Friday, June 6, 2014

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D-Day


         Today marks the 70th anniversary of the largest naval invasion in the history of war: D-Day. Part of the Normandy landings in WWII, this stage of Operation Overlord, which gave to the decline of Nazi Germany, could not have been undertaken in such a fashion had it not been for various factors, especially Operation Bodyguard, which mislead the Nazis concerning the landings of the allies. 


       The weather was pretty important as well. This is because the beaches of Normandy were lined with bunkers which would spray those arriving with lead. The skies were gray, and the shore was foggy, which allowed the armored ships to arrive to the shore with relative ease. Of course, once the soldiers jumped off their ships it was every man for himself, and the battle's casualties were around 1,000 Nazi soldiers and 14,000 Allied soldiers. 


      This was a clear victory for the Allies, though, because this put a strong foothold which could be expanded and this led to the liberation of France, and the debilitation of the German army. Of course, there was a wall that had been built in order to defend against an Allied invasion. This project had been undertaken by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, known for being an incredible strategist. This made the rest of Operation Overlord quite difficult for the Allies, but then again, at this point in the war the Nazis were using captured weapons and equipment, which tended to be unreliable, so they had lost much of their strength. 

To be fair, though, Rommel was a badass.
       To be honest, I don't know how Americans celebrate, or conmemorate, this day, so I would like to remind everyone that every war has its horrors. Imagine the fear a soldier had, sitting on a boat, under a constant hail of bullets, knowing that the moment the door opens he'll probably be shredded to pieces if he's not quick enough, and even then his chances were slim. It's admirable, to go to war knowing that.

      I want to end this on a lighter note. In one of the beaches there was a Scottish man with a bagpipe and he would just play it and walk from one end of the beach to the other. He was never shot. He wanted to give morale to his fellow troops and the Nazis thought he had mental problems so they didn't bother. Also, if you want a good artistic representation of what D-Day was, watch the beginning of Saving Private Ryan. It's pretty awesome. 

The bagpiper himself: Bill Millin.