The List 5017 TGB
Some additional articles related to D-Day and some tidbits.
PHOTOS NOT INCLUDED BECAUSE OF
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D-Day: 75 Years
Thanks to Paul
On HBO June 6th at 8pm. It should be amazing if it is anything like the colorization and sound added to the WW1 documentary "They Shall Not Grow Old"
A 'monument' to D-Day's toll
Grief lingers in small town that paid high price from World War II invasion
BY ALAN SUDERMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS BEDFORD, VA. | Marguerite Cottrell remembers the summer day 75 years ago when a Western Union telegram was delivered to her family farm as her mother was hanging clothes on the line to dry.
Her mother read it, sat down and wept.
Ms. Cottrell's older brother, John Reynolds, had been killed in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on the coast of France.
"I knew something bad had happened," said Ms. Cottrell, who was 4. She remembers her mother telling her: "Well, little Jack has gone to heaven. I don't know what we're going to do."
All over the little town of Bedford, nestled next to the Blue Ridge Mountains, similar telegrams were delivered that summer — nine of them on one day — with the same opening line expressing the secretary of war's "deep regret" that a loved one was killed or missing.
Twenty men from Bedford or the surrounding area were killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Nineteen fell while trying to take Omaha Beach as members of Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment. The 20th man was in a different company.
The decisive World War II invasion took a horrific toll on Bedford, a town of about 4,000 at the time. Its D-Day losses were among the steepest, proportionally, of any community in America.
The dead were country boys who came of age during the Depression and joined the National Guard before the war for extra income and uniforms that local girls thought looked sharp, according to author Alex Kershaw's 2003 best-seller "The Bedford Boys."
Frank Draper and Elmere Wright were local baseball standouts. Wallace Carter worked at the town's pool hall. Earl Parker left behind a young bride and a daughter he never got to meet. Twins Ray and Roy Stevens hoped to run a farm after the war, but only Roy survived.
Their time in combat was short. Among the first waves in the assault on Omaha Beach, Bedford's soldiers were wiped out by Nazi machine guns and mortars within minutes after their landing craft hit the sand.
"They were waiting for us, the minute the ramp went down, they opened up," said Elisha Ray Nance, one of the few Bedford Boys who survived that deadly beach landing, in comments recorded in "Bedford Goes to War," a book by local historian James Morrison.
In 1996, Congress designated a plot of land next to Bedford as the site of the National D-Day Memorial, a monument to the more than 4,000 Allied troops who lost their lives in the battle.
"When people come here, it is important to see the town as the monument itself," President George W. Bush said at a 2001 ceremony dedicating the memorial. "This is the place they left behind."
Amateur historian Ken Parker and his wife, Linda, have turned the town's old pharmacy into a coffee shop and tribute center to the Bedford Boys. Green's Drug Store was where Bedford Boys had hung out as high schoolers and their wives and girlfriends exchanged gossip and news during the war.
The center now is filled with war-era uniforms, pictures and other items, including the teletype machine that Mr. Parker says printed out the notices when the boys were killed.
On a recent Monday, Bedford resident Maryellen Cunningham came in to take a look around. She said seeing the old teletype gave her chills.
"I can't even imagine the operator that was getting one telegram after another after another," she said.
The Parkers — who recently moved to Bedford from Oklahoma — said they get similar visits all the time from Bedford residents, who often want to place a war-related family heirloom on display at the new tribute center.
Nance, the last surviving Bedford Boy, died in 2009. Only a few of the fallen soldiers' siblings are still alive. But the Parkers said younger generations have held on to many of the boys' letters and other keepsakes, handing them down through generations almost like sacred relics.
The couple said one of the Bedford Boys' nephews recently found a stash of unopened letters his grandmother had sent to her son before she knew he had been killed on D-Day.
"They just bottled this up for so long," Linda Parker said. "They can finally open that box and let the stuff out."
Ms. Cottrell, who recently dropped in at Green's Drug Store, said her mother used to open up an old trunk with her brother's belongings on Sunday afternoons and read his letters. Ms. Cottrell said her mother blamed herself for letting Jack enlist and talked about him often to keep his memory alive.
"There's so many people that have passed away, you know, that this would have meant so much to," she said of the drugstore. "My mom would have loved coming here."
Copyright (c) 2019 Washington Times , Edition 6/6/2019
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Ernie Pyle, a 43-year-old journalist from rural Indiana...
Pictures included within article link below 👇🏾
Thanks to Dutch
Uncovering 2nd Ranger Battalion, the Inspiration for 'Saving Private Ryan'
Pointe du Hoc 75 Years Ago
One of D-Day's most famous, heroic assaults may have been unnecessary
U.S. Army Rangers show off the ladders they used to scale the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in France on June 6, 1944. (U.S. Navy/U.S. National Archives/REUTERS) (Handout/Reuters)
Pointe du Hoc, France — Seventy-five years ago Thursday, a battalion of elite U.S. Army Rangers scaled the 100-foot promontory here overlooking Omaha Beach, with nothing more than ropes and rickety ladders. As enemy gunfire and grenades rained down, picking them off as they climbed, the Rangers managed to secure the strategic high ground and silence a small battery of long-range German guns that had been moved inland.
The battle for Pointe du Hoc became of one the most heroic moments of the D-Day invasion. It was lionized by the legendary Hollywood film "The Longest Day" and by President Ronald Reagan, who stood on this hallowed ground to deliver one of his most famous speeches, extolling the bravery of the "Boys of Pointe du Hoc" on the 40th anniversary of the largest amphibious assault in the world's history.
Mostafa Essabbar, who owns Sal's Pizza near the Virginia Beach municipal center, said many of the victims of the May 31 shooting were his longtime customers. (Drea Cornejo, Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)
But a little more than three miles down the windswept Normandy coastline, an archaeological dig on a vast swath of farmland is starting to tell another story about what took place that day. A World War II artifact collector and historian accidentally stumbled upon a massive German artillery installation that was buried after the invasion. His discovery, along with a trove of declassified U.S. and British military documents, threatens to alter the narrative of Pointe du Hoc and its importance as a military objective during the D-Day invasion.
Only now are historians beginning to reckon with the implications. Depending on which is talking, the discovery of what is known as "Maisy Battery" either calls into question the wisdom of the entire Pointe du Hoc operation or is simply one more footnote in a war full of footnotes.
June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the day allied forces landed on the coast of German-occupied France during World War II. (U.S. National Archives)
One thing is certain: The mythology of Pointe du Hoc is firmly established. Those who challenge the story do so at their own peril.
"Historians always shatter the idol, but let me tell you, when they do, they get a lot of pushback and angry emails in the middle of the night," said Rob Citino, the senior historian at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans who has written 10 books about the war and only recently learned about Maisy Battery. "Pointe du Hoc is such sacred ground, it's like bringing someone to Gettysburg and saying, 'Actually, there was a much bigger battle fought just a few miles away.' "
The artifact collector and historian, Gary Sterne, 55, has received nothing but pushback since he found a map at a military flea market 15 years ago that led him to the discovery of Maisy Battery, a complex that covers 144 acres one mile inland between Omaha and Utah beaches — the prime objectives of the U.S. invasion forces. He has published a two-volume, 1,160-page encyclopedia full of photographs, military documents and interviews with Army Rangers who climbed the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.
Gary Sterne at Maisy Battery in 2006. The questions he raises about Pointe du Hoc have come under attack by some historians. (Vincent Michel/AP)
His startling conclusion: The assault was unnecessary, the commander of the U.S. Army Ranger unit failed to follow orders, putting his men directly in harm's way, and U.S. military leaders should have targeted Maisy and its battery of heavy artillery guns instead of Pointe du Hoc, which the Germans had largely abandoned by the time of the Normandy invasion.
"I have nothing but respect for the Rangers and what they did at Pointe du Hoc," Sterne said in a recent interview from his home in England. "It was truly heroic. But the facts are the facts."
'A lightbulb moment'
Sterne has been collecting military memorabilia since he was child growing up near Manchester, England. It became a full-time pursuit after he purchased a home in Normandy. In 2004, he traveled to Louisville to attend one of the largest military flea markets in the world.
Beneath one of the 5,000 tables set up there, Sterne spotted a cardboard box. Inside was the complete uniform of a U.S. Army soldier who had fought in WWII. Sterne bought it for $180. Inside one of the pockets was a map of Normandy. The map was marked with hand-drawn circles, each with an "X" in the middle, and the words: "Areas of High Resistance."
Sterne was confused. He knew the precise locations of those areas.
"I thought, 'There's nothing there. It's just fields,'" Sterne recalled.
Back in Normandy, Sterne drove to the fields and started to walk through the tall grass. He came across a clearing and a large slab of concrete. At first he thought he had found the foundation of a building destroyed long ago. As he stepped off the slab, he tripped over a small chimney protruding from the concrete.
He was standing on the roof of a building, not the floor.
"I thought, hang on a minute," Sterne said. "It was a lightbulb moment."
The entrance to a German bunker at the Maisy Battery, which was discovered by Gary Sterne in 2004. (Vincent Michel/AP)
One of the bunkers uncovered at Maisy Battery, a massive German artillery base that was buried after the D-Day invasion and lost to history. (Scott Higham/The Washington Post)
Sterne and his brother grabbed some shovels and began to dig. They unearthed a perfectly preserved, bombproof German ammunition bunker. He and his son, Dan, have been digging ever since, uncovering bunkers and barracks and large concrete gun placements. They discovered a field hospital, a command and control center, evidence that an SS squad was embedded at the battery and the skeleton of a German soldier. All of it was buried by Allied forces after the invasion and Maisy was lost to history.
For nearly two years, Sterne kept his discovery a secret as he purchased dozens of tracts of land from their owners, quietly piecing together vast sections of Maisy for a World War II museum. When he went public with his findings in 2006 and opened the site to the public a year later, he said the backlash was ferocious. Other historians labeled him an opportunist, a fabulist, a "Mad Englishman."
Sterne returned fire. He argued that Maisy, not Pointe du Hoc, should have been a primary target on D-Day. The guns at Maisy, he noted, were still firing three days after the invasion and capable of striking positions on Utah Beach, about five miles away. What he said next amounted to heresy in the military world.
Based on previously secret intelligence and field reports he obtained from military archives in the United States and Britain, Sterne said the 2nd Ranger Battalion commander of the Pointe du Hoc mission, Lt. Col James E. Rudder, knew that the Germans had removed their guns from Pointe du Hoc as the D-Day invasion neared. When Rudder and his men reached the top of Pointe du Hoc on June 6, 1944, the guns were gone, some of them replaced with long wooden telephone poles resembling artillery cannons. The real guns had been moved inland. The Rangers found five guns that had been moved from Pointe du Hoc that morning and disabled them with thermite grenades.
Sterne went further. He said Rudder jeopardized the lives of his men by disobeying orders. The declassified orders show that the 2nd Ranger Battalion was tasked with attacking Pointe du Hoc, moving inland and knocking out the German artillery batteries at Grandcamp and Maisy. The orders, issued March 26, 1944, directed Rudder's Rangers to "capture enemy batteries at GRANDCAMP and MAISY" after taking Pointe du Hoc.
Instead, Rudder attacked Pointe du Hoc, despite the reports documenting that the guns were being moved, and he remained in the area without advancing to Maisy. He later said he was ordered to hold the Grandcamp-Vierville Highway to prevent a German counterattack. But Sterne said he could find no orders in the thousands of records he has reviewed directing Rudder to remain at Pointe du Hoc and hold that highway. Of the Rangers who served under Rudder during the invasion, 77 were killed, 152 were wounded and 38 were listed as missing in action.
Some comments from Mud and Don
I always genuflect respectfully when some academic with no combat time starts teaching dumb riflemen our trade.
So Masiy was a mile behind Omaha and five miles from Utah. A mere stroll through the sunny farm land of Normandy. I have a hand painted picture of RANGERS tiptoeing through 2 divisions OF Germans. Caen was a D-day objective for the Brits. but it was a month before it was taken. I talked to Lt Frank Dawson who landed on Omaha and fought his way to link up late on D-day with the assault party and Len Lommell who was a sergeant. Len was the man who penetrated to the orchard Where the German guns were hidden.
I also, for my Army War College paper interviewed MG Richard Collins who was deputy J-2. He had a complete set of pans forte invasion (now at Carlisle, I believe).
This is all well documented. Rangers (like many Marines) are, in general, considered to be "Frank" at upper echelons and blunt as a meat axe at the lower ranks. .
Funny how the "Now it can be told how these dummies screwed up start popping up when the principals have died off.
I have a little deal like that going on about Tet in1968
On 06/03/2019 2:56 PM, Mud wrote:
I find this very interesting reading. I have been to Pointe du Hoc, and I can tell you I'd never have ordered anyone to attack a fortified position by scaling a cliff. When there it appeared to me to be suicidal. I don't know the exact size of an Army raider battalion in WWII, but I think LtCol Rudder lost a good 25% of his bn with 267 casualties KIA, WIA, and MIA. I don't know the options available for taking out the arty at Maisy, but I believe I might have ordered a parachute drop from inland, an air strike with napalm, Naval Gun Fire, etc., anything but infantry scaling a fortified cliff, but what do I know; I wasn't there.
As for LtCol Rudder not taking out guns at Maisy, I can't imagine what motive he had for not doing that if so ordered. Seems to me I remember there were three guns that had been moved further inland from Pointe du Hoc that the remainder of the raider battalion moved on and took out. Rudder must have thought they were more important than the ones at Maisy. Why then didn't Rudder move on the guns at Maisy? Who did eventually take out the guns at Maisy? Scroll down to see what really happened.
I'm eagerly awaiting rebuttal and other commentary from our West Point brethren, Prop, Russ, and and Don. 😁
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