All this week I’ll be rerunning my six-part series on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. Next week I’ll return you to our Baltic trip and beyond. In the meantime, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and Operation Overlord (the Battle of Normandy) in the event we now collectively refer to as D-Day:
On D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, Omaha Beach was bleak. U.S. V Corps under the direct command of Major General Leonard Gerow would sustain the most casualties by far of any of the five invasion beaches. Between 2,000 and 4,700 U.S. servicemen would lose their lives on the bloody sands of Omaha.
Had U.S. forces failed in taking Omaha, the entire invasion would have been a disaster, as Utah would have been completely cut off from Sword, Juno, and Gold. Fortunately, after a long and brutal battle with Army forces caught between the shoreline and the bluffs overlooking the beach, elements of V Corps led heroically by on-site Brigadier General Norman Cota (played by Robert Mitchum in the superlative film The Longest Day) were able to break through stiff German resistance and rush inland.