By Jenna and Emily
They landed in Utah because the wanted to be closer to the city Cherbourg. Thousands of paratroopers dropped down predawn behind enemy lines. Many drowned or were shot out of the sky. The many who landed found themselves more than a mile away from their intended landing point, and by noon the improvising paratroopers connected with General Theodore Roosevelt Jr's men and advanced four miles inland.
The battle at Omaha caused the most casualties of all the battle that were fought that day. 2400 soldiers died to to the underestimation of the German soldiers. Aerial attacks produced little success toward the strong the strong German positions. Rough sea conditions allowed only two of the twenty nine amphibious tanks to reach shore. Loosing hope, General Omar Bradley considered abandoning the attack but his men slowly began to progress towards the beach and the safety of the bluffs. A group of army rangers scaled a large promontory between Omaha and Utah to collect artillery pieces stashed in an orchard and from U.S. ships close to shore to attack German fortifications.
British forces fought against the Germans at Gold Beach about an hour after the battles at Omaha and Utah began. Unlike Omaha, aerial attacks successfully damaged German defenses. British warships, including the H.M.S. Ajax, presented a beneficial amount of accuracy. On shore armored vehicles called "funnies" cleared mine fields and other obstacles. British troops obtained beach exits and traveled forward to capture the village of Arromanches.
Allied landing crafts had trouble with the rough sea conditions and enemy mines. Within the first hour the Canadian soldiers suffered a large amount of injuries, approaching a fifty percent casualty rate. While moving forward through the chaos, an allied tank unintentionally began to drive over some of the wounded soldiers only halting when a Canadian captain blew the tank off its course with a grenade. Canadian forces successfully pushed German forces further inland. Canadians traveled further towards the center of the island than the British and American troops. They did not capture the Carpiquet Airport but successfully obtained other towns on the way to meet with the British forces.
Around midnight, British and Canadian troops dropped behind enemy lines to secure the area. They took control of the Pegasus and Horsa bridges. Other troops destroyed bridges over the River Dives to ensure that the German troops could not send in reinforcements. British forces destroyed an important German artillery battery then proceeded to the beach. Despite the use of "funnies" and strong air support, German forces successfully pushed British troops to the beach. British forces then struggled to push them back inland. All beaches could not unite until June 12th.
On June 6th, 1944, the pathfinders of the 101st airborne were the first Americans to land in France. Afterwards, the Screaming Eagles landed in Normandy and secured the area for the 1st and 4th infantry divisions at Omaha and Utah. After 33 days of fighting, the 101st returned to England to ready themselves for future operations. Starting September 17, 1944, the Operation "Market Garden," was fought by the Screaming Eagles for 72 days in Holland. In November of 1944 the 101st returned to France and then were called to action in the Battle of the Bulge. While defending a transportation hub, the 101st was surrounded by enemy forces who were demanding surrender. Although the siege was broken December 26, 1944, fighting advanced until January 18, 1945. The 101st captured Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden after moving through the Alsace and the Ruhr Valleys. The Screaming Eagles were decommissioned on November 30, 1945, 8 months after the German surrender.
When he landed at Omaha his main job was to get guns from the beach. His assault boat hit a sand bar so he and his fellow battalion members had to swim the seventy five yards to shore. When he got to the beach he had to make his way across the mine infested sand to the seaway. A sniper bullet hit him in his right leg when he was 25 yards away from the seaway. He fell and before he was able to stand up he was shot again in the right leg by a machine gun. He was able to crawl to a medic and he then received a shot of morphine. He was able to gather some of the wounded and waited on the beach until the attack was over.
Vic was a small child at the time. He was 14 years old when D-Day struck. Vic remembered dropping everything to listen to the local radio. The only way for the people around him to get any news in the town was for everyone to come listen to this small broken radio, but even these people got the news. D-Day caused anxiety for everyone in the town, and although Vic could barely understand what was happening, he knew it was huge. He watched the people around him support each other as they went through the rough day.
Stanley H. Jones
The streets in the town Stanley was from used to be filled with life. Military men would train there and then ship off. Many men who came back would celebrate in the area around and the children would run around with them, feeling the joy of being a part of the war. Stanley and some of the other kids would go around and offer the military men gum, because it was often requested by many who were returning. Stanley remembers the day D-Day came, because the streets were empty and there were no celebrations. Stanley sat and listened to the BBC reports and many of the other stations. They would gather anywhere that they could hear the news. Often, Stanley and his family sat by the radio just to discover what was going on. Stanley remembered the community coming together in a time of crisis and supporting each other. It was harsh and very emotional, but the people around him stood together in support of their fighting soldiers.