Saturday marks the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy France. It was among the most complex military undertakings ever and was fraught with the possibility for failure. Commanding General Dwight Eisenhower had even prepared short remarks explaining failure to the public.
There were failures on D-Day. Air and naval bombardment failed to dislodge hardened German positions. Civilian and military casualties were much higher as a result. But overall, the massive plan succeeded in gaining the foothold required to invade France and eventually push back the Nazis.
Here's the original battle plan showing the complexity and the forces American and allied troops faced on landing:
|D-Day Battle Plan. Full size image here.|
The Atlantic has a great photo spread from D-Day. Time Magazine has color photos. More at Virginia Viper.
And, as Mike's America observed on the 67th anniversary of D-Day, President Reagan's moving tribute to the veterans of D-Day remains a classic!
On D-Day American troops stormed ashore never doubting the rightness of their cause. They knew who their enemy was and were not afraid to call them out by name. And most important, they knew they had a Commander in Chief who supported them no matter what. American and British leadership and clear eyed vision were as important as battle plans and bullets to winning D-Day and World War II. Sadly, these lessons from history appear to be lost!