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Ernie's House of Whoopass! June 6, 2014
June 6, 2014

I Have Full Confidence In Your Courage, Devotion To Duty And Skill In Battle. We Will Accept Nothing Less Than Full Victory!

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June, 1944, of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war. The target 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach.

Omaha, the most heavily defended beach, was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division. They faced the German 352nd Infantry Division rather than the expected single regiment. Strong currents forced many landing craft east of their intended position or caused them to be delayed. For fear of hitting the landing craft, American bombers delayed releasing their loads and, as a result, most of the beach obstacles at Omaha remained undamaged when the men came ashore. Many of the landing craft ran aground on sandbars and the men had to wade 50 to 100 yards in water up to their necks while under fire to get to the beach. In spite of the rough seas, wading tanks of two companies of the 741st Tank Battalion were dropped 5,000 yards from shore, and 27 of the 32 flooded and sank, with the loss of 33 crew. Some tanks, disabled on the beach, continued to provide covering fire until their ammunition ran out or they were swamped by the rising tide.

Casualties were around 2,000, as the men were subjected to fire from the cliffs above. Problems clearing the beach of obstructions led to the beachmaster calling a halt to further landings of vehicles at 08:30. A group of destroyers arrived around this time to provide fire support so landings could resume. Exit from the beach was possible only via five heavily defended gullies, and by late morning barely 600 men had reached the higher ground. By noon, as the artillery fire took its toll and the Germans started to run out of ammunition, the Americans were able to clear some lanes on the beaches. They also started clearing the gullies of enemy defences so that vehicles could move off the beach. The tenuous beachhead was expanded over the following days, and the D-Day objectives for Omaha were accomplished by D+3.

Operation Mincemeat was a successful British disinformation plan during World War II. As part of Operation Barclay, the widespread deception intended to cover the invasion of Italy from North Africa, Mincemeat helped to convince the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943 instead of Sicily, the actual objective. This was accomplished by persuading the Germans that they had, by accident, intercepted "top secret" documents giving details of Allied war plans.

Peter Macdiarmid has taken photographs of locations in France and England to match with archive images taken before, during and after the D-day landings. Photography then and now lets you move through time by tapping or clicking on a historic image to reveal the modern view.

The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings in World War II. The craft was designed by Andrew Higgins based on boats made for operating in swamps and marshes. More than 20,000 were built, typically constructed from plywood, this shallow-draft, barge-like boat could ferry a platoon-sized complement of 36 men to shore at 9 knots. No less an authority than the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, declared the Higgins boat to have been crucial to the Allied victory on the Invasion of Normandy and the previous fighting in North Africa and Italy: "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."

Seventy years after their forebearers swooped to take reconnaissance photos over the D-Day beaches in France, RAF Tornado jets from II (Army Co-operation) Squadron have used today's technology to emulate their World War II counterparts. Turns out, the areas that saw the heaviest Allied bombardments look better than Detroit does now. Huh.

And real quickz, here are two reasons to love Emily Blunt: First, she almost killed Tom Cruise and second, she seeks to understand testicle pain. What more could one ask for?


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