Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-DAY + 23,736

You will read many posts, news stories, and watch on the news as the 65th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy is commemorated. Others will do a much better job of writing about it than I can.

I would just like to say two things. First of all, "Thank you!" To everyone that sacrificed in every battle of WWII, I say "Thank you!" To every American, Brit, and Canadian that stormed the beaches on that have my undying respect, and affection.

Secondly, there will never be another D-Day. There will never be another military operation carried out like it. In many ways, technology makes it unnecessary. But even if it were, the public (American, Brit, Canadian) doesn't have the stomach for it. We are not willing to throw human bodies at the enemy. Our leaders are soft, and scared spitless to lose political popularity. But again, we do have better, more efficient ways of waging war...and for that I am grateful.

Here is a very interesting FAQ from the D-Day Museum in England

But just a short quote...note the casualties. Perhaps I am wrong, and misjudge the West, but I believe that modern day America, Canada, and England would have quit.

In April and May 1944, the Allied air forces lost nearly 12,000 men and over 2,000 aircraft in operations which paved the way for D-Day.

The Allied casualties figures for D-Day have generally been estimated at 10,000, including 2500 dead. Broken down by nationality, the usual D-Day casualty figures are approximately 2700 British, 946 Canadians, and 6603 Americans. However recent painstaking research by the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation has achieved a more accurate - and much higher - figure for the Allied personnel who were killed on D-Day. They have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have verified 2499 American D-Day fatalities and 1915 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4414 dead (much higher than the traditional figure of 2500 dead). Further research may mean that these numbers will increase slightly in future. The details of this research will in due course be available on the Foundation's website at This new research means that the casualty figures given for individual units in the next few paragraphs are no doubt inaccurate, and hopefully more accurate figures will one day be calculated.

Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1000 on Gold Beach and the same number on Sword Beach. The remainder of the British losses were amongst the airborne troops: some 600 were killed or wounded, and 600 more were missing; 100 glider pilots also became casualties. The losses of 3rd Canadian Division at Juno Beach have been given as 340 killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner.

The breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2499 casualties were from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths). The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000 casualties at Omaha Beach.

I posted this video on Memorial Day, and will do so again today. It was 25 years ago when President Reagan paid tribute to "The Boys of Point du Hoc."


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