And despite all the work and toil, the week has seemed to just flyby, just this whole year,and maybe last year, too. We’re speeding up for something.
And today, of course, is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Hitler’s fortified Europe — there’s tons of stories, pictures and reminiscing about the big event all over the place. My only take-away — due to “Saving Private Ryan” — was why-the-fuck didn’t Ike have those beaches carpet-bombed before the landings?
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman‘ found here).
B-24s dumping bombs right on those Normandy beach machine-gun positions — the guys could then come ashore at nearly their leisure, instead of getting cut to pieces on the sand. Dumb-ass.
The basic military reason: Instead of focusing their air power on Normandy, the Allies almost continually bombed the Calais area. This is where the Germans (and standard military theory) thought the invasion would occur. The thinking was to reinforce the idea that Calais was the invasion site by treating it as such – routine bombardment etc. That also meant that the Allies purposefully avoided attacking Normandy. If the Germans centered their defensive plans and troops around Calais then the Allies would have an easier time achieving a beachhead before German reinforcements could be brought to bear.
We’ll let the military history fight over that one.
President Obama is in France, this morning at Omaha Beach, and along with other world leaders commemorated the event:
In addition to those who fought, Obama praised the massive machinery that bolstered the D-Day invasion — some 5,000 ships and landing craft, about 11,000 planes,and 30,000 vehicles, the largest armada in history.
“If prayer were made of sound, the skies over England that night would have defended the world,” Obama said.
Some of the bloodiest fighting took place there at Omaha Beach, Obama said, as “blood soaked the water (and) bombs broke the sky … ‘Hell’s Beach’ had earned its name.”
As night fell on June 6, 1944, despite deaths and strategic setbacks, the Americans had claimed Omaha Beach.
“Within a week,” Obama said, “the world’s bloodiest beach had become the world’s busiest port. Within a month, 1 million Allied troops thundered through Normandy into Europe.”
The big problem is the world is a way-way-more dangerous place nowadays — June 1944 was the ‘good old days.’