Guns and Gear

Remembering D-Day: Facts, Quotes and Eisenhower’s letter to the troops

Michael Piccione Contributor

Invasion Date

June 6, 1944 – The D in D-Day stands for “day” since the final invasion date was unknown and weather dependent

Allied Forces

156,000 Allied troops  from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, free France and Norway

Areas of Invasion

The Allied code names for the beaches along the 50-mile stretch of Normandy coast targeted for landing were; Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Omaha was the costliest beach in terms of Allied casualties.

The Armada

5,000 ships and landing craft

50,000 vehicles

11,000 planes

 Commanders

United States – Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley

United Kingdom – Bernard Law Montgomery, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Arthur Tedder, Miles Dempsey, Bertram Ramsay

Germany – Erwin Rommel, Gerd von Rundstedt, Friedrich Dollmann

Quotes

“We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.” ~ General George S. Patton, Jr

“Rangers, Lead The Way!” ~ Colonel Francis W. Dawson

“Men, I am not a religious man and I don’t know your feelings in this matter, but I am going to ask you to pray with me for the success of the mission before us. And while we pray, let us get on our knees and not look down but up with faces raised to the sky so that we can see God and ask his blessing in what we are about to do.”

“God almighty, in a few short hours we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join battle afraid. We do not ask favors or indulgence but ask that, if You will, use us as Your instrument for the right and an aid in returning peace to the world.”

“We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We ask only this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right.”

“Oh Lord, protect our loved ones and be near us in the fire ahead and with us now as we pray to you.”

All were silent for two minutes as the men were left, each with his individual thoughts. Then the Colonel ordered, “Move out.”

~Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd battalion, 506th PIR.

Robert Wolverton was killed by German machine gun fire in an orchard outside St. Come-du-Mont, Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.

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