in stating his sight was too poor to read them.
|Norfolk House is on the far right of this mid-18 century engraving|
I hope you enjoyed this brief bit of interesting history. Every man and woman that fought on D-day is a hero that needs to be remembered. As are all of our military!
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