D-Day Success Was Never Sure Thing

D-Day was seventy-three years ago today…here are articles linked by Real Clear History (click on the headline to read the entire article), and below is a video — h/t Real Clear Defense:

D-Day Success Was Never Sure Thing
General Dwight D. Eisenhower scribbled these chilling words on a piece of paper shortly before D-Day, June 6, 1944. Ike’s naval aide, Captain Harry C. Butcher, found it crumpled in his shirt pocket weeks later and saved it for posterity. In contrast to a message of hope that Eisenhower had recorded before the invasion, which was broadcast on the BBC the morning of June 6 announcing the invasion of France, the world never knew until years later of its existence – and then only as an insight into Ike’s remarkable character.

Rommel’s Painstaking Prep for D-Day
The Germans had four years to fortify their conquered northern Atlantic coast, but they had not, as of early 1944, put that time to good use. For three of those years the Western Front was, to them, a place to refit formations that had been shattered in Russia or a place to station inferior troops not trusted with front-line duty. The Nazi propaganda machine boasted about Germany’s “Atlantic Wall,” but until the latter part of 1943 the wall was more fantasy than reality. Two things happened in late 1943 that lit a fire under the Germans. First, they began to realize that an Anglo-American invasion of France was a real possibility. Second, they appointed their most prominent commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the great hero of North Africa, to command in the west.

Breaching Rommel’s Atlantic Wall
After the invasion and subsequent fall of France in 1940, the German army controlled the entire coast of Northern France. Following the Allied evacuation at Dunkirk, Hitler had hoped that Britain would agree to settle the war. But, because of British determination and Germany’s inability to carry out an invasion of England, Germany was forced to maintain a defensive posture along the coast.

Beginning of the End for Nazi Germany
The road to the invasion of Nazi-controlled France began more than two years prior to its actual execution. In its early stages, the invasion plan was a British operation called Roundup, which would move troops onto the mainland in the event of a German collapse. When the United States entered the war, the idea was resurrected as a combined British-American operation to cross the English Channel and pierce Adolf Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall defenses.

Allies’ Lucky D-Day Weather Break
The extraordinary story of the changing June weather of 1944 and its influence on Gen Dwight Eisenhower revolves around the heated arguments of six weathermen.

Remembering D-Day: Then and Now
Seventy-two years ago, on June 6, 1944, Allied troops waded ashore on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. The night before, on June 5, American airborne forces had landed on the western flank of the invasion area near Sainte-Mère-Église, while British airborne forces secured the eastern flank and Pegasus Bridge. They jumped out of C-47 Dakota transport planes, through darkness and into glory. Some arrived by glider. Private John Steele of the 82nd Airborne landed on the steeple of the church at Sainte-Mère-Église. He managed to survive by playing dead.

Image credit: Normandy American Cemetery / Photo by John Biver.