By Christen Campbell and Taylor Krech

The Beaches

On the morning of June 6th, 1944, D-Day hit and the Allied soldiers stormed many of the beaches that were located on the coastline of Normandy (1). The conditions of the seas on the coast were extremely choppy and not fit for a fight. Many sailors drowned and were killed throughout the battles. The German resistance to the attacks did not allow them to achieve the main goal of the battles, however they were able to put in enough damage (1). Of the 160,000 Allied troops that fought here, 9,000 were killed or wounded. D-Day was significant in World War II because of the advantage it gave to the Allies. Winning these battles allowed the troops to move into France and put us one step closer to defeating Germany (2). (CC)

101st Airborne

On August 16th, 1942, the 101st Airborne Division was composed in Louisiana and it was under command of Major General William C. Lee. They army had recently started testing out the viability of parachutes and the success was great. The U.S. Army authorized two divisions. One was the 82nd Airborne and the other was the 101st (3). The mission for the 101st Airborne was to land behind the enemy lines at Utah beach. As the parachutes landed, they were to clear the exit ways and make sure that no enemy reinforcements were able to make it near Utah. On June 6th, the 101st landed on the ground and there had already been many casualties and a lot of the equipment that was dropped was lost or taken by the enemy. Although there were complications, the division was able to surround the enemy leaders. (CC)
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Casualties for the Allies

On June 6th 1944, there were many casualties coming from the allied armies. The total estimated casualties are said to be around 8,443 people. The highest amount coming from the U.S. Airborne at 2,499 casualties. (TK)

Source- http://warchronicle.com/numbers/WWII/ddaycasualtyest.htm

Experience 1

Rodger AIrgood was a twin- engine pilot flying C-47s as a second lieutenant. He received his wings and commission on March 20th 1943. During D-day he dropped paratroopers over the beaches of Normandy. He mentioned that they had a very precise route to follow over the channel and across Normandy. In his opinion, this was the most complex and ambitious mission he has ever done. What made this mission so hard was the several changes in altitude and the direction over the course. Usually there are check points- which let the pilots know they are flying in the right direction. During D-day there were no signals emitted to the pilots. This made keeping their formation very hard , along with knowing where they were flying almost impossible. (TK)

Source- http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1/?file=dday_0042p1

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Experience 2

For Allen W. Stephens, D-day was not his first mission, but his twenty- first. He said that they took off at 4:20 in the morning when it was still dark. The rain was so thick that he could barely see the plane taking off in front of him. By the time he made it above the cloud banks he saw B-26s and other planes flying around and mentioned that it was a beautiful sight. He was one of the first aircrafts to enter the invasion targets, when all of a sudden a B-26 Marauder exploded in mid-air. They went through thick smoke from the fire, and debris that was almost impossible not to hit. Yet they made it through. When they reached 4,500 feet, they dropped their bombs at 6:30 a.m. Everything was timed to the split second, and everything went as planned. (TK)

Source- http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dday/sfeature/sf_voices_02.html

Experience 3

Joseph A. Dragotto fought with his unit (Company C) from the beaches of Normandy on D-day. Prior to the D-day invasion he trained near the town of Exeter England. Not only did he serve his country on D-day, but also in the battle of Hurtgen Forest and the Elsenborn Ridge during the battle of the Buldge. He said that war was similar to what he thought hell would be like. There were bombs bursting as high as the trees and it was raining deadly fragments, splinters, wood and metal down on him and everyone else. Whenever they were granted a time to rest, it was short lived. With men screaming and crying and the the ground being covered in blood, he said this was something that he would never forget. (TK)

Source- http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1/?file=dday_0008p2