View Full Version : "Most of us expected to die. Most of us did"

6th Jun 2014, 07:48
That was ex-G.I Mr. Baumgarten. a hero of Omaha Beach speaking on the radio this morning.

It just has to be the quotation of the day, defining as it does, exactly what they faced on the morning of 6 June 1944.

In their landing craft they had watched "A" Company hit the beach just ahead of them and get wiped out. Some men were vomiting, not just from sea-sickness, and all of them were scared. He said that the expectation of death gave him a degree of bravado, but he was very surprised to survive the day.

6th Jun 2014, 08:10
I've paid my respects at Arromanches and other places along that coast and frankly I'm still amazed that any survived looking at the terrain and the covering arcs of fire available to the defending forces.

Effluent Man
6th Jun 2014, 09:08
A couple of years back I stayed a few nights at the Hotel Mercure at Omaha Beach.An excellent base to see everything.From there we walked the coast path to Arromanches.From the cliff top you get a wonderful view of the remaining Mulberry harbours and there is a German battery that was destroyed by naval gunfire.Regular bus services along the coast road makes it easy to get back.Well worth a trip.

6th Jun 2014, 10:47
I was enthralled watching ex-para 89 year old Jock Hutton jumping into Normandy for the second time, after an interval of 70 years. Almost as impressive was watching him after landing marching across the field in company with the young Red Devil with whom he had jumped and coming smartly to the salute as they were greeted by the Prince of Wales.

Mr Hutton said the "humbling" experience was quite different to 70 years ago: "We didn't stay in the air as long as we did today.
"We left the aircraft at about 500 feet - nine of us in each aircraft. (We) smashed into the ground ... we had a task to do, that was foremost in our minds.
"You couldn't just reach the ground and sit on your backside. Our main task was to liberate Ranville, which we did before first light."

Humbling stuff for me as well!

6th Jun 2014, 11:20
I visited the D-Day Landing beaches a couple of years ago with three male friends. The most "humbling" bit of the lot was the American Cemetery at Coleville-Sur-Mer. A fabulous memorial to both the stupidity and bravery of mankind.
I don't think a single word was said between us as we walked amongst the graves and more than one or two surreptitious tears was secretly wiped away.


6th Jun 2014, 11:22
Very humbling. I am grateful to every serviceman who has fought so we can enjoy freedom. My Dad fought in North Africa, was captured a year after he joined the theatre, and was a POW for 3 years. I can feel so much for the GI who is quoted. He describes so simply what he and his comrades faced.

6th Jun 2014, 12:18
Yes lots of coverage today including documentaries. A good one on Juno Beach. A bit strange to see it today.

"They were the heroes, we just survived"

6th Jun 2014, 14:25
I am watching the ceremony. The vets seem to be baking in the sun waiting for the other guests while there is shade for the "Dignitaries" and spectators. Each arriving politico should lick the boots of each vet!

6th Jun 2014, 14:47
Couldn't agree more Flash.
Rather than the Vets bowing to the dignitaries, surely it should be the other way round! They must be wondering what is going on these days what with "Europe", Trojan Horse schools, folks taking overseas holidays on benefits....? I could go on....

6th Jun 2014, 16:16
BBC News - D-Day: Hove veteran defies ban for Normandy trip (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-27735086)

What a bloke! Hats off to you sir!

And to all of those who fought on our behalf in France and elsewhere.

6th Jun 2014, 18:48
The courage of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and what they did on D-day, and throughout WWII, inspires me forever. It's a great challenge to be worthy of what they did for us.

wings folded
6th Jun 2014, 19:51
For the first time ever, a French president paid tribute of course to the combattants who lost their lives and veterans who survived and were present, but also to civilian victims in Normandy, and furthermore, to German victims of the nazi regime.

A very dignified stance, and worthy of my respect at least.

A different president:

- in his speech vaunted the merits of hamburgers

- did the strange right hand on the left chest gesture for the american anthem, but remained totally unmoved by other anthems. All other delegates in uniform saluted the american anthem as well as all the others including the Marseillaise.

- was reading something and ostentatiously chewing gum during the speech by the host, showing a total indifference to the solemnity of the occasion and in my view a disrespect for those so many heads of state had gathered to honour, people to whom we owe our liberty and peace.

In my day, he would have been hauled to one side and taught some manners.

6th Jun 2014, 20:17
I have the greatest admiration for all the men who landed on the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago today, but especially for the US troops who faced the mayhem that was Omaha beach. Their hell was, without a doubt, worse than that of those landing on the other beaches.

I salute every one of those who landed on that day, and in the days and weeks following D Day, but offer a special salute to those who had to endure the hell that was Omaha beach, this day 70 years ago.

6th Jun 2014, 20:50
The most remarkable event on that day on Omaha beach, was that it only took four hours for invasion troops, despite horrific loses, to defeated the German defenses defending Omaha Beach.

And how long did Germany have to build those defenses that fell in four hours, four years.

What a remarkable achievement by those first waves of troops landing on Omaha Beach.

They were the Greatest Generation.

Not just the Americans, but all the Allies. And the truth be known and this must be said, the German Army as well, not counting the SS.

6th Jun 2014, 22:26
- was reading something and ostentatiously chewing gum during the speech by the host

I caught that, too.

He had to know the cameras were on him and hundreds of millions of people were watching.

It was either utter disrespect for the occasion or a lack of any sense of propriety as a result of a poor upbringing. Charitably, given his treatment of the Churchill sculpture, I'll accord him the latter assessment.

6th Jun 2014, 22:28
wingsfolded, I'm sorry that our President's behavior did not meet your expectations. He behaved, unfortunately, exactly as I would expect.

As for the snide comment about the hand over the heart during the national anthem, come on over to the hamsterwheel where we can discuss the tradition of the pledge of allegiance, Bellamy salute, and other things that you might find irritating. Until then, let's leave this thread to those who want to pay true respect.

6th Jun 2014, 22:48
In my day, he would have been hauled to one side and taught some manners.

The only reason he showed up at all was he thought they were naming a beach after him. It wasn't until he pointed out the spelling errors that he realized it was a different occasion than he was planning on attending.


6th Jun 2014, 22:57
Obama Beach... Don't rule it out. Screaming Germans or Nobel Norwegians might go for it. Somewhere else, I hope.

Sorry for that, Matari. You're right, of course. I hate myself for swinging at that slow, hanging curve.

6th Jun 2014, 23:27
Sorry if my sentiments are inappropriate to this solemn occasion, but the Omaha/Obama Beach post brought me completely undone.

I wonder how many of those adoring Berliners (the citizens, not the sausages) and the Nobel Prize Committee have reconsidered their stance since those heady days when, in European eyes at least, Kermit the Frog would have been seen as preferable to that American President they so loved to hate?

Am I the only one who feels that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, Kermit just might have been a better option?

Chewing gum at an occasion like that? You cannot tell me that was not a conscious decision to send a message to the other attendees and to the world at large.

7th Jun 2014, 01:25
Am I the only one who feels that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, Kermit just might have been a better option?

You're far from alone.

Not to mention, Miss Piggy would be a far more elegant First Lady.

7th Jun 2014, 01:38
May we also remember all the clever types who came up with a deception plan that had Hitler still thinking the main assault would come in the Pas de Calais, even after D-Day. And all the myriad men and women who didn't give the game away.

Boudreaux Bob
7th Jun 2014, 02:11
Wings Folded,

If you are looking for an argument you will have to go somewhere else to find it.:ok:

Proper manners and respect for things what should be respected is not the Wookie and the Bamster's strong suit.

Remember him with his hands doodling around and her stage whispering in his ear something like "all this for damn flag".

Obama Voters should be so very proud of themselves except for them that voted for him a second time and they need to politely go for a long swim in the Atlantic like to the bottom in about a thousand fathoms.