D-Day History

D-Day History

1. A number of code words from the D-Day mission (beaches Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno, operations terms Overlord and Neptune, and floating harbors named Mulberry) did appear in The Daily Telegraph crossword puzzles over the span of a month before D-Day. MI-5 investigated, but found no evidence of leaks.

2. Many of the “German” defenders weren’t even German. The Nazis conscripted a number of non-Germans (Poles, Belgians, Dutch) and East Europeans to serve as coastal units.

3. People know that “H-Hour” is the hour when the operation began. However, because of the differences in tidal conditions, H-Hour actually varied by almost an hour and a half across the Normandy assaults, according to the American Heritage Library.

3. The USS Nevada, a battleship that played a key role in naval gun support, was the only battleship to make it out of its moorings at Pearl Harbor. Though heavily damaged, it not only was repaired in time to help at D-Day, but returned to support the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions.

4. Most German mines failed to destroy Allied ships because they had timers set to sink after the spring, so as to not destroy German ships. The German military figured an invasion would only take place during the spring.

5. Oyster mines were not dropped by the Luftwaffe because they moved them further inland along with supply depots for greater protection, according to the book D-Day, The Invasion Of Europe.

6. The first American to make it to Normandy was Captain Frank Lillyman, who parachuted in. He was wounded later in the day, and won the Medal of Valor. He continued to serve in the military until 1968, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He died three years later.

7. General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt, led the landings at Utah Beach, winning the Medal of Honor. A week after D-Day, he suffered a heart attack during a battle and died. He is buried in Normandy.

8. More than half the Sherman DD tanks (Duplex Drive tanks pejoratively called “Donald Ducks” for their temperamental nature), didn’t make it to Omaha Beach, most sinking short of the beach with everyone inside. Later groups that made it in closer to the shore survived, and helped capture Omaha Beach.

9. Germans deployed a number of remote-controlled “Goliath” tanks loaded with bombs, called “beetles” or doodlebugs by Americans. Most failed to detonate because blasts from naval guns disabled their command cables.

10. Among the British beaches, the Canadians took the greatest ratio of losses while capturing Juno Beach in tough fighting. Nevertheless, their unit was able ride ashore on bicycles.

image of normandy invasion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *