D-Day, a pivotal point in World War II

“I was so scared, scared plumb to death, and just kept thinking I got to get through this somehow.” – Howard Woody

Like all others, I get involved with doing all the day-to-day stuff that continually crops up and had spaced the significance of today’s paper and it standing almost on the cusp of a very important day in the history of America and the world.

D-Day fell on June 6, 1944, and was a monumental event in World War II and is considered the day when the Allies turned the tide.

It was the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II.

With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost, and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved.

Bridger Valley has its own survivor of the onslaught. Howard Woody of Mountain View was part of the Allies surge in 1944, landing between the Utah and Omaha beaches that set the stage for the march across Normandy that led to the defeat of the Germans. In an earlier interview Woody related his story.

As an 18-year old U.S. Army soldier, Woody said, “I was so scared, scared plumb to death, and just kept thinking I got to get through this somehow.”

By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

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