D-Day, Normandy, June 6, 1944
Today is the Anniversary of D-Day, the great battle for a beach head on the Normandy coast of France. There are not enough superlatives to describe this battle assault. For its size, planning and execution is was truly a unique military operation, worthy of remembering and studying as a monumental struggle of the Allies to turn the tide against Nazi Germany in recapturing Europe. It was the third piece of the puzzle in the struggle to defeat the Germans and push them back into Germany and defeat. The other two were the Russian defeat of the German army at Stalingrad and their drive to the West and the invasion and capture of Italy by the Western Allies.
This year I reread about two element of the Normandy Invasion. Juno Beach, the site of the Canadians effort and Omaha Beach one of the American points assault. The Canadians distinquished themselves by getting ashore and penetrating the furthest inland that day. The Americans suffered dreadful loses (now thought to be as many as 5,000) as things had gone wrong . Finally they assaulted the cliffs to secure their beachhead. Accounts of these two battle are well worth reading.
The Normany Assault can be thought of as the beginning of the end of the second world war but in the coming year hundreds of thousands would yet die before it was over.
As a footnote to history, I have long been interested in the story of Kurt Meyer. He was a highly decorated SS officer who was held responsible for the murder of Canadian prisoners of war at Abbaye Ardennes. He was accused, tried and convicted by the Canadian military . He was given life imprisonment but ended only spending 9 years in jail. http://www.valourandhorror.com/DB/PERSON/K_Meyer.php
On this day, I remember my Uncle Ross who was a fighter pilot in the RCAF in this great battle.
Later he served in Holland. I wish I had asked him more about his wartime experience. I do remember him tellingme , if he had to do it over gain he would be a conscientious objector, which surprised.
Take time today to remember the Normany Campaign.