75th anniversary of D-Day...

crimsonaudio

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July 5, 1944: As planned by general Dempsey, Operation Windsor (which began yesterday) continues - the 8th Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry division, Royal Winnipeg Riffles Regiment, North Shore Regiment, Queen's Own Rifles Regiment and the Canadien French Regiment la Chaudiere control the Southern part of the airport which, as of yesterday, was controlled by the 12nd German SS Panzer Division. The 3rd Canadian Infantry division meets heavy resistance from the Hilterjugend soldiers who defend each farm and crossroads and who fight until death. Their fanatical defense slows the Canadian progress tremendously.

On the American front, the US troops of the VII Corps fight steadily towards Periers and La-Haie-du-Puits at extremely high cost: between July 4th & 5th nearly 1,500 American soldiers are injured or killed while the VII Corps progresses by only 200 yards. Saint-Jores is liberated by the soldiers of the 90th American Infantry division.

Over Normandy, US 8th Air Force attacks V-weapons sites with 101 bombers, airfields with 77 bombers, and the rail yard at Beziers with 70 bombers and 42 fighters returning from Italy after shuttle bombing operations in Soviet Union. US 9th Air Force attacks targets around Caen with 180 bombers and conducts ground support missions, offensive sorties, and defensive patrols with more than 600 fighters. RAF Bomber Command sends 542 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites and 154 aircraft to attack railway yards overnight.

Over Germany, RAF Bomber Command sends 35 aircraft to attack Scholven/Buer overnight.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces begin the destruction of the trapped German 9th and 4th Armies (an estimated 100,000 troops) in Belorussia. Other Red Army forces continue to exploit westward.

In Italy, On British 8th Army front, German 10th Army resistance stiffens, but Indian troops reach Umbertide and Poles capture Badia. US 5th Army attacking around Rosignano. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets including Villafranca di Verona, Ostiglia, and Aulla.

Pictured: US MP controls traffic on a bridge at Carentan, sheltered in a 'booth' made with sandbags. July 5, 1944; A jeep and a CMP truck being washed in a stream, July 5, 1944; A sapper from No. 1 Platoon, 277th Field Park Company, Royal Engineers, with his mine detector dog near Bayeux, July 5, 1944; Situation map from July 5, 1944

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TIDE-HSV

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I just had a memory pop up. Back in the 70s, I was talking to my German next door neighbor, who recently passed at 95. She worked in the Chancellery in Berlin. At the end, when things started falling apart and the Russians were almost to Berlin, she abandoned her post and started walking to her home village, Laupheim, in southern Swabia, not far from Lake Constance. (Wiki) She said everyone did this. She attained Laupheim successfully. She remarked that she had never been so happy in her life, just to see US soldiers. I asked her why. She answered "Because then, the bombing would stop"...
 

4Q Basket Case

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Just looked it up. Laupheim is about 650 km / 400 miles SSE from Berlin. That's one huge hike. Hope she hitched a ride on something, even if it was a horse-drawn wagon, for at least part of the way.
 

TIDE-HSV

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Just looked it up. Laupheim is about 650 km / 400 miles SSE from Berlin. That's one huge hike. Hope she hitched a ride on something, even if it was a horse-drawn wagon, for at least part of the way.
May have, but she didn't mention it. She said the roads were choked with people trying to meet the Allied troops. She said rape, or worse, was a certainty for a woman, if you got caught by the Russians. She had been decorated for going to back into the Chancellery to rescue burning records, something very German to do. Her husband told me this. Leni would never have. Some of the refugees from formerly German territories like Königsberg actually traveled much further. It was a time of mass migrations. If you were a young, attractive blond female German, hanging around Berlin to greet the Russians was the last thing you'd want to do. Around 14 million Germans fled west at the end of WWII. The death toll has been estimated all the way from a half million to two and half million...
 

crimsonaudio

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July 6, 1944: General Montgomery’s strategy of attacking Caen from the west has failed and furious battles between the Canadians and the 12nd SS Panzer Division occur. Despite the intense fighting, neither side yields. Colonel Maurice, chief of the 4th King's Shropshire Light Infantry, is killed by German artillery during the bombardment of his headquarters. The situation seems like a stalemate, the front line having not moved at all. Caen is still in the hands of German defenders and the British troops’ progress in the northern suburbs of the city is stopped by mortars. Montgomery chooses to push a new offensive in the next two days to bore into the front and capture the town of Caen definitively. However the Germans are firmly entrenched defensively, even burying Tiger tanks which, once in this position, are almost invisible to the Allied aviators. General Montgomery decides to intensify the bombing preceding the attacks.

The Americans also seem to be stopped by the German forces in the South of Cotentin - the front remains steady. The attacks of the US troops are carried out on two axes - one directed towards the town of Saint-Lo, the other towards Periers. The 30th American Infantry division approaches the village of Saint-Fromond and its strategic bridge above the channel Vire-Taute and the artillery bombards the various entrances to the village and the infantry captures the small village of Airel, located in the immediate vicinity of Saint-Fromont.

Over Normandy, RAF Bomber Command sends 551 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day. US 8th Air Force attacks V-weapons sites and other targets with 687 bombers in the morning and attacks V-weapons sites and other targets with 220 bombers in the afternoon. US 8th Air Force conducts more than 1,000 fighter sorties escorting bombers and attacking ground targets, with five fighters lost. US 9th Air Force attacks V-weapons sites, bridges, rail yards, enemy positions, and other targets with 500 bombers and accompanying fighters.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces of 1st Belorussian Front capture Kovel, east of Lublin. German forces are retreating. Southwest of Minsk, Svir is captured. The encircled German 4th Army suffers heavy losses around Minsk.

In Italy, elements of British 8th Army advance, capturing Poggio all'Olmo and Osimo, south of Ancona, on the Adriatic. German forces are conducting a gradual withdrawal, from river line to river line. US 5th Army captures Castellina and attacks into Rosignano. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets including Viareggio and Massa Lombarda. US 15th Air Force attacks Verona, Bergamo, and other targets with 530 bombers.

Pictured: Caen in July 1944 and today; US troops battle through the bocage north of Saint-Lô, July 6, 1944; US Army soldiers fire on enemy German positions with an M9 bazooka during the Battle of Normandy, July 6, 1944; US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson greeting a US Army captain of 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Route 68, north of Cecina, Italy, July 6, 1944

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Tidewater

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May have, but she didn't mention it. She said the roads were choked with people trying to meet the Allied troops. She said rape, or worse, was a certainty for a woman, if you got caught by the Russians. She had been decorated for going to back into the Chancellery to rescue burning records, something very German to do. Her husband told me this. Leni would never have. Some of the refugees from formerly German territories like Königsberg actually traveled much further. It was a time of mass migrations. If you were a young, attractive blond female German, hanging around Berlin to greet the Russians was the last thing you'd want to do. Around 14 million Germans fled west at the end of WWII. The death toll has been estimated all the way from a half million to two and half million...
A German colleague to studies such things told me that half the total German casualties were suffered in the last twelve months of the war. I checked and Killed and wounded, he is right. If Op Valkyrie had worked, it would have saved a bunch of German lives.

I spoke with a Polish colleague, and he told me that, post-war, the German populations of Silesia and Pomerania (the territories Stalin took from Germany and gave to Poland to compensate Poland for the territories Stalin took from Poland and gave to Belarus and Ukraine) were told to git. Almost all did. Then Poles from the soon to be Belarusian and Ukrainian lands were also told to git, to the land just vacated by Germans: Silesia and Pomerania. Some Poles staid and became Soviet citizens, but most left.
Millions of people moving around Europe in those years.
 

TIDE-HSV

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Caen is a pretty nice town today. Most everything is shiny and new (except William the Bastard's castle which is old, but restored).
Their reconstructions are breathtaking. In both Dresden and downtown Stuttgart, they already had every block numbered, long before the bombing occurred. Here is a pic of Dresden after the British firebombing and a pic of the Frauenkirche after reconstruction. The dark blocks are original and burned. The light blocks are new...Dresden before reconstruction.jpgDresden Frauenkirche after reconstruction.jpg
 

Tidewater

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Their reconstructions are breathtaking. In both Dresden and downtown Stuttgart, they already had every block numbered, long before the bombing occurred. Here is a pic of Dresden after the British firebombing and a pic of the Frauenkirche after reconstruction. The dark blocks are original and burned. The light blocks are new...View attachment 3855View attachment 3856
I find the Germans meticulous (sometimes too meticulous; messiness really bothers them) and hardworking.
Odd that they would mix old/burnt blocks with new unburnt ones. I'm not an architect, but that sound risky for the building.
 

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July 7, 1944: General Montgomery prepares for the attack of Caen, which is planned to begin tomorrow - in preparation for the new offensive, RAF bombers drop 2,300 tons of explosives on the Germans in and around Caen. While Allied artillery also bombards the Germans throughout the city and surrounding areas, the Highland Light Infantry (belonging to the 3rd Canadian Infantry division) attacks towards Buron, 3 miles to the northwest of Caen. Now isolated in this village, elements of the 12nd SS Panzerdivision fire heavily on the Canadian troops, which slows progress dramatically. Each house has been transformed into a defensive ‘fortress’ and an anti-tank ditch dug around Buron is a barrier to the Allied forces, which are exposed to German defenders. The fighting lasts much of the day, and the losses on both sides are high: the Canadians have over 260 casualties (a quarter of which are killed) at the end of the day. However the village is still not entirely taken by the Allieds, so the British artillery bombards Buron throughout the evening.

To the west, the American artillery ceases bombardment of the village of Saint-Fromond to allow the 30th American infantry division to attack. After fierce battles, the northern bank of the city is under control and the US soldiers cross the Vire-Taute channel to secure access to the bridge which is of vital importance for the Allies - this action makes it possible for the Sherman tanks to join the southern bank of Saint-Fromond and to continue towards Saint-Lo, located about 4 miles from the village. As soon as it is secured the bridge allows the 11th American Cavalry Group to send its tanks. West of Saint-Fromond, the small village of Saint-Jean-de-Daye is liberated by elements of the 30th American Infantry division, which then moves immediately to the south. The Germans are pushed back, but establish a defensive line stopping progression a few hours later. Artillery support is needed to silence these points of German resistance.

Since the Normandy landing on June 6th, the Germans have had 80,783 casualties (killed, wounded, deserted, or captured).

Over Germany, a large raid to attack targets in the Leipzig area by the US 8th Air Force, utilizing 1,129 B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers and more than 700 escorts, is met by a Gefechtsverband, led by Major Walther Dahl. Among the total of about ninety Luftwaffe fighters is the newly raised IV (Sturm)/JG3, an elite unit of volunteer pilots flying Fw 190A-8 aircraft armed with 30mm cannon, firing high explosive shells, and with additional armor protection to enable them to get within close range of their target. The Fw 190 fighters attack the rear of the bomber bomber stream while two Bf 109 Gruppen keep the American fighters at bay. The tactic proves successful with eleven B-24 bombers of the low squadron destroyed within a minute and, by the end of the day, the 2nd Air Division suffering 28 Liberators lost at a cost of nine IV/JG3 fighters shot down and three damaged.

On the eastern front, the encircled elements of the German 9th and 4th Armies are being reduced and the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front captures Kovel.

In Italy, US 5th Army captures Rosignano while US 12th Air Force aircraft attack bridges, transportation lines, airfields, supply depots, and other targets including Reggio Emilia, Collechio, and Empoli.

Pictured: A US 3rd Armored Division M10 tank destroyer negotiates a narrow alley in St Fromon, France on July 7, 1944. St Fromon is liberated on the same day by the 117th Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division; General Bernard Montgomery pins the British Military Medal on the uniform on T/Sgt Philip Streczyk of the US First Division for extraordinary gallantry on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on D-Day. Award presented July 7, 1944; US Soldiers on the outskirts of La Haye du Puits carry their wounded, July 7, 1944; When her town was liberated by Allied troops, French patriots dragged Grande Guillotte (a 23 year-old-French girl who collaborated with the Germans in Normandy) from her house and cut off all her hair. July 7, 1944

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crimsonaudio

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July 8, 1944: Operation Charnwood begins as planned by General Montgomery. The offensive by the 1st English Corps is preceded by a massive bombardment of Caen the night before: 450 Halifax and Lancaster bombers drop nearly 6,000 tons of bombs on the Northern part of the city, reduced to a state of rubble and ash - which is good news for the German snipers. The 3rd Canadian Infantry division attacks the west side of Caen near Bretteville-sur-Odon while the 59th British Infantry division attacks the northwest of Caen. The 7th German Army, led by General Hausser, holds its ground and resists the Allied attacks. The Highland Light Infantry belonging to the 3rd Canadian Infantry division has been stalled at the village of Buron launches a new offensive to liberate the city, covered by armored support. Despite sustaining very heavy losses the day before (more than 260 casualties), the Canadians manage to capture Buron and to push the German soldiers of the 10th SS Panzer Division out of the city. South of Buron and one mile to the west of Caen, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders attached to the 3rd Canadian Infantry division attacks the village of Authie. A day of violent fighting begins between the Canadians and the Hitlerjugend, though eventually the SS must retreat, giving up Authie, now added to the list of towns liberated by the Allies. The losses for the Canadians are high: nearly 160 casualties and 7 Sherman tanks are destroyed.

On the American side progress is slow but steady and the US tanks cross the bridges over the Vire river. The US forces in the west of the Cotentin peninsula move southward towards Lessay and Periers, located in the east of Cotentin, while those in the south of the Calvados move towards Saint-Lo and Torigni-sur-Vire. La-Haie-du-Puits is finally liberated by the 79th American Infantry division supported by the tanks of the 749th Tank Battalion, which drive the German defenders belonging to the 352nd German Infantry division out of the city.

Over Germany, US 8th Air Force attacks Ulm with 282 bombers, Schwabmunchen with 69 bombers, and attacks secondary targets and targets of opportunity with 303 bombers while more than 300 abort due to poor weather conditions. RAF Bomber Command sends 128 aircraft to attack Wanne-Eickel during the day, 31 aircraft to attack Berlin, 24 aircraft to attack Essen, and 28 aircraft to attack several ports overnight.

On the eastern front, forces of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front capture Baranovichi, halfway between Minsk and Brest-Litovsk.

In Italy, British 8th Army attacks between Lake Comacchio and the Adriatic. US 5th Army attacks around Monte Acidola, Madonna di Brasa, Monte della Croce, and Monte Grande d'Aiano. US 12th Air Force aircraft conduct heavy attacks against transportation lines, supply depots, airfields, and other targets in the Po valley, at the Brenner Pass, and elsewhere.

Pictured: A Handley Page Halifax bomber, of the RAF's No. 4 Group, over Caen's burning northern suburbs following the previous night's bombing; British Sherman tanks near Lebisey Wood for the assault on Caen, France, July 8, 1944; Fort du Roule located at Cherbourg's inner harbor showing damage from Allied bombardment, July 8, 1944; G.I.'s from the 1st Btn, 314th Inf. Rgt. of the US 79th Inf. Div., during an attack on the Bolleville road, just north west of La Haye Du Puis in Normandy. July 8, 1944

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Tidewater

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La-Haie-du-Puits is finally liberated by the 79th American Infantry division supported by the tanks of the 749th Tank Battalion, which drive the German defenders belonging to the 352nd German Infantry division out of the city.
My high school history teacher, Frank J. Stone, then a platoon leader in the 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, on the night of 5/6 June 1944, landed outside La Haie-du-Puits, probably 20 miles off his drop zone. He was less than enthused by the navigational abilities of the C-47 crew who dropped him. He realized they navigated by indicated air speed, compass and clock, flying over a featureless Channel and then a blacked-out France, but 20 miles was a bit much.
 
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TIDE-HSV

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My high school history teacher, Frank J. Stone, then a platoon leader in the 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, on the night of 5/6 June 1944, landed outside La Haie-du-Puits, probably 20 miles off his drop zone. He was less than enthused by the navigational abilities of the C-47 crew who dropped him. He realized they navigated by indicated air speed, compass and clock, flying over a featureless Channel and then a blacked-out France, but 20 miles was a bit much.
My brother bombed a Dutch village by error. It really bothered him...
 

Tidewater

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My brother bombed a Dutch village by error. It really bothered him...
The one variable that the had a hard time compensating for was winds at altitude. If the weatherman said winds at cruising altitude were out of the west at 20 mph, but in fact, they were out of the east at 20 mph, then you could easily by off by 100 miles. No GPS and the Germans certainly went using modern nav aids.
My way of judging your brothers case would be to ask him, "What were you trying to do? Did you take reasonable precautions?" If the answers were "Hit Germany" and "Yes," then he should have a clear conscience.

In the end, LT Stone and his stick just had to move at night and be very quiet. They made it to American lines. It just took him a few nights.
 
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TIDE-HSV

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The one variable that the had a hard time compensating for was winds at altitude. If the weatherman said winds at cruising altitude were out of the west at 20 mph, but in fact, they were out of the east at 20 mph, then you could easily by off by 100 miles. No GPS and the Germans certainly went using modern nav aids.
My way of judging your brothers case would be to ask him, "What were you trying to do? Did you take reasonable precautions?" If the answers were "Hit Germany" and "Yes," then he should have a clear conscience.

In the end, LT Stone and his stick just had to move at night and be very quiet. They made it to American lines. It just took him a few nights.
No doubt they were trying to hit legitimate targets. He wasn't the only navigator who was off that day...
 

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July 9, 1944: Operation Charnwood comes to an end. The 3rd Canadian Infantry division continues its progress in the west and the southwest of Caen, and Kurt "Panzer" Meyer (head of the SS divisions) is forced to retreat to the eastern bank of the Odon river by the pressure from the English and Canadian forces. General Montgomery seems satisfied with the results of the Charnwood offensive, despite the fact that the Allied losses are higher than expected and all the initial objectives are not achieved, such as the bridge of the village of Bourguebus, considered a ‘doorway’ to the town of Falaise. The Canadians manage to reach the center of Caen, which means the the entire northern half is entirely in the hands of the Allies. However, the Germans still control the southern and eastern parts of the city, defended by the 1st, 12th, and 21st SS Panzer divisions.

The Americans of the 79th Infantry division, continue to secure La-Haye-du-Puits (liberated yesterday), progress southward towards Lessay. On the left side, the 8th and 90th American Infantry divisions are moving towards Periers, while the 29th and 30th American Infantry divisions move towards Saint-Lo. The front is forms a fairly straight line (rectilinear), which indicates good progress by the US troops in the bocage, where progress of the soldiers and vehicles is very difficult.

Over France, US 8th Air Force attacks V-weapons sites and other targets with 200 bombers. US 9th Air Force attacks multiple targets with 60 bombers and supporting fighters. RAF Bomber Command sends 347 aircraft to attack V-weapons sites during the day. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force sends 201 Spitfires to escort Bomber Command daylight operations.

On the eastern front, Soviet forces of 3rd Belorussian Front capture Lida, 50 mile east of Grodno. Farther north, Soviet forces reach the outskirts of Vilna in Lithuania, encircling the German garrison there.

In Italy, British 8th Army prepares to assault German positions at Arezzo. Italian units of British 8th Army capture Filottrano. The US 88th Division (Fifth Army) captures Volterra and elements of the French Expeditionary Corps reach Poggibonsia. US 12th Air Force aircraft conduct limited attacks in poor weather conditions.

Pictured: Caen in ruins after bombings of July 8th and 9th, 1944; British troops pick their way through the rubble of Caen, July 9, 1944; An M8 burned at the northern entrance of La Haye-du-Well by D 900 (in the background the railway bridge). All crew members except one escaped. July 9, 1944; A Sherman M4A1 crosses two knocked-out Panzer IV and parks along the wall of the cemetery of Saint-Fromond, July 9, 1944

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