Thursday, August 23, 2018


My French friends offered to take me to Normandy while I was there, and I casually said, on Facebook Messenger "YES!!!!"

And I am glad I did.

Here is what I had previously known about D-Day:  It happened, and we won the war in Europe because of it.  (No, I haven't seem "Saving Private Ryan." I don't like war movies and generally only watch them when I am forced to do so.)

Now I know a lot more.

One does not simply invade Hitler's Europe. 

It took over a year to plan, train, gather men and supplies, and make things (like large concrete docks).

The men invaded the beach in landing craft, as everybody knows.  Once they had secured a foothold, they made a temporary harbor on Gold Beach at Arromanches.  They had cast the concrete docks in England, towed them across 100 miles of choppy English Channel  (I am told the Channel is never not choppy, except during the Miracle of Dunkirk).  That is where the large ships docked.  Then they unloaded temporary piers and made several paths to the beach.  This is how they unloaded all the tanks, trucks, guns, ammo, food, medicines, etc etc etc.

The allies then proceeded to secure Normandy.  It is 25 miles to Caen, and it took 6 1/2 weeks to get there.  One of the biggest problems was the bocages -- hedgerows, in English.  Some of them were so overgrown that you can hide tanks in them.  (For comparison, it took another 4 weeks or so to get to Paris, a distance of 150 miles.)  This was among people that wanted to be liberated, with a resistance force that was doing things like destroying rail lines, cutting electricity, and causing other kinds of mayhem to disrupt Nazi movements.  Here are some hedgerows you can hide tanks behind. Several.

A typical road...what is behind the stone wall?

And then I realized how impossible an invasion of the Japanese main island would have been.

To those who died...


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