Tag Archives: Allies of World War II

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt… Ronald Reagan

Photo shows General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Battle of Normandy. The men are part of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the 101st Airborne Division's camp in Greenham Common, England.

Photo shows General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Battle of Normandy. The men are part of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the 101st Airborne Division’s camp in Greenham Common, England.

Normandy crucible : the decisive battle that shaped World War II in Europe  John Prados  New York : NAL Caliber, c 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 320 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. 297-307) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Assault landing. One of the first waves at Omaha. The Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. Millions of soldiers struggling for the control of Europe were thrust onto the front lines of a massive war unlike any experienced in history. But this greatest of clashes would prove to be the crucible in which the outcome of World War II would be decided.

FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA: THE ORDEAL OF THE BLUE AND GRAY Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944 Behind them was a great invasion armada and the powerful sinews of war. But in the first wave of assault troops of the 29th (Blue and Gray) Infantry Division, it was four rifle companies landing on a hostile shore at H-hour, D-Day - 6:30 a.m., on June 6, 1944. The long-awaited liberation of France was underway. After long months in England, National Guardsmen from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia found themselves in the vanguard of the Allied attack. In those early hours on the fire-swept beach the 116th Infantry Combat Team, the old Stonewall Brigade of Virginia, clawed its way through Les Moulins draw toward its objective, Vierville-sur-Mer. It was during the movement from Les Moulins that the battered but gallant 2d Battalion broke loose from the beach, clambered over the embankment, and a small party, led by the battalion commander, fought its way to a farmhouse which became its first Command Post in France. The 116th suffered monre than 800 casualties this day - a day which will long be remembered as the beginning of the Allies' "Great Crusade" to rekindle the lamp of liberty and freedom on the continent of Europe.

FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA: THE ORDEAL OF THE BLUE AND GRAY
Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944 Behind them was a great invasion armada and the powerful sinews of war. But in the first wave of assault troops of the 29th (Blue and Gray) Infantry Division, it was four rifle companies landing on a hostile shore at H-hour, D-Day – 6:30 a.m., on June 6, 1944. The long-awaited liberation of France was underway. After long months in England, National Guardsmen from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia found themselves in the vanguard of the Allied attack. In those early hours on the fire-swept beach the 116th Infantry Combat Team, the old Stonewall Brigade of Virginia, clawed its way through Les Moulins draw toward its objective, Vierville-sur-Mer. It was during the movement from Les Moulins that the battered but gallant 2d Battalion broke loose from the beach, clambered over the embankment, and a small party, led by the battalion commander, fought its way to a farmhouse which became its first Command Post in France. The 116th suffered monre than 800 casualties this day – a day which will long be remembered as the beginning of the Allies’ “Great Crusade” to rekindle the lamp of liberty and freedom on the continent of Europe.

It began on D-Day. June 6, 1944 – the day that the Allied Forces launched Operation Overlord: the great crusade to free Europe from the iron grip of Nazi Germany. But only when the troops were ashore did the real battle begin.

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Photo taken on D+2, after relief forces reached the Rangers at Point Du Hoc. The American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved in after capture by the relieving forces.

With Nazi defenders marshaling to stop the invaders, Hitler and his generals schemed to counterattack. Tightly constricted hedgerow country and bitter German resistance held the Allied advance to a crawl. Suddenly the Allies broke through and trapped the Nazi armies. Yet within weeks of this stunning disaster, the Germans smashed the most dangerous Allied offensive yet.

A group of paratroopers in a French village at St. Marcouf, Utah Beach, France. From here they will move on into the continent, accomplishing their assigned objectives. 8 June 1944.

A group of paratroopers in a French village at St. Marcouf, Utah Beach, France. From here they will move on into the continent, accomplishing their assigned objectives. 8 June 1944.

How was this possible? In Normandy Crucible, noted author John Prados offers a penetrating account that reframes the Normandy breakout to answer that question. For the first time he melds intelligence into the combat narrative. Shifting between battle action and command decisions on both sides, Normandy Crucible shows in fascinating detail how this campaign molded the climactic battle for Europe.

Evacuating Wounded Soldiers England, World War II Harrison Standley, 1944 Stretcher bearers of a medical battalion carry a casualty from the hold of an LST to a waiting ambulance which will take them to a nearby field hospital. The LST had just returned from Normandy bringing about 300 ambulatory casualties and about 30 stretcher cases. Seamen from the LST's and soldiers about to embark for France watch with interest. On board the evacuating LST's the cases are cared for by Navy medical personnel, June 1944.

Evacuating Wounded Soldiers England, World War II Harrison Standley, 1944 Stretcher bearers of a medical battalion carry a casualty from the hold of an LST to a waiting ambulance which will take them to a nearby field hospital. The LST had just returned from Normandy bringing about 300 ambulatory casualties and about 30 stretcher cases. Seamen from the LST’s and soldiers about to embark for France watch with interest. On board the evacuating LST’s the cases are cared for by Navy medical personnel, June 1944.

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Comments Off on The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt… Ronald Reagan

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A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week… George S. Patton

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Operation Fortitude : the story of the spy operation that saved D-Day  Joshua Levine  London : Collins, 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing.  316 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 23 cm.  Includes bibliographical references and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Operation Fortitude was the ingenious web of deception spun by the Allies to mislead the Nazis as to how and where the D-Day landings were to be mounted.  The story of how this web was woven is one of intrigue, personal drama, ground-breaking techniques, internal resistance, and good fortune. It is a tale of double agents, black radio broadcasts, phantom armies, ‘Ultra’ decrypts, and dummy parachute drops. These diverse tactics were intended to come together to create a single narrative so compelling that it would convince Adolf Hitler of its authenticity.

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Operation Fortitude was intended to create the false impression that the Normandy landings were merely a feint to disguise a massive forthcoming invasion by this American force in the Pas de Calais. In other words, the success of D-Day was made possible by the efforts of men and women who were not present on the Normandy beaches.

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Men such as Sefton Delmer, the creator of black propaganda, whose team of journalists, academics, German prisoners of war and Jewish refugees ran fake radio broadcasts to Germany with the cunning misinformation.

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Men such as Juan Pujol, a Spanish double-agent (code-name GARBO) who sent hundreds of wireless messages from London to Madrid in the build-up to D-Day relaying supposed intelligence from his fictitious spy network. This allowed the enemy to conclude that the number of Allied divisions preparing to invade was twice the actual number.

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Men such as R.V Jones, the head of British Scientific Intelligence, who masterminded the dropping of tinfoil confetti from the bomb-bay doors of Lancaster bombers, creating a false impression that a flotilla of Allied ships was heading in the opposite direction to the genuine invasion fleet.

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Using first hand sources from a wide range of archives, government documents, letters and memos Operation Fortitude builds a picture of what wartime Britain was like, as well as the immense pressure these men and women were working under and insure D-Day succeeded.

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‘…tactically the most absurd and strategically the most senseless campaign of the whole war.’ Major-General J F C Fuller’s verdict on the Italian Campaign, 1948

USS Ancon (AGC-4)Catholic church services being held on board off Mers el Kebir, Algeria, on 4 July 1943, just before the invasion of Sicily. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

USS Ancon (AGC-4)Catholic church services being held on board off Mers el Kebir, Algeria, on 4 July 1943, just before the invasion of Sicily. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

A hard way to make a war : the Italian campaign in the Second World War  Ian Gooderson  London : Conway, 2008  Hardcover. 1st ed. 352 p., [24] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 343-346) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Sicily Invasion, July 1943 Task Force 85 ("Cent" Force) en route to the landings at Scoglitti, Sicily, on 8 July 1943. Photographed from its flagship, USS Ancon (AGC-4). USS Leonard Wood (APA-12) is at left. The next transport astern of her is USS James O'Hara (APA-90). The destroyer in the center is not identified; USS Parker (DD-604), Kendrick (DD-612), Laub (DD-613), Mackenzie (DD-614), Cowie (DD-632), Doran (DD-634), and Earle (DD-635) were assigned to this force. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Sicily Invasion, July 1943 Task Force 85 (“Cent” Force) en route to the landings at Scoglitti, Sicily, on 8 July 1943. Photographed from its flagship, USS Ancon (AGC-4). USS Leonard Wood (APA-12) is at left. The next transport astern of her is USS James O’Hara (APA-90). The destroyer in the center is not identified; USS Parker (DD-604), Kendrick (DD-612), Laub (DD-613), Mackenzie (DD-614), Cowie (DD-632), Doran (DD-634), and Earle (DD-635) were assigned to this force. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

The invasion of Sicily in June 1943 and the landings on the Italian mainland in the September, gave the Allies their first toehold in Europe since 1941. But it was achieved at a cost. Following success on Sicily the forces were put under considerable pressure to take advantage of the changed situation and they landed at Salerno without a clear strategic aim and were met with fierce German counterattack. The subsequent march north was complicated by Italy’s unique terrain (mountains and rivers), its climatic extremes (very hot summers; freezing winters) and German resistance, and was agonisingly slow.

Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, U.S. Army (left), Commanding General, Fifth Army, and Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk, USN, Commander Task Force 85 On board USS Ancon (AGC-4) during the Sicily operation, July 1943. In the right background is Captain Paul L. Mather, USN, Ancon's Commanding Officer. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, U.S. Army (left), Commanding General, Fifth Army, and Rear Admiral Alan G. Kirk, USN, Commander Task Force 85 On board USS Ancon (AGC-4) during the Sicily operation, July 1943. In the right background is Captain Paul L. Mather, USN, Ancon’s Commanding Officer. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Ian Gooderson’s considered analysis of the entire campaign places the convoluted mixture of air, land and naval actions into the overall war but, more importantly, shows how the commanders on the battlefield dealt with the military issues as they arose. He has produced one of the finest explanations of a combined forces twentieth-century battle zone ever published. Erudite assessment of one of the most complex and least covered areas of action in the war includes land, sea and air operations, studies the complex alliances and mixed commands of the Allied forces and covers all the major battles such as Salerno and Monte Cassino in detail.

An Army Piper L-4 Cub artillery observation plane takes off from an LST at Anzio, 1944. LST-386 had an improvised "flight deck" installed in 1943 and flew off four such planes during the landing on Sicily. Later LST modifications, like this one, could carry up to 10 planes and supported the Anzio landing and the invasion of southern France. During 1944, LST-776 evaluated an experimental catapult for launching light planes, as well as Brodie gear. In this system, a cable was stretched between booms to one side of the ship, and planes were launched from a quick-release trolley. LST-776 operated Marine OY-1's over Iwo Jima and Army L-4's at Okinawa.

An Army Piper L-4 Cub artillery observation plane takes off from an LST at Anzio, 1944. LST-386 had an improvised “flight deck” installed in 1943 and flew off four such planes during the landing on Sicily. Later LST modifications, like this one, could carry up to 10 planes and supported the Anzio landing and the invasion of southern France. During 1944, LST-776 evaluated an experimental catapult for launching light planes, as well as Brodie gear. In this system, a cable was stretched between booms to one side of the ship, and planes were launched from a quick-release trolley. LST-776 operated Marine OY-1’s over Iwo Jima and Army L-4’s at Okinawa.

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The betrayal of trust carries a heavy taboo but is the only form of exercise that politicians regularily take.

Having learned nothing from Wilson’s failures at Versailles, Franklin D. Roosevelt was determined – working in tandem with Churchill – to see the pastoralization of Germany after the Second World War. One of the members of the brain trust, Henry J. Morgenthau, Jr., had devised the plan and if he was not a fellow traveller he must have at least been one of Lenin’s useful idiots, holding such positions as,  We can hardly expect the nation-state to make itself superfluous, at least not overnight. Rather what we must aim for is really nothing more than caretakers of a bankrupt international machine which will have to be transformed slowly into a new one. The transition will not be dramatic, but a gradual one. People will still cling to national symbols.
We had everything to fear with exhausted allies unwilling to stop Soviet designs to take over the West the scenario was set for a Chesterton debacle  where,  Evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin. Providence delivered us, but barely, with the death of FDR and the defeat at the polls of Churchill, we found hope in the incompetence of Clement Atlee and the vision of Harry Truman – the man from Independence in so many ways.

You will not find too much of this in Stafford’s book but you will find a good ground level recording of how the great game played out among the minor players in the drama. At once tragic and frustrating but finally hopeful the book is more than well worth the reading of it.

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Endgame, 1945 : the missing final chapter of World War II  David Stafford  New York : Little, Brown, 2007  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 581 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [555]-568) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG 

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The carrying out of the Potsdam Agreement has, however, been obstructed by the failure of the Allied Control Council to take the necessary steps to enable the German economy to function as an economic unit… James F. Byrnes

To end a history of World War II at VE Day is to leave the tale half told. While the war may have seemed all but over by Hitler’s final birthday (April 20), Stafford’s chronicle of the three months that followed tells a different, and much richer, story.

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ENDGAME 1945 highlights the gripping personal stories of nine men and women, ranging from soldiers to POWs to war correspondents, who witnessed firsthand the Allied struggle to finish the terrible game at last. Through their ground-level movements, Stafford traces the elaborate web of events that led to the war’s real resolution.

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That was the principle of reparations to which President Truman agreed at Potsdam. And the United States will not agree to the taking from Germany of greater reparations than was provided by the Potsdam Agreement… James F. Byrnes

The deaths of Hitler and Mussolini, the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau, and the Allies’ race with the Red Army to establish a victors’ foothold in Europe, to name a few. From Hitler’s April decision never to surrender to the start of the Potsdam Conference, Stafford brings an unprecedented focus to the war’s “final chapter.”

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ENDGAME 1945 is the riveting story of three turbulent months that truly shaped the modern world.

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The carrying out of the Potsdam Agreement has, however, been obstructed by the failure of the Allied Control Council to take the necessary steps to enable the German economy to function as an economic unit… James F. Byrnes

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The essence of football was blocking, tackling, and execution based on timing, rhythm and deception…Knute Rockne

Hoodwinking Hitler : the Normandy deception Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 1993      William B. Breuer World War, 1939-1945 Campaigns France Normandy Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. x, 263 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [253]-257) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Despite the mighty invasion force the Americans and British mustered in England in early 1944, a top Allied general warned: “If the Germans have even a 48-hour advance notice of the time and place of the Normandy landings, we could suffer a monstrous catastrophe!” For his part, Adolf Hitler planned to inflict such a massive bloodbath on the invaders that the Allies would agree to a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany.

Hoodwinking Hitler is an action-packed, you-are-there account of a colossal and incredibly intricate deception scheme created and implemented by ingenious minds, machinations intended to bamboozle the Germans on true Allied invasion plans.

Facets of the global chicanery included electronic spoofing, double agents, diplomatic deceit, whispering campaigns, femmes fatales, camouflage, strategic feints, the French underground, murder plots, phony military installations, misleading bombing raids, sabotage, propaganda, traps, fake codes, and kidnap schemes.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies gained total surprise, mostly because of what Winston Churchill called “the greatest hoax in history.” But not until two months later, when the Allies broke out of Normandy, did the deception scheme pass into history.

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