D-Day 75

Gary Baldi

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75 years ago, the liberation of Europe from the Nazis started with the D-Day landings on Normandy, and other efforts elsewhere in France.

A generation of men were put through the ringer on the beaches to free Europe from the Nazis. I don't think any of us living now can really appreciate what that experience would have been like in Normandy - video games or films just won't do it. Shockingly brutal, dehumanising but effective.

RIP to all those that lost their lives on the day, and since.🌹
 

unification

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I visited the beaches in Normandy a few years ago. They are stunning beaches, the sort you hope for on a beach holiday so it felt particularly odd to consider the brutal events that took place there back in 1944. Seeing the remnants of the Atlantic Wall and the decaying remains of the Mulberry Harbours was very sobering. It must have been horrific.

You cite films not doing it justice, however during the cinema release for Saving Private Ryan, a number of D-Day veterans had to leave the cinema as they felt that it was so close to what the actual storming of the beach was like. The film is rather by-the-numbers after that point but the opening 20 minute Omaha Beach scene for me is the most visceral, frightening and closest-to-the-real-thing scene to the horrors of WW2 that I’ve seen.

I’ve rather enjoyed hearing the stories from the veterans that have been in the news this week. It’s worth listening to them and taking them in as we’ll soon lose that link to the 20th century’s most horrific war. They are the last link to what happened when warfare was very different to what we experience today.
 

Manorlounger

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A visit to the cemeteries around Normandy can be a very sobering affair. To see, literally, thousands of graves all for those who perished on or near the beaches is very hard to take in.
The War Graves commission maintains them in immaculate condition, thankfully, funding is still made available.

As an aside, I do wonder why the Axis forces are referred to as "The Nazis" Not all Germans were members of the party and not all the forces ranged against the Allied invasion were German. Is this some sort of nod towards modern Germany to differentiate between now and then? It used to be "Hitler's Germany" perhaps that too has become politically incorrect.
 

AbbeyOx

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just can’t imagine what those kids, because that’s all a lot of them were, went through that day.
as that generation gets fewer it’s massively important it’s never forgotten.
Den Brotheridge from Oxon and Bucks light infantry was apparently the first allied soldier killed on D day
 
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Marked Ox

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When I went to Normandy we went to the US cemetary at Colleville sur Mer which really rammed home the point with all those grave markers stretching away into the distance. Arromanches and the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour for me brought D-Day out of the history books into a reality as it was there in front of you (we did this before the US cemetary). Assuming it is still going, I would recommend the Arromanches museum.

The highlight though was going to Pegasus Bridge (the original bridge was still in place) and talking to one of the residents who was there when the battle took place and hearing a 1st hand account from a civilian point of view. How the small number of Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry troops held their ground that day still amazes me.
 

Sarge

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When I went to Normandy we went to the US cemetary at Colleville sur Mer which really rammed home the point with all those grave markers stretching away into the distance. Arromanches and the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour for me brought D-Day out of the history books into a reality as it was there in front of you (we did this before the US cemetary). Assuming it is still going, I would recommend the Arromanches museum.

The highlight though was going to Pegasus Bridge (the original bridge was still in place) and talking to one of the residents who was there when the battle took place and hearing a 1st hand account from a civilian point of view. How the small number of Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry troops held their ground that day still amazes me.
Oxford boys don't run , we stand our ground
 

AbbeyOx

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w
Im thinking of my great uncle John, one of the Ox n bucks glider division who took Pegasus bridge in preparation for operation Overlord
was he Sergeant Sargent? massive respect to him and all involved
 

Maurice Earp

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just can’t imagine what those kids, because that’s all a lot of them were, went through that day.
as that generation gets fewer it’s massively important it’s never forgotten.
Den Brotheridge from Oxon and Bucks light infantry was apparently the first allied soldier killed on D day
He was killed on Pegasus Bridge, the 1st soldier to die in action on D-day. He is buried at nearby Ranville Cemetery.
 

Maurice Earp

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When I went to Normandy we went to the US cemetary at Colleville sur Mer which really rammed home the point with all those grave markers stretching away into the distance. Arromanches and the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour for me brought D-Day out of the history books into a reality as it was there in front of you (we did this before the US cemetary). Assuming it is still going, I would recommend the Arromanches museum.

The highlight though was going to Pegasus Bridge (the original bridge was still in place) and talking to one of the residents who was there when the battle took place and hearing a 1st hand account from a civilian point of view. How the small number of Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry troops held their ground that day still amazes me.
All of the Normandy WWII sites are highlights in my opinion.
 

Finlandia

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just can’t imagine what those kids, because that’s all a lot of them were, went through that day.
as that generation gets fewer it’s massively important it’s never forgotten.
Den Brotheridge from Oxon and Bucks light infantry was apparently the first allied soldier killed on D day
Maj John Howard who led that raid is buried at Clifton Hampden
 

Gary Baldi

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I visited the beaches in Normandy a few years ago. They are stunning beaches, the sort you hope for on a beach holiday so it felt particularly odd to consider the brutal events that took place there back in 1944. Seeing the remnants of the Atlantic Wall and the decaying remains of the Mulberry Harbours was very sobering. It must have been horrific.

You cite films not doing it justice, however during the cinema release for Saving Private Ryan, a number of D-Day veterans had to leave the cinema as they felt that it was so close to what the actual storming of the beach was like. The film is rather by-the-numbers after that point but the opening 20 minute Omaha Beach scene for me is the most visceral, frightening and closest-to-the-real-thing scene to the horrors of WW2 that I’ve seen.

I’ve rather enjoyed hearing the stories from the veterans that have been in the news this week. It’s worth listening to them and taking them in as we’ll soon lose that link to the 20th century’s most horrific war. They are the last link to what happened when warfare was very different to what we experience today.
What didn't come across to me in the film was stuff like tanks being dumped off of landing craft into deep water so that the occupants drowned, the tanks that worked then being stranded on beaches, the chaos of people landing at the wrong beaches with no commanders or communications and the general chaos of war. It was good, but until I read more I didn't appreciate how the film was a small part of the overall horror.

What those men saw was just horrible. No wonder some have no memory of it.
 

AbbeyOx

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What didn't come across to me in the film was stuff like tanks being dumped off of landing craft into deep water so that the occupants drowned, the tanks that worked then being stranded on beaches, the chaos of people landing at the wrong beaches with no commanders or communications and the general chaos of war. It was good, but until I read more I didn't appreciate how the film was a small part of the overall horror.

What those men saw was just horrible. No wonder some have no memory of it.
like many others, i had relatives there and remember some stories my grandad told me of funny things that happened but he never spoke about most things he witnessed. think there were lots like him that just kept the horrors to themselves
 

Wallop

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One veteran said on the news 'the sea was so rough, men were being sick all over the place and when the younger ones saw what was coming, they started calling for their mothers' - wow, just wow.
 

Maurice Earp

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What didn't come across to me in the film was stuff like tanks being dumped off of landing craft into deep water so that the occupants drowned, the tanks that worked then being stranded on beaches, the chaos of people landing at the wrong beaches with no commanders or communications and the general chaos of war. It was good, but until I read more I didn't appreciate how the film was a small part of the overall horror.

What those men saw was just horrible. No wonder some have no memory of it.
There is a museum at Port en Bessin https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/normandy/visit/museums/d-day-shipwreck-museum
which is a definite "must see" museum.
 
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