Time to Remember D-Day
If ever there was a time to remember D-Day this is it. Today marks the anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944, the day that began the demise of Hitler’s war machine. With all that has been happening in America, it’s time to remember the heroic actions of our Greatest Generation.
The original “Operation Overlord” (D-Day) was scheduled for June 5, 1944, but weather nixed it. Never before had the allies worked so closely together so secretly over nearly a year before. Though the Germans knew that the allies were coming, they had no idea where. The weather cleared on June 6 and Eisenhower gave the order for the operation to move forward.
Five Beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The Allied Commanders had formed an elaborate disinformation campaign to lead the Germans astray – Operation Bodyguard.
Messing with the Germans
“Vital to Operation Bodyguard’s success were more than a dozen German spies in Britain who had been discovered, arrested and flipped by British intelligence officers. The Allies spoon-fed reams of faulty information to these Nazi double agents to pass along to Berlin. For instance, a pair of double agents nicknamed Mutt and Jeff relayed detailed reports about the fictitious British Fourth Army that was amassing in Scotland with plans to join with the Soviet Union in an invasion of Norway. To further the illusion, the Allies fabricated radio chatter about cold-weather issues such as ski bindings and the operation of tank engines in subzero temperatures. The ruse worked as Hitler sent one of his fighting divisions to Scandinavia just weeks before D-Day.”
But it wasn’t just disinformation passed along by spies. The Germans believed that the invasion would happen at Pas de Calais on the English Channel – but that location was rejected by the Allies because it was the most heavily fortified area.
Nonetheless, the Allies made certain that Germany was preoccupied with that area to the point of sending fake messages, and even paratroopers wired with the sounds of rifle fire and grenades. Among them were a few British troops who operated phonographs that simulated the sounds of soldier’s voices and gunfire. They created inflatable tanks and used rollers to simulate their tracks. They used airplanes laden with aluminum strips to create false radar signatures that made it appear as a large fleet. They hired an actor who resembled Montgomery, coached and worked with him to pretend Montgomery’s mannerisms.
Three days after the landing at Normandy, a double agent named Juan Pujol Garcia told Hitler that the Normandy landing was a “red herring.” He advised Hitler that Patton had not yet moved from England…therefore Hitler did not release reinforcements for 7 weeks after the Normandy landing. It gave the Allies enough time to establish a foothold.
Even with the massive deception campaign, the Allies suffered thousands of casualties from the battles beginning at Normandy and moving forward. But by the end of August, 1944, Paris was freed from the grip of the Nazis, and the armies were marching onward. On May 8, 1945, the Germans surrendered.
There are lessons in the valor, the sacrifice of troops on that fateful day and beyond. Some of those who died on June 6, 1944 never made it to shore. They are lessons lost to many -but being rekindled in recent days as we’ve watched anarchists torch our cities. Our cities, our businesses, our homes destroyed by those who do not care. Where do you stand?
Featured photo: Omaha beach on June 6, 1944