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> Was OMAHA the blodyest landing of D Day?
Marius
Posted: July 24, 2004 10:34 am
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We all know that D Day landings where organised as follows:
-American divisions landed on UTAH and OMAHA, British landed on GOLD and SWORD and Canadians landed on JUNO beach.
Waiting for them where:
-german 7th Army guarding the beaches, they where helped by Panzer group West. Further along the English Cannal where the German 15th army as a part of Army group B.
THE QUESTION IS: Was D Day realy a succes?
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Carol I
Posted: July 24, 2004 11:41 am
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QUOTE
THE QUESTION IS: Was D Day realy a succes?


If you consider that the main Allied objective for the day was establishing a successful bridgehead on the European mainland, the operation was definitely a success.
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Bernard Miclescu
Posted: July 26, 2004 06:05 pm
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But with a huge QUESTION MARK like this one :question: Until the capture of a big port where the supplies could arrive to the landed armies the success of the D-Day was in balance.

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Carol I
Posted: July 26, 2004 09:30 pm
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QUOTE
But with a huge QUESTION MARK like this one :question: Until the capture of a big port where the supplies could arrive to the landed armies the success of the D-Day was in balance.


I agree, but as far as I know capturing a large port was not on the "to do" list for D-Day, but rather for the subsequent days.
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Dénes
Posted: July 26, 2004 09:48 pm
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Here is rare view of the events from a German soldier's point of view:

'Beast of Omaha' weeps as he recalls slaughter of thousands on beach

MURDO MACLEOD

FOR Hein Severloh the ‘Longest Day’ meant nine hours constantly machine-gunning American soldiers as they attempted to land on Omaha Beach.

One image still brings tears to his eyes. A young American had run from his landing craft and sought cover behind a concrete block. Severloh, then a young lance-corporal in the German army in Normandy, aimed his rifle at the GI. He fired and hit the enemy square in the forehead. The American’s helmet flew away and rolled into the sea, his chin sank to his chest and he collapsed dead on the beach.

Tormented by the memory, Severloh now weeps at the thought of the unknown soldier’s death.

Severloh was safe in an almost impregnable concrete bunker overlooking the beach. He had an unimpeded view of the oncoming Allied forces. He was the last German soldier firing, and may have accounted for about 3,000 American casualties, almost three-quarters of all the US losses at Omaha. The Americans came to know him as the Beast of Omaha.

He had been saved from the waves of Allied bombing by the poor weather. The US aircrews were worried that if they allowed their bombs to fall too soon they might destroy their own landing ships. As they flew over they lingered before releasing their weapons, meaning the bombs often landed far behind the Nazi bunkers.

The Germans joked that the ‘Amis’ - their slang for the US forces - had merely bombed French cows and farmers rather than the German installations.

Alerted by the bombers, Severloh and the 29 others in his bunker rushed to their firing holes and prepared for the onslaught. Severloh, then just 20, gasped when he saw the ocean. He was confronted by what seemed to be a wall of Allied ships. He said: "My God. How am I going to get out of this mess?"

The veteran explained: "What could I do? I just thought that I was never going to make it to the rear. I thought that I was going to shoot for my very life. It was them or me - that is what I thought."

As the landing ships neared the beach, Severloh listened to the final orders from his commander, Lieutenant Berhard Frerking. They wanted to stop the Americans while they were still in the water and could not move easily. But if he fired too soon - while the soldiers were still some way out in the water - he risked missing them.

Frerking explained: "You must open fire when the enemy is knee-deep in the water and is still unable to run quickly."

Severloh had seen little action before. His previous stint on the Eastern Front had been cut short by tonsillitis. But he was anything but enthusiastic. Severloh said: "I never wanted to be in the war. I never wanted to be in France. I never wanted to be in that bunker firing a machine gun.

"I saw how the water sprayed up where my machine gun bursts landed, and when the small fountains came closer to the GIs, they threw themselves down. Very soon the first bodies were drifting in the waves of the rising tide. In a short time, all the Americans down there were shot."

He fired for nine hours, using up all the 12,000 machine-gun rounds. The sea turned red with the blood from the bodies. When he had no more bullets for the machine-gun, he started firing on the US soldiers with his rifle, firing off another 400 rifle rounds at the terrified GIs.

A leading German historical expert of the Second World War, Helmut Konrad Freiherr von Keusgen, believes Severloh may have accounted for 3,000 of the 4,200 American casualties on the day.

Severloh is less sure about the number, but said: "It was definitely at least 1,000 men, most likely more than 2,000. But I do not know how many men I shot. It was awful. Thinking about it makes me want to throw up. I almost emptied an entire infantry landing craft. The sea was red around it and I could hear an American officer shouting hysterically in a loudspeaker."

Lt-col Stuart Crawford, formerly of the Royal Tank Regiment, and a defence consultant, said it was entirely possible that a single German soldier had killed so many GIs.

He said: "I have fired that machine-gun. I did it as part of my training, and it has an extremely high rate of fire. He was in a position which was almost impervious to the weapons which the Americans could bring to bear on him. The Americans made the mistake of not landing tanks with the first wave of troops, so they had no support or protection."

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=11...66&id=643752004
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dragos
Posted: July 26, 2004 09:57 pm
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I've read about Severloh before in the book "Ziua cea mare" (Le Grand Jour) by Gilles Perrault. It said that Severloh was the marksman of his unit, and that's why he was given the single MG-42 machinegun of his unit, the rest machineguns being MG-34s. He never fired against human targets before that day.
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mars
Posted: July 27, 2004 04:45 pm
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I doubt what a "Leading historical expert " Helmut Konrad Freiherr von Keusgen is, for me, no expert shall believe fantasy
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Bernard Miclescu
Posted: July 27, 2004 10:46 pm
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Interesting memoirs, jurnals, books about the D-Day appeared in France this year. Among them the jurnal of Gefreiter Franz Gockel. He and his comrades were 18 yo. and was assigned a MG machine gun at Omaha beach (poste avancé WN 62) Five hours of difficult fighting and he is wounded, transfered behind the lines he escaped the capture. He finally was captured in Alsace in November 1944.

Very emotional powered the last letters of soldiers that died only minutes/hours after writing the last words.
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Marius
Posted: July 28, 2004 09:54 am
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The naval bombardment (at least on Omaha) was a disaster? I have seen "D Day in Colour" on Discovery and there was a veteran who sid that the rockets fired from ships landed in the water. They where told that when they land, they can take cover in the craters formed by the explosions of shells. There where no craters! (at least that was what the guy said). Is it true??? :?:
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Carol I
Posted: July 28, 2004 11:03 am
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You should probably look for the book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan. It will answer many of your questions regarding D-Day. The book has first appeared in 1959 and it is based on interviews with many veterans of D-Day, taken at a time when the events were still fresh in their memory.
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petru
Posted: July 30, 2004 04:12 pm
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The book was translated in Romanian, you should try to find it. On the other hand I do not recommend Steven’s Ambrosie book.
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Carol I
Posted: July 30, 2004 05:47 pm
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QUOTE
The book was translated in Romanian, you should try to find it.

I know of a Romanian edition of The Longest Day that appeared in the 1960s. Is there a newer one?
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dragos
Posted: July 30, 2004 06:27 pm
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petru
Posted: July 30, 2004 09:00 pm
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QUOTE
The naval bombardment (at least on Omaha) was a disaster? I have seen \"D Day in Colour\" on Discovery and there was a veteran who sid that the rockets fired from ships landed in the water. They where told that when they land, they can take cover in the craters formed by the explosions of shells. There where no craters! (at least that was what the guy said). Is it true???


On the internet I found a picture of the Pointe du Hoc after the bombardment. It was really impressive. The truth is that the fortifications were pretty good, and the damages were minimal. In “The longest day” Pluskat (a commander of a battalion in the 352 division who guarded the Omaha beach) mention that he didn’t loose any gun in the naval bombardment. However, once the Germans were out of their pillboxes, they were very vulnerable. They couldn’t push the allies back because of the navala guns. This happened at Anzio too. In general the German positions in Normandie were captured from the back.

The allies didn’t need a harbor as they built a perfectly working artificial harbor. Their objectives for the the D day were not captured, although the British had the opportunity to capture Caen. But as Ryan said (I think) they had the feeling they did enough for one day.
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petru
Posted: July 30, 2004 09:04 pm
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I know of a Romanian edition of The Longest Day that appeared in the 1960s. Is there a newer one?


I don't know, I red it in English, but 1960 look about the right time for that book. I have seen the Romanian version only once in a friend's library, but I didn't read it then.

On the other hand I think One can find it really cheap (on US standards) in used book stores.
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