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“Rangers, Lead The Way!”
June 6, 2014 4:58 AM   Subscribe

Experience D-Day like your grandparents did, if they weren't in the military on June 6, 1944. Archive.org has the the complete D-Day broadcast from CBS radio.
posted by COD (31 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
(This was linked to -- by someone with a username almost identical to yours -- in my D-Day pictures post from a couple of days ago, but it's pretty cool so I'm not going to flag this as a dupe. In fact I was just about to start listening to it myself!)
posted by wenestvedt at 5:30 AM on June 6


The National World War II Museum has a little web site set up for the day, and it includes a timeline with nice set of maps and pictures of items from the collection and some relevant footage.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:35 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I've been listening for 30 minutes, it's amazingly riveting.
posted by COD at 5:43 AM on June 6


Likewise. Thank you!
posted by Westringia F. at 5:44 AM on June 6


Here's the BBC's version, including Benedict Cumberbatch reading the 8am news report.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:48 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


“It’s better than a barracks,” joked Mr. Settanni, who is 101 and whose head still carries pieces of shrapnel from a shell that exploded behind him on Omaha Beach as he led a tank brigade into France to fight German soldiers on D-Day: June 6, 1944.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:37 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Something D-Day related that I came across recently: The Allied double agent Joan Pujol Garcia.

The German High Command accepted Garbo's reports so completely that they kept two armoured divisions and 19 infantry divisions in the Pas de Calais waiting for a second invasion through July and August 1944. The German Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, refused to allow General Erwin Rommel to move his divisions to Normandy. There were more German troops in the Pas de Calais region two months after the Normandy invasion than there had been on D-Day.
posted by ghharr at 6:59 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Letters of Note has the letter President Eisenhower sent to members of the armed forces on the eve of D-Day, in his "Order of the Day".
posted by chavenet at 6:59 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


That was my link, thanks for acknowledging, but I'm just happy someone made it into a post which it deserves

There is something about listening to the broadcast, when information was scarce and difficult to come by and the outcome not at all clear, that is much more dramatic than one would assume knowing the narrative from our perspective. And so many original listeners would have had so much at stake personally.

I was looking at my pictures of Normandy from my visit last summer on a very similar day to today - clear blue, bright hot sun, still water, empty expanses of space, and in the cemetery silent, ordered, and still crosses. Just so much serenity. Its hard to reconcile that with the grey, the storm, the chop, the chaos, the noise, the blood, the smoke, the confusion, the crowd, the horror.
posted by C.A.S. at 7:00 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


There is something about listening to the broadcast, when information was scarce and difficult to come by and the outcome not at all clear, that is much more dramatic than one would assume knowing the narrative from our perspective.

How scare the information is one of those "of course" things that remains fascinating. At the beginning, they're not even sure anything's happening, because the sources are all German, and there's a lot of confusion about where things are happening. It's exactly like any breaking news story in 2014, but since it's also history for us, it's unexpected and interesting.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:07 AM on June 6


Some neat notes about the Order of the Day are in the 100 milestone documents "Our Documents" project at NARA's web site here.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:09 AM on June 6


This is Jim 'Pee-Wee' Martin, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, 93 Years old. (photo credit, Neil Blake)

Yesterday he parachuted back into Normandy.
posted by chambers at 7:17 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


My great uncle was a radio operator in the British army on D-Day. I don't know what his exact role was but from my understanding his job was essentially to act as a kind of human forward relay station between british command and officers on the ground during that day - receiving and sending on encrypted messages whose contents he never knew, but the voices he did. I only ever really saw him at christmas, and I never got to ask him about his role, because he was "old" when I was a child and I only became aware of his story well after he had passed.

But I do know he made a difference, and he wore a Christmas cracker hat with pride.

Its interesting to compare the coast of France and Japan today. Normandy nowadays is serene but there are scars all over if you know what to look for - from the preserved bunkers and emplacements, to less obviously the shifted terrain and impressions on the landscape from the bombing and invasion. Belgium is even worse of course, WW1 still scars the landscape incredibly so that you can find discarded ordinance at the sides of farmers fields on a regular basis if you know where to look.

Hiroshima, except for the museum area - is just a city, outside of the memorial, and the fact every building looked like it was built in the 60's - I would not have known there was anything. I don't know have a good conclusion here, but the strange way that war gets more devastating and leaves less scars is somewhat meditative. We rightly fear the implications of our age of drone warfare, and the terrors it might unleash. But there was no golden past, the evil and suffering we can unleash when we really care about doing so is just frightening.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 7:37 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to commemorate D-Day this week--re-reading "The Longest Day", watching relevant stuff on tv, etc. These recordings are great.

I went to Omaha Beach a couple years ago, and it was an amazing experience. It's a hallowed place. (With people sand-surfing on the beach, but whatever.)
posted by persona au gratin at 7:38 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


There is something about listening to the broadcast, when information was scarce and difficult to come by and the outcome not at all clear, that is much more dramatic than one would assume knowing the narrative from our perspective. And so many original listeners would have had so much at stake personally.

That's something that always fascinates me, and really reiterates the idea of the "Greatest Generation," hackneyed as that term/idea has begun.

You have a loved one in the service, or you have close friends who do. Your source of info on what they might be doing consists of letters, maybe radio reports and newspapers, or the agonizing telegram. You hear this on the radio; you tune in, you're riveted, you're terrified. In our society, today, we simply couldn't endure the uncertainty.
posted by kgasmart at 7:51 AM on June 6


Damn this 24 hour news cycle!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:15 AM on June 6


The CBC has posted some of their archival coverage.

And they have a social media account that is tweeting the events of D-Day; i.e., if D-Day were happening now, with access to the communication tools we now have. And Portsmouth news is doing the same with RealtimeDDay.
posted by nubs at 8:19 AM on June 6


There's something so evocative about hearing the time described in "Eastern War Time"; I'm glad that a quick Internet search sees it has been used in lots of titles of WWII related stuff.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:47 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Not that it really matters, but I didn't re-purpose C.A.S's comment from the previous post into my own FPP. I saw the link on my Facebook wall this AM and thought it was "best of the web."
posted by COD at 8:56 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


No worries here: good content deserves lots of exposure!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:17 AM on June 6


Experience D-Day like your grandparents did

Great-grandparents for many folks reading this these days.
posted by Justinian at 9:56 AM on June 6


There's something so evocative about hearing the time described in "Eastern War Time"

"War Time" was all-year-long daylight savings time, instituted in 1942.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:10 AM on June 6


I'll go you one better - In Britain we had British Double Summer Time (BDST) during WW2.

BDST: Confusing the shit out of undergrads studying WW2 history for years...
posted by garius at 10:28 AM on June 6


I guess you all understand now why the Pentagon runs on Zulu Time.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:40 AM on June 6


A couple of good bits of writing on that day:


The Day The Giants Walked, about Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who used his not-inconsequential political connections to get into combat, and who made a very risky decision that turned out to be the right one.

A Long Thin Line of Personal Anguish; the incomparable Ernie Pyle on the human cost of that invasion.
posted by TedW at 11:18 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


War veteran makes great escape from care home to mark D-day anniversary
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


My great uncle was a correspondent for CBS during the war and then afterwards. I've heard stories over the years about wartime London and have always wondered what it would have been like to listen to the broadcasts themselves and not just hear clips of a few important moments. Looking forward to listening. Thanks!
posted by colt45 at 8:34 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know if there are recordings available that include the music and other programs they were interrupting with their special bulletins during the early part of the broadcast? The comments indicate these have been edited out. They are fascinating as they are, but it would certainly add to the experience to hear them in context.
posted by missmerrymack at 3:42 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I suspect the music had copyright issues and thus had to be edited out. The originals might be floating about on the torrent servers somewhere.
posted by COD at 7:08 AM on June 8


I am an adjunct history instructor and I regularly try to use newsreels, radio reports, and similar materials when discussing topics. The main reason I do this is because most students don't understand the concept that people didn't have access to current event information the way they do. I also do it to point out the problem with depending on news reports for concrete facts as an event is happening.

When listening to the D-Day recordings, for example, I consider that someone who woke up that morning would not know that the invasion was happening unless they turned on their radios! Otherwise, the only way they would know would be if someone else told them, or they received an afternoon newspaper with the details.

Many students don't seem to care, but I do reach some who like the perspective it gives.

Joel
posted by jwt0001 at 9:31 AM on June 8


Does anyone know if there are recordings available that include the music and other programs they were interrupting with their special bulletins during the early part of the broadcast?

This week WAMU Washington's Big Broadcast, the old time radio show hosted by radio legend Ed Walker played clips from D-day including some complete with music.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:52 AM on June 9


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