D-day Normandy Invasion
The invasion of Normandy came as the long-awaited Second-Front, anticipated by Russia and feared by Hitler. “Operation Overlord” commenced on June 6, 1944, D-Day. General Eisenhower led an amphibious cross-channel landing, while paratroopers supported the beaches from inland. American and British troops pushed forward into France, overcoming Nazi defenses despite a lack of supplies, bad weather, and high casualties. The day of June 6, 1944, proved a pivotal point in the Allied victory in Europe and the overall Allied triumph in World War II.
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General Eisenhower Prepared for Failure
Although the Normandy Invasion faced great obstacles, Operation Overlord was a success and turned the tide of the war. But on June 5, before the offensive, General Eisenhower knew that this cross-channel invasion may fail. He prepared a statement in the event that the Allied invasion did not succeed and the troops were forced to retreat. Eisenhower knew he would be held responsible, and he was ready to take the blame. While history books record the Normandy Invasion a victory for the Allied forces, it is common to forget the consequences of an alternative outcome, when failure is still a possibility. Eisenhower’s experience as a soldier taught him to always prepare for both outcomes and all the consequences that accompany defeat. This speech he wrote was never given, but it’s important to not ignore the “what ifs” that soldiers, generals, and field nurses experience the night before a battle, even a victorious one.
Telephone Diary of the 352 Infantry Division
6 June 1944 | Normandy, France
The World War II Foreign Military Studies collection on Footnote includes several insights into the German perspective of the D-Day invasion.
One is this Telephone Diary of the 352 Infantry Division. It begins with early reports of paratroopers and personnel carrying gliders and then continues through the invasion by sea.
The first reports of ships came in at 5.02 Hours, "Off Port en Bession one big and four smaller naval units were sighted. Ahead of Grandcamp light naval units are reported." At 5.20 Hours, "Advanced observers of the 2 and 4 battalions of the Artillery Regt 352 report to have ascertained noises which probably originate from naval units, at approximate distance of two KM, heading toward the Vire outlet."
The attached image is the first page of this Telephone Diary. You can read the rest using the filmstrip at the bottom of the viewer.
Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter's Account of Normandy
6 June 1944 | Normandy, France
Another interesting insight from the World War II Foreign Military Studies collection comes from Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter's account of the Battle of the 716th Infantry Division in Normandy.
Richter gives a thorough account of the initial invasion and the following days.
The attached page is the first of a translation of his report. You can read the rest using the filmstrip at the bottom of the viewer.