Any military strategist will tell you that a beach invasion is the most difficult military maneuver to conduct. The Marines perfected it in the Pacific Theater during World War II, but the Normandy Invasion was primarily an Army endeavor supported by the Navy and the Army Air Corps (there was no Air Force yet) along with the allies, particularly the British and Canadians.
A little known fact is that during the preparation for Operation Overlord, one of the rehearsals went horribly wrong. During a practice landing in England, German E-Boats attacked units preparing for their assault on Utah Beach at Slapton Sands, Devon.
Not only did enemy fire play a role, but a mistake in timing resulted in friendly fire losses from beach bombardment. Mistakes in communication also resulted in the lack of an escort ship being on duty to protect them and allowed the E-Boat attack to occur.
The final tally from this training exercise was 551 Army and 198 US Navy deaths.
Because of the secrecy required for the invasion, these losses were kept secret. To this day what happened isn’t entirely in the open. But one thing is clear: these men did not die in vain. It was what I call a Blood Lesson. These are things we learn from disasters and then we change what we are doing in order to prevent them from happening again. 3 specific things were instituted: radio frequencies standardized (we ran into this and learned the same bitter lesson again during the Grenada Invasion), life vest training was improved, and small craft were put on standby to rescue floating survivors on D-Day. So these deaths saved lives.
Today, 6 June, Becca the Labrarian is offering D-Day (Time Patrol) for free. Mac’s mission in this book is to parachute in the night before D-Day and make sure French Resistance fighters destroy a key rail bridge to keep Panzer reinforcements from attacking the beachhead. However, it does not go as planned—time patrol missions never do. I think it’s one of the best written missions in the Time Patrol series.
For those who love to read, Becca the Labrarian has begun posting discounted ebooks every day on this page. Her tastes are eclectic, being a dog and all, but they are all either free or highly discounted.
Let’s take a moment today to remember those who went before and gave all in a noble cause.