NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 7, 2014

On D-Day, resourceful men overcame 'screw-ups'

Big Freddy was late, and I had about given up hope before he came through the door and headed for our booth.

“Oversleep?” I asked as he settled in.

“Checking the D-Day anniversary morning coverage,” Freddy said.

“It’s going well,” I said.

“For dealing with the long ago and far away, it better had,” Freddy said.

“Amen to that — once in a lifetime like that one is one too many,” I said.

“Thanks be I was elsewhere at that time,” Freddy said.

“As was I,” I said.

“Doing what?” Freddy asked.

“Sent down to Washington and Lee in Virginia for special training,” I said.

“Lucky you,” Freddy said.

“It was luck of the draw for everyone else who was anywhere but Omaha Beach.” I said.

“Beach takers over in the Pacific had their own to deal with that went sour,” Freddy said.

“But there was nothing anywhere like D-Day in France,” I said. “That was an all time historic undertaking.”

“It came off as an all time historic screw up,” Freddy said. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong - heavy weather, off course landings, air bombings off targets, first wave of our forces all but wiped out while what the Brits had by comparison was a walk-in.”

“Our beach landing was a lot tougher than was counted on, and it was do the best you can to survive to get on to the beach, let alone do what you were supposed to do if you survived,” I said.

“It was all but a wipe out of the first wave of the 29th Division,” Freddy said.

“It was a disaster because of failures of our artillery, loss of men and tanks in the off loadings too far from shore, including losses of equipment, an inadequate air bombings of enemy positions,” I said.

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