D-Day Details.

by Daniel Russ on December 21, 2018

Post image for D-Day Details. Photograph of American troops approaching Omaha Beach, Normandy, on D-Day. Dated 20th Century. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)



On the way to Normandy, the British were more than generous, adding to the US food allotment 240,000,000 pounds of potatoes, 2.4 million tent pegs, 15 million condoms, 1000 cake pans, 260,000 grave markers, 80 million packets of cookies, 54 million gallons of beer.


The US Army aggregated from overseas and from Europe, 301,000 vehicles, 1800 trains locomotives,  2000 rail cars, 2700 artillery guns, 300,000 phone poles, 7 million gallons of petroleum fuels and lubricants, and a measured amount of food and ammunition per soldier a day: 42 pounds. That’s 60 million K rations in 500 ton bales, and photographer Robert Capa described the deployment of heavy tanks and so forth “everything looked like a new secret weapon”.


Operation OVERLORD would cull together 8000 doctors, 600,000 penicillin doses, fifty tons of sulfa, 800,000 pints of plasma. And operating rooms were established on many of the LSTs.


People would be surprised to know how sophisticated the electronic jamming was on Normandy. There were 240 portable jammers from Utah beach to Sword beach, and there were 120 high powered jammers to protect the battleships. Beginning at 9:30 AM, AEF began jamming and the Germans had a difficult time communicating the status of the defense.



The Germans had stockpiled the first radio-controlled glide rocket called the Fritz X. They had been used with some effectiveness in the past hitting a couple of US and UK battleships. The Allies adjusted jamming frequencies to stop the Fritz X.


The thunder and fury from the gigantic naval guns arrayed off the French coastline did not fail to impress even when they missed. The 14 inch and 16 inch guns of the USS Arkansas and the USS Texas must have sound like a sound. Engine had been blown into the sky.


Atkinson quotes David K.E. Bruce, an OSS operative: “there is cannonading on all sides and even from the shore….The air is acrid with powder and a fine spray of disintegrate wadding comes down on us like lava ash…the deck trem bles under our feet and the ship seems to creak and stretch…repeated concussions have driven the screws out of their sockets and shattered light bulbs.”


On D-Day, Allied ships lobbed 140,00 shells, and most of them quite inaccurately. The German’s 288 batteries and 111 guns were all still firing.



Some of the Germans groused that the Luftwaffe was hardly even there. Well that’s what happens when you start a conflagration and one of the things that diminishes is your ability to replace your losses.  They said: “ …the American planes were gray and the British planes were black, and the German planes were invisible.”


It’s interesting to note that the Germans also could not build enough trucks to transport large units across Europe. Instead they relied on almost 70,000 horses, donkeys and mules to create a viable supply line.


The invaders had mixed results moving inland and came upon diehard Nazis who fought to the bitter end. 12000 killed, wounded or missing, 127 aircraft lost.



source: The Guns At last Light. Atkinson


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