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And then the wheels of the Germans army came off


Caen (13/6 – 30).

The past days saw a sway of D-Day celebration of June 6, 1944, bringing together the land, air, and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history. The operation, given the codename OVERLORD, delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The beaches were given the code names UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD.

The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies, landed on D-Day.

Casualties from these countries during the landing numbered 10,300. By June 30, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores.

Fighting by the brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the allied forces western front, and Russian forces on the eastern front, led to the defeat of German Nazi forces. On May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France.

So much the official story of the D-Day. The faithful day is celebrated in honor of the surviving members of landing force. And so, it should be. But the defense secretary and the president of the United States could not resist to make this a political spectacle. And that is a shame. Waddling off the stage the U.S. president is an elderly man who should be celebrated instead he comes across of being an old member of the Politbureau.

Aged, he needed to be helped by the French president, and defended by U.S. Secretary of Defense. Instead of being a day for the Veterans and their achievements U.S. Democrats can’t help to snipe at the opposition. Gone are the days this significant day used to be unifying.

It become in the words of an American veteran, “A proverbial s…t show”. And that is a shame after all the achievements are swept aside.

In Mortain the wheels of the German army came off

Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it is the largest seaborne invasion in history. Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings.

The weather on the day selected for D-Day was not ideal, and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks. It was a no-go decision.

The invasion began shortly after midnight on the morning of 6 June with extensive aerial and naval bombardment as well as an airborne assault. The allied landed 24,000 troops, mainly American, British and Canadians.

The fighting was fierce. Most of the objectives were not achieved. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks. The Allies failed to achieve any of their major goals beyond the establishment of the beachheads on the first day.

Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were documented as at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

The Allies considered four sites for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, and the Pas-de-Calais. After long consideration the Normandy was left over and provided the better strategic outcome than the other landing sites. The initial decision to land the force was May 1944. The plan was accepted by the Quebec conference held between 17 – 24 August 1943.

Operation Jupiter was a plan originating in 1941 for an invasion of northern Norway and Finland by Allied forces. At the conference plans for Overlord were found by a low-level NCO who when realizing what he had found kept the secret.

He was tidying an office on the third floor of the hotel when he found a leather portfolio with an inscription in gold: “Churchill-Roosevelt, Quebec Conference, 1943.

Source: CBC

Once the realization sank in that evening, Émile Couture hid the files under his mattress. He drove to work the next morning and returned the portfolio to his superior, Brigadier Edmond Blais. Couture was told “‘Go home. Don’t say a word. We’ll deal with you in the morning,'” he recalled. He was interrogated by Scotland Yard and the FBI. But Couture was instead sent home. 

In a letter dated Aug. 28, 1943, the brigadier informed the Department of National Defence that Couture should be awarded “the greatest accomplishment that can be given an NCO.” Couture, who knew about the invasion before most, had not breathed a word to anyone. At a ceremony in September 1944 during the 2nd Quebec Conference, Couture was commended for his silence with a British Empire Medal. But there was never any official mention of what he did to earn the medal beyond recognition for “services rendered.”

On 31 December 1943, Eisenhower and Montgomery first saw the plan, which proposed amphibious landings by three divisions with two more divisions in support. The two generals insisted that the scale of the initial invasion be expanded to five divisions, with airborne descents by three additional divisions, to allow operations on a wider front and to hasten the capture of Cherbourg.

Eventually, thirty-nine Allied divisions would be committed to the Battle of Normandy: twenty-two American, twelve British, three Canadian, one Polish, and one French, totalling over a million troops landed on the beaches in France.

The German army was battered and not yet beaten, but in the small city of Mortain the wheels of the juggernaut came off. The Germans assembled a tank and infantry force consisting of the best of the best. 2nd SS-Panzer, 10th SS and high command and a supplement of elements of the German army assembled in the small village of Mortain. But than the air power came into play and destroyed the SS-division considered one of the best units the Germans had at their disposition.

Mortain, a small city inland from the celebrated beaches does not get the attention it deserves. Although celebrated its quick forgotten in the flags, speeches, and old president to hang on to his job.

The armies have long left France, peace has returned, old foes become friends, despite the celebration are overshadowed by a political campaign by the Democrats and Republicans who remind me of a crossfire of two-gun batteries and a couple of machine guns. Nobody gives an inch.

Mortain is settling in the evening, covered by the sunsets in the full colour of the Normandy summer covering the graveyards of generation of young men lost to eternity for a cause that appears stupid to say at least. Normandy and Mortain are symbols of the stupidity of war.

Unfortunately, Europa is heading to a new war and Joe Biden should be focusing on the war to come. And so should the rest of the European leaders.

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