06 June 2009

D Day

65 years ago today Operation Overlord and Operation Neptune were launched, eventually resulting in the defeat of the Axis powers in Europe.

It was the largest single-day amphibious landing the world has ever seen, and when it was over 1,465 American boys lay dead or dying. Along with the British and Canadian forces, and including those captured and wounded, there were over 10,000 casualties out of a force of 160,000 men.

The invasions took part during a break in the weather, which partly accounts for the relatively light casualty count (the expected casualty count was estimated at 75% by British air commander Trafford Leigh-Mallory). The Germans had assumed that since the weather was not cooperative the invasions would not be able to proceed for another month at least, and some of them had actually taken leave during the time of the invasions.

Even with those high estimated casualties, however, the expected gains were deemed important enough that the casualty count was acceptable. With three words - "Okay, let's go" - Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower set into motion the machinery that would change the world forever.

And with those words, the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the Allied nations unleashed their wrath upon the Axis powers.

The world owes them all a debt that they can never repay.

No comments: