Survivors of the first wave had all they could do just to take cover. It was the second wave of our 29th Division to make it all the way to the top.”
“Sheer guts, luck, and the Hand of God,” Freddy said.
“There was no way to get off the beach except straight ahead and up for whatever until dark if you made it, and that was just for starters,” I said.
“They get what sleep they can wherever they can, and then they have to deal with hedgerows bigger than anything they’ve ever had to deal with and Germans dug in at the corners to strafe them.
“Somebody figures out how to make plows out of who knows what for tanks to break through and the situations begin to turn.”
“They should have named the whole thing Operation Screw Up,” Freddy said.
“Not everything,” I said. “They couldn’t do anything about the weather that turned out to be more than somewhat, and the currents were a lot stronger than had been predicted.
“Back in England there was no way they could train any better for what they faced.
“There were so many there it’s a wonder it didn’t sink.”
“Which you and I weren’t until later,” Freddy said.
“With a lot of others, who wouldn’t face anything like D-Day,” I said.
“Where the Battle of the Bulge losses were a lot heavier than ours and the Germans,” Freddy said.
“Different setting, different consequences, different lessons learned, and Pray God no one will ever see its like again,” I said.
Bill Plante is a World War II combat engineers veteran and a former executive editor of The Daily News.