Patterico's Pontifications


The 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

Today is June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing, which occurred on June 6, 1944. My family was fortunate enough to visit the area of the Normandy landings last year, and I’d like to share some of the pictures with you, starting with the Normandy American Cemetery:

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 7.34.21 PM

I’m going to put the rest of the pictures beneath the fold for bandwidth purposes. Just click on “more.”

More of the Normandy American Cemetery:

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.16.38 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.16.11 AM

Here is Pointe du Hoc, where brave Rangers scaled the cliffs.
Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.12.36 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.13.17 AM

At the top of the cliff, the land was bombarded by shells so large they left giant craters that continue to pockmark the countryside:

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.14.20 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.15.02 AM

The Longue-sur-Mer battery:

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.17.46 AM

You can imagine the Germans looking to the sea and anticipating what was coming:

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 7.18.25 AM

It is a shame that our representative at this anniversary is Obama, a small man who thinks of soldiers as “children” and “kids” and whose representatives deride honorable soldiers as potential “psychopaths.”

But this day is larger than Obama.

76 Responses to “The 70th Anniversary of D-Day”

  1. Mark Steyn, as usual, has a tremendously powerful reflection on D-Day and what it means (or ought to mean) to us today:

    They were young, but they were not children. I was listening to President Obama explain yesterday from Brussels that the deserter he brought home from the Taliban this week was just a “kid”. In fact, he’s 28 years old. I remember walking through the Canadian graves at Bény-sur-Mer a few years ago. Over two thousand headstones, but only a handful of ages inscribed upon them: 22 years old, 21, 20… But they weren’t “kids”, they were men.

    JVW (feb406)

  2. Thank you veterans – and thank you Patterico for some news reflecting honor and real human sacrifice. Needed this.

    dc (685527)

  3. Beautiful pictures, Pat. Thanks for sharing.

    The Emperor (72bb0c)

  4. Lovely pictures indeed. Thanks for sharing them. I have been into the area, but never to the landing zones themselves.

    And thanks across time to those men who faced and advanced against the fire from those and many other guns.

    Dan S (00fc90)

  5. In contrast to the current president’s remarks today, there’s this from Ronald Reagan.

    Kevin M (131754)

  6. Wonder what the “boys of Pointe du Hoc” would think of Private Bergdahl.

    Kevin M (131754)

  7. I had the privilege of seeing these sites when I was but a naive college student. As hard as it is to move such an animal, I was moved. I took the Mrs. to see Point du Hoc and the Normandy beaches on our honeymoon. When you stand there in a giant artillery crater or looking up at the cliff and imagine what the d-day soldiers must have gone through, it makes you feel very small. Amazing. God bless all who took part in this.

    carlitos (e7c734)

  8. It’s hard for us to even imagine the combination of fear and courage that the allied leaders and troops felt that day –but these pictures of the topography help make it easier to visualize. And we should try to imagine it. We owe them that. I often think too, of the folks back home that day–knowing the invasion was “on”, but helpless, praying in their churches or glued to their radio sets. Now we know how it came out. But the outcome was far from sure for all alive that day.

    elissa (073104)

  9. I think one of the reasons President Reagan’s speech there was so poignant is that he
    did remember what it was like for the country on D-Day.

    elissa (073104)

  10. Not only is the day larger then Obama, but all those who took part in this invasion are 100 times the man Obama thinks he is.

    Bob (364a1b)

  11. Think what would have happened if all those fine brave soldiers just decided to up and desert.

    The Emperor (cd1ca5)

  12. D-Day came very late.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  13. Think what would have happened if all those fine brave soldiers just decided to up and desert.

    That would have been a problem. According to the Army website, there were about 160,000 Allied troops taking part in the D-Day invasion. That’s from all the Anglophile Allied nations, as well as free Poles, free Czechs, free Finns, etc. Let’s assume that all of them had deserted. Using the Obama Prisoner Swap Metric, we would have needed to have 800,000 high-ranking Nazi POWs to get those 160,000 Allied troops back. That’s a lot of Himmlers, Rödls, and Röhms that we would have needed.

    JVW (feb406)

  14. D-Day came very late.

    That’s a curious comment, Sammy. Do you think the Allies could have pulled it off in, say, April 1943? D-Day took place just about as early as we were able to get the troops trained and ready, and after American troops and command had been tried in battle in North Africa and Italy.

    JVW (feb406)

  15. “Let’s assume that all of them had deserted. Using the Obama Prisoner Swap Metric, we would have needed to have 800,000 high-ranking Nazi POWs to get those 160,000 Allied troops back. That’s a lot of Himmlers, Rödls, and Röhms that we would have needed.” I shudder to think of it.

    The Emperor (03864d)

  16. Not to take anything away from the guys who stormed the beaches at Normandy (as if I could!) but the guys who fought at Midway (4-7 June 1942) always seems to get shorted this time of year.

    I guess maybe I’m prejudiced because I spent practically my entire career in the Pacific, only going to the east coast for schools. Also, I’ve met some of the guys who fought there. So I can’t help but think of the men who died there and don’t even have graves. Well, except for the ocean.

    Again, I want to emphasize I have boundless respect for anybody who was involved with D-Day. But I can’t help but think of these other guys, too.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  17. Beautiful pictures. Visiting Normandy and the American Cemetery there is at the top of my bucket list.

    Stogie (17253f)

  18. I wonder if our military has ever before had to endure serving under a CIC so feckless, reckless, incompetent, narcissistic and petulant?

    Five of my uncles served during WWII, three in the European theater and two in the Pacific. The bravery shown and sacrifice made by all our folks who have served during war time must never be forgotten.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  19. . . . the guys who fought at Midway (4-7 June 1942) always seems to get shorted this time of year.

    In the same vein, when we remember Pearl Harbor we often inadvertently give short-shrift to the brave men who fought at Wake Island at the same time, and their long hard spell as POWs in which many were murdered by their captors.

    JVW (feb406)

  20. Col.– Are any of your uncles still alive? A HUGE difference is that during WWII it was not just the military who were “fighting”. The whole country was “at war”. They were all in it together. No community or family was spared. Everybody rich and poor had ration stamps. Everybody made sacrifices. Everybody knew someone who was killed. Everybody wrote letters from home to every GI they knew even peripherally who was serving.

    elissa (073104)

  21. . . . the guys who fought at Midway (4-7 June 1942) always seems to get shorted this time of year.

    I bet some of those pilots weren’t keen on flying out past the point of no return to find those carriers. But they did.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  22. Sammy Finkelman : D-Day came very late.

    JVW (feb406) — 6/6/2014 @ 10:56 am

    That’s a curious comment, Sammy. Do you think the Allies could have pulled it off in, say, April 1943? D-Day took place just about as early as we were able to get the troops trained and ready, and after American troops and command had been tried in battle in North Africa and Italy.

    Just to take so long is already a failure.

    Winston Churhcill hadn’t wanted it that late.

    It has to be said, that even so, even that it came late, Eisenhower was not all that confident of success. But maybe because it was so late, which enabled the enemy to be better prepared. On the other hand, the Luiftwaffe was still a factor in 1943.

    But Churchill anyway wasn’t looking for head on attacks – he was looking for attacks on the periphery, like Gallipoli, which would have succeeded if everybody else had been as good as he was..
    And he was looking for taking advantage of opportunities.

    What sealed the doom of a 1943 invasion was the 1942 invasion of North Africa. The North African invasion delayed things – then the surrender of Italy was botched in September, 1943. Also, the Italian Army waa arrested. In Greece, the arrest of the Italian troops was carried out in large part by a certain Lieutenant Kurt Waldheim.

    If there’s a problem:,5712009

    Another problem was that while Europe was given priority, at the next level only enough landing craft for D-Day were assigned to Europe, with the rest goiong to the Pacific.

    There was </i. another landing – in southern France, but it came after D-Day, on June 20, I think..

    No, August 14th:

    Despite being a large and complex military operation with a well-executed amphibious and airborne component, Operation Dragoon is not well known; it came in the later stages of the war and was overshadowed by the earlier and larger Operation Overlord.[7]

    Although the British Double Cross system spread the idea of invasions everywhere, there was little possibility of doing so, with all the spare landing craft being in the Pacific Ocean.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  23. Sammy–is it possible for you to just allow those of us who would like to commemorate the D-day anniversary and honor the men who participated to do so without all your caveats and inferences?

    elissa (073104)

  24. Wikipedia says they could only do Dragoon after Normandy when they didn’t need the landing craft any more. Also, Churchill had wanted to go into the Balkans (Yugoslavia)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  25. Thank you for the pictures, Patrick.

    I always think on this day that the media and the political class would never allow an invasion like this today. Too risky. Too many casualties. The war would have dragged on for years like the Cold War instead, with many millions more to die.

    Patricia (be0117)

  26. “You can imagine the Germans looking to the sea and anticipating what was coming:”

    “The Longest Day” – Maj. Werner Pluskat:

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  27. Patricia (be0117) — 6/6/2014 @ 11:47 am

    And would any of our political or military leaders today write such an apology as Ike had prepared in case of the failure of “Overlord”?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  28. JVW (feb406) — 6/6/2014 @ 10:56 am

    The extent of Sammy’s critical thinking is cut & paste.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  29. I salute the courage and sacrifice of these men. Just thinking what the world would have been like today if they had failed. These men were not interested in the politics, all they wanted to do was to get the job done, and they did! Thank God they did. Another great reminder that evil will never overcome good, all we need is enough good men who won’t fold their hands and let evil triumph. I see hope for America.

    The Emperor (4dcc08)

  30. Priorities.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  31. 30- What if D-Day failed?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  32. i like how the d day veterans aren’t covered all over with nasty tattoos

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  33. And would any of our political or military leaders today write such an apology as Ike had prepared in case of the failure of “Overlord”?

    Sadly, no. They would have called in their own Ben Rhodes to organize the spin campaign.

    Patricia (be0117)

  34. i stole the Pointe du Hoc pictures for the slideshow what plays on the tv

    thank you

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  35. 14. JVW (feb406) — 6/6/2014 @ 10:54 am …free Finns, etc. There were no “Free Finns”. Finland was (not by their own choice) on the other side.

    15. JVW (feb406) — 6/6/2014 @ 10:56 am Do you think the Allies could have pulled it off in, say, April 1943?

    That’s been debated at times. OT1H, the Germans were not well prepared to defend France in 1943. Compared to 1944, it was wide open. OTOH, the Allies were not well prepared to invade France in 1943. Compared to 1944, we were green and unequipped. Also, in 1943, U.S. airpower in Britain was just coming on-line, and the Luftwaffe was still very dangerous. Allied air supremacy was a year away.

    Rich Rostrom (a3f265)

  36. I recommend a trip to Normandy to anyone. The people there are very accommodating to Americans, unlike the undeserved reputation some may give the French. It is also a very pretty area, especially in the summer.

    AZ Bob (c949f7)

  37. A late invasion?
    Well, Uncle Joe thought they took their own sweet time.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  38. Everyone and everything is larger than obama. He’s a small, petty man.

    Jim (145e10)

  39. Thank you, Pat.

    All but two (they were too young, both served in Korea) of my 9 uncles served in WW2, variously in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia. Dad served too, and has always been upset that he didn’t get to join them with overseas service (he served in CONUSA and Canada.) “Your brothers have already gathered, except for the Medal of Honor, in each theatre, every award for valor we have, and some from foreign counties. We want your mother to have at least one of her sons return!” He and one of his brothers, and my mother’s brother, are still alive. None of them have ever really discussed anything that they did, other than in the most general terms. My mother was a USN Lieutenant in WW2, died last summer. Her sisters toured in WW2 with the USO as entertainers; I don’t know if they served overseas.

    htom (412a17)

  40. 14. JVW (feb406) — 6/6/2014 @ 10:54 am …free Finns, etc. There were no “Free Finns”. Finland was (not by their own choice) on the other side.

    You’re right. I meant to say Norwegians. My bad with the Scandinavian mix-up.

    Not to exculpate Finnish collaboration with the Nazis, but when the alternative was being subsumed into the Soviet Union then you really are between a rock and a hard place.

    JVW (feb406)

  41. Thanks to fdr and democrats. republicans opposed going to war and even voted against it after pearl harbor was attacked! The jews were not worth it was said by far to many republicans!

    g.o.p. is evil (9b7f67)


    Perhaps as a nation we do, JVW. I’m sure I’m coming across as a weirdo, but then you have to keep in mind that when the Navy was tasked with conducting riverine warfare in Vietnam, it dusted off lessons learned from the Seminole war. It’s a very historically-inclined service. So Wake Island is never really far from our minds. It, along with Fletcher’s decision at Guadalcanal, is one of the reasons the Marines are still to this day PO’d at the Navy. They’re convinced that the Navy will abandon them. I’ve had more than one Marine throw that at me.

    And then watch their reaction when you tell them that turning back was probably the right decision. The Sailors in the relief force heading toward Wake were spitting mad when they got the order to turn back. But the fact of the matter was that the Navy needed to preserve what it had left for defense, considering how much it had lost at Pearl Harbor.

    Even at Midway, Nimitz’s orders were to put the carriers at a higher priority than the island. Fletcher wasn’t to risk them unless he was reasonably certain he could inflict greater damage on the Japanese then he would sustain. Oddly enough, both navies were in no position to fight a war of attrition at that point. But the US could eventually build enough ships to overwhelm the Japanese. Fletcher’s job was to make sure what he had on hand would last long enough until that happened.

    They had to make some very tough calls in late 1941 and in 1942. Nobody liked it. And what was the right call then would not have been the right call in 1944.

    I am in awe, though, at how badly Americans in all branches wanted to fight. It completely took the Japanese off guard.

    One Army aviator nearly killed Nagumo at Midway by crashing his plane into the flagship. Like the rest of the torpedo attacks on the morning of the 4th none of the torpedoes struck home (the American side didn’t know how crappy their weapons were; the Japanese carriers could actually outrun the torpedoes). To this day no one can say for sure if the pilot was actually pressing home a suicide attack or not. But, he did press his attack. They all did.

    Grumman TBF-1 (Bureau # 00380) “Avenger” of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8), photographed at Midway, 24-25 June 1942, prior to shipment back to the United States for post-battle evaluation.
    This badly damaged plane was the only survivor of six VT-8 TBFs that had attacked the Japanese carrier force in the morning of 4 June.

    The Navy shipped it back to Grumman for evaluation because nobody could figure out how the thing was capable of flying back to base, so badly shot up was it. The turret gunner was killed, the radioman was knocked out when a bullet creased his skull, the pilot thought he was a dead man because his flight controls were shot out, and as he was losing altitude he just looked for the closest Japanese ship because the last thing he wanted to do in life was launch his torpedo at the enemy. As he was about to go in, out of habit he adjusted his trim tabs. And discovered he could climb and maneuver just using those.

    Albert Earnest’s Navy Cross citation:

    “The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Ensign Albert Kyle Earnest, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8), embarked from Naval Air Station Midway during the “Air Battle of Midway,” against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Having completed an unsupported torpedo attack in the face of tremendous enemy fighter and anti-aircraft opposition, Ensign Earnest, himself wounded and his gunner dead, made his return flight in a plane riddled by machine gun bullets and cannon shell. With his compass and Bombay doors inoperative, one wheel of his landing gear unable to be extended and his elevator-control shot away, he was forced to fly by expert use of his elevator trimming tabs some 200 miles back to Midway where he negotiated a safe one-wheel landing. Fully aware of the inestimable importance of determining the combat efficiency of a heretofore unproven plane, Ensign Earnest doggedly persisted in spite of tremendous hazards and physical difficulties. His great courage and marked skill in handling his crippled plane were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

    Only one of the Army Marauders made it back, too.

    Crew of U.S. Army Air Force First Lieutenant James Muri’s B-26, who made a torpedo attack on a Japanese aircraft carrier during the early morning of 4 June 1942. The plane had more than 500 bullet holes when it landed at Midway following this action.

    Albert Earnest lived a long life and finally rested his oar in 2009. His shipmates, and most of LT Muri’s squadron mates, are still out there. They did their duty.

    I’ve been in a mood to think of it of late not simply because of the calendar. But because of Bergdahl being in the news. If what his squaddies say about him is true, he stands in sharp contrast to these guys. And the boys of Pointe du Hoc.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  43. confused troll at 42

    elissa (073104)

  44. I have heard conspiracy theorists who claim that the Pearl harbor attack on American servicemen was engineered by the British who were desperate to get America into the war. Doesn’t really make sense why the Japs would do that on their own. :)

    The Emperor (3db71b)

  45. President Roosevelt formally requested the declaration in his Infamy Speech, addressed to a joint session of Congress and the nation at 12:30 pm on December 8.[6]

    The declaration was quickly brought to a vote; it passed the Senate, and then passed the House at 1:10 pm.[6] The vote was 82 to 0 in the Senate and 388 to 1 in the House of Representatives. Jeannette Rankin, a committed Pacifist and the first woman elected to Congress (first elected in 1916), was the only vote against the Declaration in either house,[6] while the other nine women voted for the declaration of war.*

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  46. 42. Thanks to fdr and democrats. republicans opposed going to war and even voted against it after pearl harbor was attacked! The jews were not worth it was said by far to many republicans!

    g.o.p. is evil (9b7f67) — 6/6/2014 @ 12:44 pm

    Once again, a liberal can not help but demonstrate he’s a complete idiot.

    …Morgan mentions that in 1928, Sara Roosevelt objected to having FDR adviser Belle Moskowitz join the family for lunch because she did not want “that fat Jewess” in the Roosevelt home.

    …Does it matter what Sara Roosevelt thought about Jews? It does if there is evidence of a continuity of views from mother to son.

    …The quota of immigrants from Germany (about 26,000 annually) was filled in only one year out of Roosevelt’s 12 in the White House. In most of those years, it was less than 25 percent filled. A total of 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis countries sat unused from 1933-1945. If public or congressional opposition prevented liberalizing the entire immigration quota system, why did he not at least permit the existing quotas to be quietly filled? Without public controversy, without any quarrel with congress, he could have quietly given the order to permit the quotas to be filled. But Franklin Roosevelt’s personal vision of a predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant America – a vision possibly nurtured, in some measure, by his mother’s influence – did not make room for large numbers of Jewish immigrants.

    Because of Jooo hating democrats like FDR, Hitler was able to kill more Jooos than he otherwise would have been able to.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  47. Jeannette Rankin was a Republican from Montana

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  48. In June of 1966, I was a 19 year old Airman, stationed at Evereux AB, France, with the US Air Force Color Guard at the Normandy cemeteries for the D-Day commemoration. It was a very moving experience. One that I will never forget.

    Roman (0bfd6d)

  49. @45, the Japanese did a lot of things that didn’t make sense. When the Japanese took Kiska and Attu after losing four carriers at Midway, the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said something along the lines that they were either incapable of understanding modern warfare or not qualified to participate in it.

    The Japanese did have some very capable officers.

    But luckily for the United States, when these guys spoke up and criticized the Japanese war effort, the military establishment cut off its nose to spite its face and ignored them. Or sidelined them if they persisted.

    I sometimes think it was a mistake to have shot down Admiral Yamamoto in April 1943. Looking back, it often appears he was working for us. The officers that the Japanese should have listened to had predicted exactly how Nimitz would ambush their carrier striking force at Midway. In fact, they had pointed out a number of failings in the Japanese plan, up to and including that it was a fools errand to even try and take Midway at all. Fortunately, insaner heads prevailed.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  50. IIRC, if they had listened to Yamamoto, they never would have attacked us at all, which would have really annoyed FDR, who would have then had to create a pretext to start a war…

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  51. @Steve57. Yes but was their motivation? Was it about retaking the Hawaian island? Did they not consider the possibility of a US reprisal? Or did they consider us as weak an vulnerable?

    The Emperor (03864d)

  52. Buh bye. Again. Perry, seek help.

    JD (16574b)

  53. #53: and the crowd goes wild!

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  54. Yamamoto really was a mixed bag. He was apparently opposed to going to war with the western powers, but when the Japanese made the decision to do so he insisted that he deliver a “knockout blow” to the US. Had they listened to saner heads like the Chief of Naval Staff Nagano, they wouldn’t have drug the US into the conflict. Nagano concluded, correctly, that US public opinion would be against going to war if the Japanese just struck British, Dutch, and French colonial possessions. They could have grabbed the resources they needed and America would have stayed out of it.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  55. Seems like you are saying the Japs just wanted to drag the US into the war. (Scratching my head). Beats me why.

    The Emperor (98014f)

  56. @52, it is difficult to sort out their motivation because they hadn’t entirely worked things out in their own minds. They had a plan to start the war, and that’s about it. Apparently they assumed the US would negotiate a settlement.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  57. the Japanese used to be very attacky Mr. 57 but now we’re super best friends and they work really hard to make up for their previous belligerence – they’re working on building us fancy sex robots and doing helpful researchings on how to mine seabed methane hydrates, plus they’re about the only reliable source of tasty whale sammiches left on the whole planet

    they add a lot of value these japanesers

    god love em

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  58. Well, now’s the time for them to try again.

    htom (412a17)

  59. #21… have one of those uncles who is still alive, elissa. Agreed on the shared effort. My late father was 10 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and his father was the manager of Eddington Canneries in Utah and he also oversaw field production of crops in the Utah Valley area (Provo/Orem/Springville/Spanish Fork). My dad told me about some of the folks of Japanese heritage being put to work in the fields and canneries, he had a young classmate/friend who was a part of the internment… Tales of rubber shortages, gas rationing.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  60. I would guess that GHWB was not one of those Republicans voting to not go to war after Pearl Harbor?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  61. President lackluster sure seemed out of place around all those heroes.

    mg (31009b)

  62. yup wikipedia confirms your suspicion Mr. skeptic

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  63. My Dad’s younger brother was a Navy EM on the USS San Francisco until the Summer of ’41, when he was transferred to the Univ. of Nebraska for Officer Training. Spent the war after commissioning as an officer on Tin Cans in the Pacific. Dad was found to have a heart-murmur in his preinduction physical, classified 4-F, and told to go down to San Pedro and work in the shipyards, where he spent the war welding. His two older brothers were too old, married with kids. Same with my Mom’s brothers, all older (she was the youngest of 13 – one of her brothers-in-law had been gassed in France in WW-1, but lived into his 70’s).

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  64. 62- He seems out of place around normal people, let alone extraordinary ones.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  65. Mr. mg looks like food stamp mostly spent the day hanging out holding hands with his socialist french gal pal something or other hollande

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  66. I believe food stamp was telling hollande – I wish I had a navy like yours.

    mg (31009b)

  67. It was all unnecessary. The second front already existed, in Italy. But Stalin didn’t want Allied troops mucking up his takeover of central and eastern Europe, so, aided by his agents in the US government, he convinced Roosevelt to invade Normandy. The Italian front was cannibalized to make it work, and the Allies bogged down there.

    Kozak (aee1b4)

  68. The SCOAMF gave speeches at the beach and at the cemetery. Putin was there, too, and gave him a wedgie when nobody was looking.

    nk (dbc370)

  69. 68. Lots of books have been written about the horrible generalship of polo-playing, rich kid generals whose prior combat experience was gunning down protesters in Washington DC. I’m even inclined to believe some of it, and that the war was won by the American soldiers at the front and by American workers who supplied them from home, and not by the generals.

    nk (dbc370)

  70. 67. I believe food stamp was telling hollande – I wish I had a navy like yours.
    mg (31009b) — 6/6/2014 @ 3:12 pm

    Actually I believe he said that to the prince of Liechtenstein.

    Steve57 (61329d)

  71. What is it about significant dates in history that brings the Looney-Tunes out from under their cop-pies?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  72. oops….that’s COW-PIES

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  73. nk @70, there is a great deal of truth in that. I can think of a number of times when admirals or generals only succeeded in causing problems, making the troops job all the more difficult.

    For instance Mitscher at Midway. As Kevin M. observed earlier, the Hornet pilots didn’t enjoy the fact they had to fly past the point of no return looking for the Japanese fleet. They also didn’t realize that the bearing they had been sent out on was not where the Japanese fleet was going to be found. John Waldron broke radio silence to tell the air group leader, Stanhope Ring, to go to h3ll. As he took turned his torpedo bombers away from the rest of the group, most of the pilots thought they should be going with them. They had confidence in Waldron, none in Ring.

    One thing they especially didn’t appreciate was how ineptly Mitscher handled the launch that morning. The fighters launched first. They should have launched last, since they had the shortest range. So while they had to circle, waiting for Mitscher to get his act together and get the rest of the strike into the air, they burned a lot of fuel they couldn’t spare. So they were essentially doomed from the start.

    A lot of those aircraft had to ditch at sea when they couldn’t make it back to the carrier. What made it worse is that Mitscher and Ring went into arse-covering mode and falsified their after action report, stating that the strike had headed out and returned on a completely different bearing than it actually had. So that when after the battle PBYs from Midway searched for these guys they were a couple of hundred miles off. It was pure chance that some of those guys were rescued; others were never found.

    Halsey at Leyte also comes to mind. His screw up could have cost the entire landing force. It took men like Paul Henry Carr to clean up Halsey’s mess.

    …SAMUEL B. ROBERTS fought her way into the thick of the Japanese force and began a head-to-head duel with a heavy cruiser. The two 5 inch guns on SAMUEL B. ROBERTS fired furiously against the cruiser while the destroyer escort managed for over two hours to avoid the 8 inch and 14 inch shells fired at her. At times the SAMUEL B. ROBERTS was so close to her target that the cruiser’s guns could not be trained low enough to aim at her. SAMUEL B. ROBERTS, meanwhile, knocked out an 8 inch gun mount, destroyed the cruiser’s bridge, and caused fires aft.

    Japanese shells from several ships finally found their mark, knocking out all power, compressed air, and communications on the destroyer escort. During the battle, Paul Carr kept his gun mount operating continuously, firing over 300 rounds until power and air were lost. Carr then began firing rounds by hand, accepting the risk that without air the gun would not cool down between firings. With seven rounds left in the magazine, the tremendous heat in the gun breech “cooked off” a round, exploding the projectile loaded in the gun and killing most of the gun crew. When a rescue team member made his way into the shattered mount, he found Paul Carr, literally torn open from neck to thigh, attempting vainly to load a shell into the demolished gun breech. The rescue team member took the round from Carr and laid him aside as he began to remove the bodies of the gun crew. When he returned to the mount, he again found Paul Carr, projectile in hand, trying to load his gun. Carr begged the sailor to help him get off one last round. The sailor pulled him from the mount and laid him on the deck. Paul Carr died a few moments later, beneath the gun he served so well…

    Steve57 (61329d)

  74. *They also didn’t realize that the bearing they had been sent out on…

    I meant to say they didn’t appreciate that the bearing they were sent out on would result in a wild goose chase. When they saw Waldron and VT-8 depart, most of them thought that Waldron was probably right.

    Steve57 (61329d)

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