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tv   Aftermath of D- Day Invasion  CSPAN  August 14, 2014 1:51am-2:53am EDT

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>> how much runway to get a c-47 out of broadway? how long of a runway to get a c-47 off? >> it ended up being about 4,500. >> 4,500. >> it was built in one night. >> let's go to this side over here, mr. ymca football. >> my neighbor helped build to burma and he just passed last year. and he came back and he said he was never going to eat another grain of rice in his life. so i wanted to hear from you fellas what it was like just on a day by day basis out there surviving. >> i don't know what he said. >> he was talking about people didn't want to eat rice anymore after being over there. i had some friends that were guests of the japanese for a few
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months and they wouldn't touch rice either. as far as the mess hall, we didn't have a lot of rice there. we didn't have very good food. it was not too tasty. >> i came bam from other there and was working in chicago and the office manager where i worked was a japanese girl and wound up marrying her and eating rice the rest of my life. [ applause ] >> let's go back over here. >> my question concerned which pilot flew the hump first, was it the air commandos or the pilots of the 14th air force? >> i think it was the 14th air force. >> pilots of which organization flew the hump first.
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>> i'm still not reading you. >> which flew the hump first? do you know? what outfit through over the hump first? >> there was flight of airplanes. jake sarks who was my roommate who arrived in india around the first of april and he was in another young man, paul conroy flew a couple of missions before. jacob was the last airplane out
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of there. i think most of you heard that they loaded 71 passengers on there. when they arrived in india, there were 72. >> it wasn't magic. it was a baby. >> the first hump flight incidentally was flown by robert oolde in early april of 1942. do you know what they carried? >> they carried fuel to china for the doolittle. >> was he with the 14th or not? >> do you know? we'll get back with you. >> can i ask another question. what was the casualty rate of the pilots that flew the hump? >> i'm sorry. i don't know. i know it was very high. >> okay. thank you. >> i do think that i saw a
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figure of about 600 aircraft and crews went down over the hump. at one point it was more dangerous to fly the hump than it was a round trip out of berlin to england. >> well they are flying c 47s in planes that won't go as high as the mountains with the world's worst weather with no good weather reporting stations. very few navigation aids and pretty heavily loaded. >> you mentioned an air base that you were stationed at. was it in de kah or chittygau. >> the air commandos were stationed at a place called laligot. they were in far eastern assahm.
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did you ever get supplied by air drop from any of the other bases in india whether assahm or east india or whatever? >> in chittygao. it's hard to remember the names. we hit several different places. >> were you ever supplied by air drop rather than just gliders. >> we were on our way to the mission. we weren't on an air drop. the only air drops that we ever did was own berma. the air commandos themselves did most of the air drops. >> colonel cole, i was a
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commando pilot in vietnam in the first commando squadron. the most memorable moment in my life was spending an hour with you over our favorite beverages in 2009 at the air commando reunion. one of the most significant things that i took from our conversation was how colonel doolittle determined when it was time to bail out and the procedures y'all went through and so forth. would you be kind enough to describe that moment in time about the bail out and what went on? >> can you describe when you bailed out of your mitchell bomber after the raid on tokyo in china when you were at 8,500 feet. can you describe that?
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>> well, first i can tell you it was in my opinion the scariest time of the whole mission. you're 9,000 feet in the middle of a very active warm front and lots of lightning and rain and so forth. looking the down at the black hole in the bottom of the airplane wondering what you were going to do after you bail out, what you're going to hit because you couldn't see the ground. it was at night. when he said we're going to have to bail out, paul leonard, the crew chief was in the back all by himself, he went out first. he was followed by fred bremmer
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the bombadeer and myself. >> i was wondering what it was like on base just day to day when you weren't out on missions? >> are you talking about for the air commandos there? >> yeah. >> okay. pat, do you want to take that. >> well i'd like to accept it might not come as a surprise to you people that all three of us have hearing aides plugged in our ears. unfortunately the day before i came up here the right one went on the fritz and i sent it in for repair. i don't know what the question was. >> my grandpa always does the same thing. i was wondering what it was like on base day to day when you weren't out on missions. >> what it was like on what. >> on base day to day when you weren't on missions. >> can you describe what it was
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like when you weren't flying missions? >> yeah. it was a mad house. our air strip when you think of c 47s and b 25s and the pursuit ships and all the planes taking off from there. you kind of think we have a paved air strip and it wasn't. as as i understood it, it was three rice patties in a row. it was probably the most homogenous group that ever existed in the army as far as i know. there was no differentiation between officers and enlisted men. you all worked together. if something needed to be done everybody chipped in and did it. it was happening all the time. just constantly fixing airplanes. working on airplanes. fueling airplanes.
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it was one of the neatest times of my life or neatest. >> we should point out that everybody ate together. one time the general saw these enlisted member and officers sitting together and nobody saluting and he said what in the world. it's all we got. if you prefer to eat outside we can set you up a table. he did. and they did. he ate outside. >> i think we got time for two more questions. one here and one here and then we will have to shut it off. all three. it's been super seeded. the three of you. let's go to you. >> question for dick cole and a lot of people may not know there are famous reunions every year since the war of the doolittle raiders who have a big famous reunion each year and a famous
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bottle of conyak that general doolittle purchased at the end of the war and was supposed to be drunk by the very few remaining members of the raid. did you make it to the reunion this year and was the conyac opened and sipped. >> yes. it was finally opened but they were kind of chinsy with it. [ applause ] >> the bottle was going to stay with the gobblets at the air force museum. >> that conyac 1896, hso of
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course they were stingy with it. >> how much resistance did you get from the japanese in burma? >> actually, i don't remember. we were able to operate for several times without any bother. >> i can truthfully say they shot at us. >> they were at broad way this clearing for about a week before the japanese finally discovered where they were and bombed them. they also sent in japanese land troops infantry and they surrounded it and so almost every night there would be a
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fire fight. they set up a strong hold at broadway and just -- it's kind of hard to believe but they got used to the harassment and lived with it. they stayed there while they were surrounded by the japanese. >> yes, sir. last question. >> i want to direct this question to dick cole. i know we're covering a lot of time when you were on the raid with doolittle but what would be one of the most memorable moments that you remember in that raid, please. >> i haven't been asked that question before. the most memorable thing i can remember was when my parachute opened. [ applause ]
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i was awful glad it did. >> thank you dick. [ applause ] you're watching american history tv in primetime. we're taking the opportunity while congress is on break to show you programs normally seen weekends here on c-span 3. coming up the troubles allied troops faced after the normandy invasion. that's followed by a look of the role chaplains played in world war ii. and the allied invasion force in burma.
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in the weeks after the june 6th, 1944 d-day invasion of normandy france allied troops faced difficult terrain and german fortifications in towns surrounding the beaches. next military historian john macmanus talks about what happened in the days and weeks after. >> what follows from june 7th on ward is an absolute bloody slog
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that ultimately leads deep into germany and the end of hitler's nazi germany. here's where it begins. d-day sees this basic situation. you got the five distinctive landing beaches, obviously gold for british, juneau is sandwiched between them. omaha beach americans carved out an enlargement there and west of that utah beach for the americans. that's my primary focus the american experience in normandy and a little bit what that was like. they need to get up to caratan
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so they can link up the beaches. utah and normandy need to be linked up and a base point from which you advance and take your other objectives in normandy. caratan by the accidents of geography is the spot where that must happen. it's not a big town. 4,000 people or so in 1944. it's located near, very low ground. it wasn't like that in 1944. but much of the land around it was inundated and many of you know it was one of the german defenses against the normandy
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invasion is to flood certain portions of normandy in hopes of foiling airborne operations and the like. caratan is the focus for what remains of the 101st airborne division in the aftermath of the landings. the 101st had been scattered around southward and in about the first three to four days after d-day their fight is a matter of capturing some of the key d-day objectives and then sort of for the commander putting together a coherent, cohesive entity he can maneuver. he'll approach from the north. he'll take his 327 glider
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regiment and envelope around to the right of caratan. this is soefg a busy map. but these are some of the better maps you're going to get in terms of accuracy of this phase of the normandy campaign. it comes from the west point atlas which is an online website. i encourage you to check it out. not just world war ii maps but many maps throughout military history. caratan will be enveloped, 327th glider infantry regiment along with the 501st will swing around to the city. the parachute infantry will take the lead in coming in to caratan from the north and on their heels the most famous regiment including of course famous band of brothers.
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this is a slow and difficult slog. for the 502 there's only one way in to the karatan. the germans know this. the weighsway is mined and there are obstacles there to prevent american movement. there's also in one instance a german plane that drapes a long column of american infantry which is really an unusual experience for americans in normandy. usually the germans are on a wrong end of an attack. as i mentioned the obstacles. some of these para troopers will get hung up dealing with obstacles and trying to take cover along either side of the embankments above the causeway. it's an extremely difficult situation. but there are some sort of farms, distinctive farms north
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of the town and some 502nd para troopers get in there. we often associate, army language with general george patton. cole was sort of patton's equal in terms of colorful army language. a colorful personality. cole had this manner of speaking gruffly but affectionately to his soldiers. he was a larger-than-life commander in terms of leading from the front. he was the kind of person who liked to give his soldiers a hard time, to give them a hard time and see how they would react. he was unanimous expirational commander in combat in terms of courage and professionalism. cole had one of the key moments
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of this push into the northern outskirts of kara tan. cole will loosely organize what is rare in american modern military historier and that's a bayonet charge. a bayonet charge against germans who control a farm building and surrounding hedge rows. and basically about 502nd troopers charging forward with their bayonets with open ground with cole leading the way. there's almost an absurdly hummous moment that happens during this incredible assault. cole doesn't see this drainage gully or drainage ditch and falls straight into it and splashed up to here with water and got all these guys around him. going past him or following him or wherever. he looks back and says continue to follow me.
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which is the anti-infantry credo. cole almost unconsciously goes against that says continue to follow me into here he done want everybody falling into the ditch. he works his way out of there. others are working straight at the germans. there are instance when they will sort of -- they will bayonet the germans in their stomachs believe it or not and kind of get their foot in the door by over running this german position in one of the key part, north of the town. this opens the doorway into, into kara tan for the rest of the 101th airborne division including the 506. 506 comes into kara tan by the south and take it street by
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street. they left a rear guard of a company in there. this fight isóg3 place june 11th, 1944 takes place outside of the city limits. outside in the fields and hedge rows beyond kara tan and this is one of the few instances in the
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entire northwest campaign of world war ii that allied leaders are able to receive intelligence what's called ultraintelligence the ability to break many of the german codes, operational codes and figure out something of their intentions. general bradley the first army commander, the u.s. first army commander that's this ultraintelligence. he knows he has tanks available to deal with them coming from the second armored division. they landed hastily. will enter the karatan fight. they are going to stave off that counter attack allowing two american beach heads to link up. obviously this is important. this is significant. so from there where do the allies go? well they are each dealing, two distingts audiotape lied force americans and their allies from
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britain and canada are dealing with different points of resistance. different obstacles. well on the british side and canadian side, closer to canne the most potent adversary you got is the german units converging on you. they are forming around canne to deal with the british and canadians there. that means 12 ss panzer. you got pretty good rolling ground around canne, rolling plain, plateaus, and farm fields that are right there in the summer time, you know, getting close to harvest. good tank country. good roads. the british want canne for the obvious reason the biggest city in normandy and perfect pivot point to advance out of normandy and inland port to help your logistics to land supplies and
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people. general montgomery hoped to have that on d-day. but it took them a month because they are facing the toughest you knits in the entire german army. one example the canadian 3rd division will end up in a blood feud with the aforementioned 125th panzer division. there will be the killings of canadian prisoners by 12 ss most notably called abby darden western suburbs of canne. they shoot them almost out of
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handout of sorts. eventually they take them to the abby darden and execute them. 25 are killed in the garden and you can go there in this day and age and visit it and see a memorial marker to the canadians that were killed. and destroy each other. 12th ss ends up destroyed ultimately. in world war ii you had to be a volunteer to be sent to fight in a combat unit. you couldn't be drafted to serve
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in the canadian 3rd division fighting in normandy so difficult for them to replenish their manpower once they were losing people and british are having the same problems obviously they have a draft where you can serve every where. for the americans, there main challenge is the terrain itself. not that the german opposition should be taken lightly but the terrain can do some of the defensive work for the germans in normandy. you look here at the country that's honey combed with hedge rows. you're looking at an an aerial w from 1944. you'll notice almost a checkered board sense of this area, this place, these fields. what are the hedge rows? well, mostly your hedge rows in normandy are structured thusly. you got about a four to eight-foot embankment, earthen embankment sometimes reinforced with stones or other fencing material but often reinforced
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with deep and thick roots that date back many, many hundreds if not thousands of years, the foliage is extensive, especially in summer time. this is a formidable natural obstacle. the hedge rows were cultivated by normandy farmers for two millennial. they had been used to delineate whose field was whose and have a border area. you can see, you got deeply rooted treerks foliage, deeply packed earth, the norman soil very moist, very much the consistency of clay. very adhesive in this sense. it's beautiful soil but obviously very formidable. you know for any attacker who is hoping to dale with it. think of sort of -- isn't there
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a claustrophobic effect. you often sense just how thick some of these hedge rows are until you're right upon them. it would be difficult to maneuver units even a quarter of a mile away and have any sense what the german opposition would be. you could also sense that any opening in the hedge rows is going to be covered by german weaponry, isn't it. so how are you going to move and take land and maneuver under these circumstances. this is what the u.s. army comes face to face wax kind of stunning situation by, you know, by about the second week of june or so. this. the germans learned how to fortify the hedge rowst$jerv+[
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to make the americans pay dearly. the u.s. army is not really prepared to deal with these hedge rows. most of the training had focused on getting ashore. on maneuver warfare what the u.s. army will do well. maneuver with vehicles, use a lot of fire power, use air power, all these kinds of things. though there is certainly recognition that the hedge rows exist, you know, at high command levels. french resistance, of course, told them all about this. normandy is not a mystical place. many americans and britains and canadians visited there. george patton is a good example. he visited after world war i. this is not brand new but there's this kind of disconnect between understanding yeah there's hedge rows in normandy but maybe they are hedge rows like in britain which are more like hedges and maybe we have to
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deal with that. as a commander at the small unit level, platoon company your people are probably not prepared for this. so u.s. army is going to have to pri improvi improvise. the 90th infantry division is an example. the texas national guard. one of the regiments came on shore on d-day after the 4th division took the beach. their senior leadership was not up to the task. a lot of firings. a lot of turmoil. 90th is in this learning curve throughout the weeks of june 1944 and a lot of soldiers lose their lives or get wounded as people figure out how to deal
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with this. ultimately, i should point out the 90th is going to end up as one of the finest units in the u.s. army in europe but as i mentioned it's a steep learning curve. and there are other units that struggle too, not quite as much as the 90th but it's a problem. so how will they deal with them? improvizati improvization. senior commanders are goodling with how do we deal with thej rows. it's the sergeant and junior officers who are dealing with it on a day-to-day basis and i say the solution to the whole thing is combined arms. certainly the first thing you have to do is create a new opening in the hedge rows. you're not going to go through their opening they decided and get killed. what they are thinking about is we got engineers with tnt and blow holes that way but you don't have enough engineers or tnt. your infantry can't get through
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on their own. they don't that have weapons. the tanks. what about them? one of the thing they will start doing is welding prongs on to the front of the u.s. army tampgs in order to punch holes through the hedge rows. now you'll often hear claims oh, it's this guy who does it first, this guy who did it fixes that guy whatever. all of those are debatable because this is going on uniformly across the board. each unit figuring it out on their own kind of thing. it isn't as much a unified kind of approach. i'm giving the general picture that people are improvising. if you punch through a hedge row there's a good chance there's a german on the other side of the hedge row with a weapon that he can basically punch a hole in
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your armor and destroy the tank if he's close enough. you also have anti-tank weapons that are dug in things like that. so this is where you need infantry. infantry must be alongside those tanks as they punch through. the tanks will punch through a hedge row like you see there. and then they will figure there must be germans in the ditches or next hedge row line or the field if they are dumb but maybe close by. they will saturate the area with white phosphorous shells. it's a nasty weapon. basically designed to burn through all the way to the bone. when you burn white phosphorous you don't put it out with water it feeds with it more oxygen it makes it worse. only way to stop it is cut off the oxygen supply and that means packing with it mud or something like that which can create infection. no german soldiers wants these little bits of white phosphorous come down on him, catch his uniform on fire, burn through
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his skin. that's a deterrent to flush them out of there. saturate them with white phosphorous shells or high explosive shells and infantry willing act as a body guard for tampgs, coming along the side cleaning out the ditches. that means kill people. move along the difference shoot people, take them prisoner whatever. engineers will sometimes be used maybe demolition specialists or to deal with mines or sometimes impromptu infantry. i want varies. u.s. army is going to begin to learn to fight this way in june and july 1944, hedge row to hedge row throughout normandy and still a slow and rather torturous process and casualty intensive but it works because germans don't have enough manpower or fire power to hold off this growing u.s. army. so that's kind of the overview of how many of these battles have been fought. wubs you have the link up at karatan of omaha and utah beach
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the main focus for the u.s. army oddly enough is to move westward. shouldn't they move eastward towards germany? true. but they want to take the peninsula first. inland from utah beach to the opposite coast. the american planners believed they must have share bothered, port city you see right at the tip of the peninsula. it is the largest harbor in normandy and consider from a supply point of view the more people you put ashore the more you have to sustain. you need thousands of tons of supplies to sustain had these allied armies. from an american point of view two-thirds of this whole effort will be american. in terms of the manpower and material power. so, you need the port to help feed your armies. okay. so the germans understand this
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too and they have fortified it to a great extent. the first push across the peninsula through hedge row country is towards that town called barneyville which you see on the western coast. the 9th infantry division takes barneyville on june 18th, 1944. 9th division, it fought in the mediterranean. more or less a regular army division, had a reputation for f1 osion, had a reputation for combat, nickname called the old reliables. when they take barneyville on june 18th what that means is the germans are sealed off. sealed off mainly in their perimeter. they may try to attack on the other side of that red line you see there, counter attack but really from a german point of
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with surviving and holding the line. so the focus of the u.s. army's efforts from jun 18th all the way through most of the rest of june is to get to sherborg. he'll have the 9th division on the western coast as you expect. in the middle the 79th infantry division known as the cross of lorraine division. cross of lorraine division fought in world war i. it's new combat in world war ii. and one of the things that's interesting about the cross of lorraine division during this phase of the normandy campaign you can recognize the 79th division soldier. in most cases u.s. army soldiers have a very tight pattern netting on their helmets
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particularly non-airborne sals. 79th had wide netting on their helmets almost to the points you wonder why it's there. when you see this wide netting in any picture you know it's a 79th soldier in the latter half of june, 1944. on the right side or really on the original landing coast near utah beach is the 4th infantry division or ivy division. they assaulted and took utah beach on d-day. this is a regular army unit that was new to d-day and earn a reputation soon for significant bravery and competence as well. three divisions basically advancing shoulder to shoulder. collectively on the command of jay lawton collins who in my opinion emerge as one of the most competent of all u.s. army commanders in the european
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theater. he once commanded the 25th division at guadacanal. the push for sherborg is through thick country. the battle is fought with these combined arms efforts. not necessarily a full armored division, you got tanks parcelled out among infantry units in for us and fiurs or fi. the navy is the helping the eastern coast advance. there's very heavy bunkers and fortification used to defend the coast which are tough nuts to crack. by about june 23rd, 24th, you're approaching the outskirts of
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sherborg. you have thousands of german soldiers there. is that mishmash group. you have naval people. you got anti-aircraft people. you got german army soldiers. you have supply people. you have administrative types. you got a tiny few tanks but mainly relying if you're the germans upon built in fortifications which is at the center point of the entry outskirts, the sherborg. coastal fortifications. for the crowning assault on sherborg collins will do something quite unusual and innovative. u.s. navy is helping sustain the entire beach head regardless whether we're talk about the british or americans. helping to sustain it by guarding the beaches where most of the real supplies are being landed still over omaha beach
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primarily. but you got a lot of powerful ships, cruisers, destroyers, few battle ships that can be useful as close support for any operations. so at sherborg collins will coordinate with his naval colleagues to have a fleet available that features at least two battle ships and they are going to shell the german positions in the harbor, tie down a lot of their gun positions that are designed to fire at ships. but provide some level of close support for the troops of those three u.s. army divisions as they move into the urban morasse of sherborg. from the perspective say you're a gunner aboard usa navy cruiser and asked to shell a hostile shore in support of american troops, usually amphibious assault troops. most of the time it's no problem, no big deal if you fire too long. you don't want to do that. you want to hit your target.
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if you fire too long you miss it and end in the german or japan's airfield. this is different. you're now firing in the same direction where your troops are coming from. you don't want to fire long. this requires a great deal precision of gunnery, coordination with collins. so you can imagine here are the army soldiers advancing towards their own navy's guns. what i consider to be remarkable is that there are few, if any friendly fire incidents during this battle. the navy does remarkable job in precision fire. once stuff happens. think about it. you got squads and platoons that are on this street versus this
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street versus that street. uneven jagged advance. it's remarkable they don't end up with any sort of disasters on their hands. so pretty quickly the germans find themselves, you know, just bombarded, out classed, out fought, kind of building to building, barn to barn, sewer to sewer. there's orders from hitler to fight to the last man and last cartridge, quote-unquote very hitler rhetoric. he nonetheless will surrender with 20,000 to 30,000 german troops by the end of june 1944. sherborg is taken. wonderful, right? i have bad news, really. german engineers had demolished the harbor. they made it unusable in the
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near term. they filled in the docks. destroyed the cranes. they put concrete block ships in there. they had just wrekds every quay you could imagine. this is a major job for u.s. army engineers to rebuild the place. it takes the better part of the summer. sherborg won't be running that much for the allies until about september 1944. by then it's far away from the front lines that are, you know, in eastern france. it's a bit anti-climatic. you wonder where are the supplies coming from then. well of course the most famous answer to that question is mulberry harbor. basically create your own artificial harbors off the landing beaches.
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you sing block ships and have ramps and platforms and unload stuff that way. authors in place within about a week or so of the invasion. but a terrible storm hits normandy from june 18th to 20th of 1944. heavily damages the mulberry harbor. the mulberries are overrated in terms of ally supply. they will account for 10%. most of your supplies are being landed on the beaches, especially omaha beach. landed by oversized lsts which the crews nicknamed long slow
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target. it often is. not a pretty ship but can move a lot of vehicles. open it up at low tide. unload and wait for the tide to come in and come back out. not how they planned but that's how the majority of supplies will be landed in this campaign in northern europe for quite some time. you have, of course, a unified allied sector as the map shows you and the british are going to get canne on july 7th by destroying i want by air. montgomery will try to pivot from there and advance southeastward in an offensive called operation goodwin which is disastrous. the american front is more or less stalemated inland from omaha beach and not far from
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barneyville. for instance, bradley decides to attack on the extreme western flank. as you see it there. to push for a town. now what he wants to do is unhinge that whole western part of the german line that red line that you see there, unhinge that and then that will compromise the entire position, german position in normandy. well, what ends up happening instead is a slow and bloody slog through very marshy ground which is bad for tanks and vehicles so you can't provide much fire support there. bradley gains seven miles of ground in two weeks and suffers 40,000 american casualties. 40,000 in a two week period for seven miles of more or less worthless ground. mush. that's what normandy is devolving too. the weather is not good. normandy is a very wet climate especially in the summer. rainy and moist. it makes it tough to use your air power all that accurately. of course it's hedge row to hedge row fighting anyway.
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you're having problems with supply on both sides. it's turning into a kind of a campaign of attrition which is not what really either side wants in a way. so bradley's concept on the heels of this failure is to redouble his efforts to take saint lux. it's not a new objective for the americans. they hoped the have it a lot sooner than this. the reason it's important and you'll notice this, practically every road in normandy leads to the town. it was a market town dating back to ancient times. not a big place but a communication and transportation and market center for norman culture. hit been invaded many times because it was valuable for these reasons. hit been invade by romans, by
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kings, by napolonic armies. the germans in 1940. all of those invaders in the old days had wanted to plunder. stuff. domination. power. women. whatever. the americans come in 1944, they don't want any of those things. they want to liberate the town. as they see it. what's supremely ironic and tragic these most behe invaders damage than anybody combined. the force bombed it on d-day. its a crossroads and natural place where germans would go to counter attack. this creates ruins and kill french civilians who are caught in the middle of this and of course as the push for the town
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matures into a major ground battle will lead to even more destruction. ultimately leading one u.s. army soldier to say after the battle, with sort of awe and sorrow in his voice we liberated the hell out of this place. it will be the focus point for bradley's army throughout much of july 1944. he'll push forward with three u.s. army divisions, the 35th which is missouri, kansas, nebraska national guard new combat in july, 1944. 2nd infantry division which is the indian head division which leads the day after omaha beach. that takes place at wm 65 right in the heart of omaha beach and on june 7th, 1944. 2nd division was regular army division.
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and it took pride in having the largest actual patch in the entire u.s. army. it still exists. and then the other division is the 29th, the blue grade division that carried out the famous assault omaha beach on d-day. a month later if you were in a rifle company in the 29th division and you had been there on d-day you were a real fugitive from the law of averages. the casualties that you knits
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take you, oh, probably about an hour, hour and a half, maybe two hours to walk it in regular peace time life. it took eight days to take it for the 29th division. and get into saint lux itself. hedge row to hedge row, fighting against german army para troopers and survivors from the german army's infantry division part of which had been at omaha beach on d-day. this is another battle to extinction. in terrible circumstances sometimes in rain with losses like you wouldn't believe that if you're in a rifle company and started without 160 companies on july 10th you're probably down to about 15 or 20 by july 18th.
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you're taking intense casualties but the german is worse off. the road is somewhat intact. engineers have to come in with bulldozers because there's so much rubble and move the rubble aside. the symbol of this american effort is embody in a guy named major thomas howie through the attrition of the battle became a battle lone commander. howie in civilian life had been an english teacher and football coach. and he was man of great intellect and great sensitivity. anybody who met him tended to like him except his addition
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commander never the most sensitive individual tended to think he was too nice, too soft and too sense tifb great come baptist leader. he was wrong about that. howie turns out to be beloved by his men and one of the people that really leads the push into saint lux and during one of the last drives he's killed by german shell fire. either mortar or artillery. his body is carried by other soldiers and is placed under a flag what they think is the remains of the church sean put there basically on display as a kind of a symbol of what american youth have done in saint lux. he's known to this day as the major of saint lux, thomas howie. so with this key objective finally in his hands bradley hopes to kind of pivot out of saint lux and beyond.
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i mentioned montgomery's goodwood offensive. originally he hoped to coordinate that with a major offensive with bradley pushing southwest out of saint lux and both want to use the air force to carpet bomb the front lines ahead of them. well because of the weather patterns in normandy, the weather was just simply too bad in the american sector to launch this fighting. the americans aren't going to be in a position to push until july 249 and that's several days after the goodwood offensive. this is coming piece meal and allow the germans to react. july 24th, 1944, bradley will launch what's called operation cobra. he's coordinated with the 8th air force back in england to basically bomb in front of his lines to saturate the gear ran lines primarily the panzer lair
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division. to create a path of destruction that the germans will not be able to stop approaching combined arms advance. basically three divisions with infantry mounted on tanks. like a mobile task force under general collins to exploit that hopeful breach in the german lines and then, you know, basically create a mobile campaign in normandy. well doesn't quite work out that way. coordination by bradley with the air commanders is not good. ridden with miscommunication. the air commanders had told bradley very clearly though he'll deny this later that they could not basically bomb ho horizontally to the line.
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if they do that they will run a gauntlet of anti-aircraft fire all along the german line plus take them forever, hours and hours and hours to do this. they said no we're going to come over vertically straight over the u.s. lines and drop our loads. yeah, right. this is, of course what happens. they come in from that direction. the drops are short. there's loss of life on the u.s. side. ground commanders demonstrated great frustration during the run up to cobra because they took hard won ground and from above they said no you got give up that ground and withdraw 1,000 or 2,000 yards the air force will bomb ahead of you. the ground command says great i have to take that again. even with that they were still getting bombed by their own air force with dozens of lives lost on july 24th. so bradley has t


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