Remembering the D-Day invasion of Europe that turned the tide of World War II should also be remembered for its uncertainty and the sacrifice of so many, says a national defense analyst and U.S. Army veteran.
“It was a very bloody fight,” says Bob Maginnis, a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel now with the Family Research Council. “And that is the thing that is often lost in history lessons here.”
Operation Overlord, the official name of the allied invasion in Normandy, France, included 156,115 U.S., British, and Canadian troops backed by more than 6,900 ships and landing vessels, and 10,440 aircraft and gliders according to The D-Day Center.
The beach invasion claimed approximately 14,000 Allied casualties, including more than 4,000 dead, with the worst figures coming from Omaha Beach.
Militarian historians say the bloodiest place to be that morning was Omaha, where rough seas swamped tanks and drowned men, and troops that waded to shore from the blood-drenched water failed to land according to the invasion plans.
The invasion at Omaha was a “bloody mess,” Maginnis recalls, “and we had to fight every inch of the way, and many valiant people fell in the water and on the cliffs climbing up."
The Allied push to get off the beaches and over the Seine River on the way to Paris claimed approximately 226,000 lives by August, but by August 25 Allied troops were driving through a liberated Paris.
“Little do we understand and appreciate today,” says Maginnis, “of the sacrifice that they and those at home paid in order to win back the freedom of those in western Europe."
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