Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Today is the anniversary of the largest amphibious assault in history - to whit, the D-Day invasions of Normandy during WWII. Here are some facts about the assault you might not have know:

 - Although months of rigorous planning proceeded the invasion, the actual date of June 6th was selected at the last minute.Logistically, the action needed to take place at the beginning of June, the 5th being the preferred date. However, there were a number of variables that had to be taken into account during the planning. The bombers required a full moon, and a (cloud) ceiling of at least 5000 feet. The sea could not be too rough, otherwise the heavy transport boats would not be able to make the crossing. If the winds exceeded 20 mph, the paratroopers would be unable to land safely. June came in with one of the worst summer storms in twenty years. The decision to attack on June 6th was due to the weather report given by James Martin Scagg, predicting a 24 hour period or relatively decent weather in the midst of the storm.  You can read about it here and here.

 - The Scottish Highlands were used for a lot of training during WWII, including practice for the Normandy invasion. The British Commandos took intensive training courses there.

 - The actor, Richard Todd took part in the invasion. Nearly twenty years later, he appeared in the movie, The Longest Day in the role of Major John Howard, who was his commanding officer. Another actor, in a bit role, plays Richard Todd himself.

 - Tiny submarines, manned by Commandos, were sent to Normandy in advance of the invasion to conduct reconnaissance, and to lead the landing craft safely to the beach. They hid within range of the German guns for five days before the assault took place.

 - Bagpipes were used in the attack. Piper Bill Millin, under orders from his commanding officer, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, piped his men off the boats and up to the beach, while enduring heavy fire from the Germans. You can read his account of the attack here.

Billy Millin


Treskie said...


I love WWII guys.... They are awesome.

Mahri said...

Glad you liked it.