On This 6th Day of June, 1944

76 years ago on this day the allied powers began the liberation of occupied Europe by landing in Normandy, France. ‘D-day’ would forever be etched in the annals of history as the day brave men fought to free the world from Nazism.

The Allied armada which crossed the Channel on D-Day, 6th June 1944, was the largest and most powerfully equipped invasion fleet in the history of warfare. Yet on at least one of the Normandy landing beaches, Omaha, there was real danger of the assault troops being flung back by the German defenders.

Omaha was the second landing area of the five along the Normandy coast, working from west to east. It comprised a superb defensive position, tailor­made for devastating crossfire, with ample scope on its enclosing bluffs and the gradual slope that rose behind it for strong-points, concrete gun emplacements and machine gun posts. This was the mantrap that awaited 34,000 men of the US V Corps who set out in some 200 assault boats with 3,300 vehicles 12 miles (19.3 km) out to sea at 0300 on 6th June.

The boats were still 880 yards (804.6 meters) from Omaha when they came under a withering bombardment which sunk several of them. Other craft, which survived to reach the surf, became impaled on uncleared underwater obstacles. The soaked, seasick survivors staggered ashore into a hellfire of shells and bullets hammering at them through the savage winds that whipped the shore.

However, the catastrophe that seemed imminent was averted by the sheer weight of the invading forces. Behind the first wave of assault troops, follow­ up troops swarmed in, and American destroyers came sweeping to within 1,000 yards (914.4 meters) off the shore to blast the German strong points with their guns. As the day wore on, the Allied pressure built up, and men of the 1st Division, part of the first wave, were able to move up from the sea wall where enemy crossfire had pinned them for several hours.

In the afternoon, 1st Division survivors were slowly pushing their way up the slope and off the beach. The fighting was of the bitter inch by bloody inch variety, but the defending Germans, though they resisted savagely, lacked reserves. By nightfall, the lst Division, or rather the remnants of it, held a beachhead 8 miles long by 1.5 miles deep (12.8 x 2.4 km).

The fighting at Omaha was the toughest in the entire Normandy campaign.


Also made tougher because the aerial bombardment and paratrooper landings that preceded the landings were off the mark because of heavy cloud cover.

Playing in their favor was Hitler kept partial command of the panzers and was asleep all the way until the afternoon of the 6th (there were standing orders not to wake him)…and so the panzers that might have helped drive the Allies back into the sea never were mobilized.

As Eisenhower said (roughly), once the battle starts, plans are ■■■■■

The valor of these men…and their numbers…turned the tide on Omaha.

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The view from inside that boat, looking at what they’re walking into, staggers my mind.

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I’m going to say right now I’m not sure I could have done it.

If you were first wave, it was almost certain death.

Can’t believe the men who just went and did it.

It’s not uncommon for people to fantasize about dying for their country in combat, nor is it uncommon for the survivors of that fantasy to face a much more difficult challenge after the fact. They truly were the greatest.

I would hate being in the second wave the most. You have to watch what happens to the first wave and then realize that same storm of steel and lead is going to hit you as soon as the landing ramps lower.

Those men helped save the world. They deserve the utmost respect for willingly marching into what was almost certain death.


Getting into that boat on the first wave, knowing that you probably would not be alive in 15 minutes is mind boggling courage.

I always wonder why they did not napalm that beach for two days before going ashore.

I remember watching saving private ryan, for the first time, and thinking if this is anything like it how in the world did they ever get off that beach.

Going off memory here.

Although invented in 1942, I think it hadn’t been used in actual combat until maybe a month or so before D-Day, at which point plans for D-Day had already been set…I don’t think you can just add new weaponry and expect to know how to use it and take advantage of it that close to the actual battle.

Additionally I think I’ve read the British used it.

However as I said, the plans called for an aerial bombardment of the German fixed positions to go along with the paratroop drops, but because there were a lot of clouds, the bombers missed their targets and bombed inland.

Therefore many of the positions that the plans called for to be bombed out…weren’t.

  1. That would have changed what was on the beaches. What intelligence they had about the beaches would have been changed and worthless.

  2. The specific location of the invasion beaches was supposed to be a surprise (it was). Heavy bombing of those beaches would have tipped their hand.

It’s peopl like that is why I stand for National Anthem, no disrespect to you or the thred.

If I’m not mistaken, they were already using it in the Pacific. And when they came ashore in Normandy, it was inside their flamethrowers. Napalm is delivered below cloud level. You don’t need pinpoint accuracy with napalm. A direct his will incinerate everything. A near miss may raise the temp to 2 or 300 hundred degrees. Plus repeated strikes will remove all of the breathable air from the area. I’m not completely sure about my logic though.

God forbid any of the gelatin stick to you. It’ll burn straight through to the bone almost instantly. Not a good way to go at all.

Also, that would have been the last job I would have wanted. Carrying highly flammable chemicals exposed on your back. And the Germans, who were also pretty famous for flamethrower use in both world wars, would often concentrate completely insane amounts of fire on any target carrying a flame thrower.

The four deadliest jobs in World War II was flamethrower operator, message runner, sniper, and ground level artillery spotters. No matter what army you operated in if you were assigned those roles you went in knowing that the enemy was going to use everything they had to kill you. The Germans and the Soviets both would level entire city blocks to kill message runners or snipers.

You would have changed the battlefield that you had scouted and planned for for months. Possibly making the beaches and the draws behind them unsuitable to move large bodies of troops inland.

Finally as said, the success of the operation relied on secrecy. A napalm attack two days before the main attack would not have allowed for secrecy and there were reinforcements just off the beaches. Plus I don’t know that we had the ability to rain down napalm bombs like we did in Vietnam.

The plans included neutralizing the emplacements with heavy aerial bombardment. That part of the plan went awry because of cloud cover.

■■■■ happens in war. It wasn’t because they didn’t have napalm.

This is always a solemn day for me and my family. My Dad landed on Omaha on D-Day.

He passed away 5 years ago at the age of 96. He is missed.

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It’s unreal. Having served in Afghanistan, there was nothing even close to that… at least what I experienced. I could only imagine what it would be like having to face that fire head on.

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■■■■■■■ hell…

I just can’t stand the terror…

Bless them all.

What a thing…

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As I understand the beaches landed on were not even considered the heaviest concentration of defense.
That I can’t fathom.
Certain parts of the southern coastline were more heavely defended than where they landed?
I think they landed in a wall of hell. And that was one of the safer spots to land?
And Hitler had to be tricked to even thin out where they did land.

Landing a Omaha was pretty much a suicide mission, those men faced the worst of it.
more then half of all casualties were at Omaha.