History 122 Paper
April 20, 2010
D-Day June 6, 1944:
The Climactic Battle of World War II
The true story of D-Day is about the citizen soldiers taking the initiative to act on their own to break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Allied Expeditionary Force Supreme Commander, who led the soldiers to victory. Stiff German resistance resulted in nearly 10,000 Allied casualties, but the Germans were ultimately unable to repel the Allied forces. Although German resistance continued even after all five beachheads were taken, they had too few troops in the area to be effective.
Stephen E. Ambrose is a Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He is the of author of Band of Brothers and Pegasus Bridge, as well a two-volume biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He lives in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Ambrose is the Director of the Eisenhower Center and President of the National D-day Museum in New Orleans. He was the military adviser in the movie Saving Private Ryan and was an executive producer on the television mini-series that was based on his book, Band of Brothers.
The source he uses is based on information from paratroopers from the 101st Airborne in 1993. He also interview President Eisenhower about the battle on the Atlantic Wall in France. Based on information from American, British, and German veterans talk about the fear of war and the heart of battle.
The first day at Gettysburg had seen the two great armies – the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, led by newly appointed Major General George Gordon Meade – come together. The fighting had ended with the southern army in control of the town and Seminary Ridge, while the northern army possessed the high ground along Cemetery Ridge, ...
At the end of May, the Allied Forces began loading weapons, tanks, and supplies into the ships that will take the soldiers to the beaches of Normandy, France. General Eisenhower gave a speech to the young soldiers, “Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” With that said, the soldiers were off to Ohma Beach to fight for freedom of man.
The fighting was terrible, 4,900 men died that day and more than 2,000 were hit on Omaha. Pockets of enemy resistance still fought on behind the American front line, and the whole beachhead remained under artillery fire. At 21:00 the landing of the 26th RCT completed the planned landing of infantry, but losses in equipment were high, including 26 artillery pieces, over 50 tanks, about 50 landing craft and 10 larger vessels.
Once the beachhead had been secured Omaha Beach became the location of one of the two Mulberry harbors, prefabricated artificial harbors towed in pieces across the English Channel and assembled just off shore. Construction of ‘Mulberry A’ at Omaha began the day after D-Day with the scuttling of ships to form a breakwater.
The heaviest casualties were taken by the infantry, tanks and engineers in the first landings. The 16th and 116th infantry lost about 1,000 men each. Only five tanks of the 741st tank battalion were ready for action the next day. The German 352nd division suffered 1,200 killed, wounded and missing. Its deployment at the beach caused such problems that Lieutenant General Omar Bradley at one stage considered evacuating Omaha.
The question I would ask the author is what makes him write a book about D-Day and what was the factor behind his book. This book tells the reader facts and fears of D-Day. It also tells stories of the men on the front lines. Lives being lost, fear of never seeing your loved ones again, and why would men surrender to the sound of gun fire.