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.
Today, June 5, would be the 70th anniversary of D-Day if not for the last-minute prognostication of British meteorologist James Stagg.
The planners of the Normandy landings originally designated June 5, 1944 as D-Day, basing their decision on a favorable combination of tide patterns and a full moon, which would help with pilot visibility. On the evening of June 4, however, Royal Air Force meteorologist Captain James Stagg met with Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower with a dire last-minute warning: a large storm brewing just north of Scotland would bring heavy winds, turbulent seas, and thick cloud cover over the English Channel. Ike's decision to change the invasion to June 6, on the advice of a lone meteorologist practicing an emergent and unreliable science, may have been the turning point of the war. Historian John Ross, author of The Forecast for D-Day and the Weatherman Behind Ike’s Greatest Gamble
, contends, "Had Ike listened to his countrymen's predictions and launched D-day on June 5, it would have failed with catastrophic consequences for the Western Allies and world history."
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian combines photos from today and D-Day
to show what's happened on and around the D-Day landing beaches in the seventy years since. [more inside]
"[It's] all the more staggering when you realize that more people were killed in the rehearsal for the landing at Utah beach than were killed in the actual landing at Utah beach." Operation Tiger,
the disastrous secret rehearsal for D-Day, marks its 68th anniversary today.
63 years ago today, 20-year old German lance-corporal Hein Severloh was armed with a rifle, a machine gun and 16,000 rounds of ammo when American forces landed in the early morning hours off Omaha Beach on D-Day. During the next nine-hour "Longest Day", Severloh gunned down up to 3,000 Americans before running out of ammo, making him personally responsible for about three-quarters of all casualties at Omaha Beach, comparable in scale to 9/11 or the Iraq War. Nicknamed The Beast of Omaha
, today he says "I never wanted to be in the war. I never wanted to be in France. I never wanted to be in that bunker firing a machine gun. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up."
The making of a D-Day tradition...
I immediately get goosebumps
when I hear the score of Band of Brothers
...I'm not sure why, maybe it was my local connections (Dick Winters
, Bill Guanere
, Albert Blithe
, Babe Heffron
, Thomas Meehan
, Ralph Spina
, Harry Welsh
, and Robert Strayer
are all from Philadelphia), the surrounding suburbs, or Pennsylvania), or maybe it was because the original airings took place in the shadow of 9/11 (the premiere was September 9th, 2001, with the D-Day drop occuring in the second episode, Day of Days, on 9/16/2001), but this series will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Everything is done so beautifully, from the special effects
, to the sound, the music
, to the dutiful translation from Stephen Ambrose book
to the screen. It's certainly worthy of the 9.5 out of 10 that IMDB readers
had given it. Every year now since, either HBO (On Demand - you have to subscribe to HBO plus have digital cable) or the History Channel
has played Tom Hanks'
and Steven Spielberg's
masterful WW2 epic. You can think of it as Saving Private Ryan, but 3 times as long. Even if war movies are not your thing, I can almost guarantee that they will see the human side of the soldier and becomely deeply invested in the characters. Follow the men of Easy Company from training and the running of Currahee, to the parachute jump on D-Day, through the liberation of Europe, the horror of a German concentration camp, and eventually to the end of the war, to Hitler's mountaintop retreat. I'm not the only one - check out the numerous fan sites to BoB (forum shorthand for Band of Brothers) here
, and here
, as well as entries on TVTome
, and Television without Pity
. If you want to try before you commit to watching the whole thing, I'd recommend the episodes Day of Days
, and the Breaking Point
Front Pages of News Papers from Tuesday June 6th and Wendsday June 7th 1944
The wonderful Newseum
provides a look back at some of the front pages from newspapers reporting the invasion of "Fortress Europe" 60 years ago today.
D-Day was 57 years ago yesterday. It was 16 years before an article in the Atlantic
finally provided Americans an unvarnished account of the carnage that was Omaha Beach that day. I'm in awe of what these 19-year-olds went through.