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tv   Reel America Army in Action - The Tide Turns - 1965  CSPAN  May 11, 2020 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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and those others with whom we have the common goal of the preservation of liberty and freedom. >> with the coming of spring, 1944, the winter stalemate in italy was broken. our forces slowly resumed fighting their way up the west coast of the italian boot toward rome. against bitter german opposition.
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>> the british advanced up the east coast in the face of equally bitter opposition. >> in the pacific, troops of the first cavalry division landed on the islands in the admiralty group to wipe out all japanese resistance and complete occupation of the entire group of islands.
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>> we landed large forces on the north coast of new guinea. general stillwell and his troops were fighting the japanese in bur burma. >> this was global warfare on a scale never known before. >> less than three years before,
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hitler had made an address. >> germany, italy and japan will wage common war on the united states to a victorious conclusion. >> in rome his fascist partner had declared -- >> italy and national socialist germany ever closely linked participate from today on the side of heroic japan against the united states. >> a japanese militaryist joined the derisive chorus. >> americans have radios, automobiles, big beefsteaks when a people has those things they don't want to fight. americans won't sleep in hammocks or lie in trenches. they are like a tiger whose stomach is full. they are sleepily. >> the american is no soldier.
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>> the american no soldier? and yet there he was carrying the fight to the boastful aggressive. >> the self-acclaimed superman was learning to his bitter surprise and sorrow the fighting qualities of the american soldier. it seems the aggressors had made a slight miscalculation.
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in italy, our forces pushed on through rain and mud, over mountains, across rivers toward rome.
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>> our power drive up the italian boot forced the enemy to divert 30 of his divisions from france and the low country, weakening divisions along the coast, where our invasion of france was soon to come. we now had an army numbering millions of soldiers. we now had 150,000 armored vehicles as compared to the 29 tanks the army had in 1940. 400,000 artillery pieces were now engaged in the war effort compared to the 285 available in 1940.
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from a 1940 production capacity of 117 aircraft a month, we were now producing 9,000 planes of all types a month, a plane every five minutes, 12 an hour. here now was an air arm of 150,000 planes supporting the coordinated allied effort to wipe out enemy industry, supply routes, and communication facilities. >> the american tiger grown sleepy on a full stomach, or so the japanese had thought, was now fully awake, lean and fighting in the jungles.
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>> on the 4th of june, 1944, our fifth army captured rome. it was a military victory, yes. but its psychological effect carried the greater impact throughout the world. for it was the first axis capital to fall into our hands bringing consternation and foreboding to our enemy and a fresh heart and rejoicing to the free world and its fighting forces. >> in england, after months of planning and preparation, it was d-day minus two.
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general eisenhower was about to unleash the most massive amphibious invasion in history. during the big build up england had become a vast staging area for troops and the material of war. thousands of vehicles and ready to be assembled combat-type aircraft. 20,000 railroad cars and 1,000 locomotives. 20 million square feet of covered storage and shop space. 44 million square feet of open storage space to hold a growing volume of supplies, wire, tires, bombs, shells and other explosive devices. awaiting invasion fort embarkation were thousands of
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trucks and support vehicles. row upon row of tanks. and a wide range of artillery weapons. 170 miles of new railroad had been constructed to haul more than 2 million tons of supplies and combat hardware to the invasion force. the united states army had constructed 163 airfields in england for the allied planes that were systematically bombing germany day and night.
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>> the invasion directive issued by the combined chiefs of staff was concise. general eisenhower had his orders. >> you will enter the continent of europe and in conjunction with the other allied nations undertake operations aimed at the heart of germany and the destruction of her armed forces. >> another american general was to have a central role in complying with that monumental order, general bradley, field commander of american forces. d-day minus one. invasion forces began embarking in england, destination normandy. involved in this massive amphibious invasion were some 3
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million soldiers, sailors and airmen. 4,000 ships and boats. 20,000 vehicles of all types, and an endless list of combat support weapons. >> operation overload, the code name for the invasion, was close at hand. now as d-day and h-hour approached, the final logistical operation was under way.
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>> in the darkness before dawn on june 6, 1944, the great invasion began to unfold. 17,000 men of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions with over 200 million pounds of supplies were air lifted to drop zones behind the invasion beaches where they were dropped to secure key roads and other strategic objectives. the invasion armada, the largest ever assembled was now in position off the coast of france. while our assault forces prepared for h-hour, allied naval power began their
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concentrated shore bombardment. >> this was amphibious warfare on a scale that staggered the imagination. nothing like it had ever been seen.
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>> at omaha beach in the first assault, 30,000 american troops stormed ashore. british and canadian forces struck at three different beach sectors. at utah beach, 20,000 american troops were landed. by the end of the first day our invasion force ashore totalled 120,000 men. with every passing hour, with each passing day, reinforcements
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streamed ashore to enlarge the beachhead with tanks, trucks, ammunition and supplies.
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>> hundreds of our attack bombers and fighters were now over europe carrying payloads of destruction aimed at the vital centers of hitler's fortress europe. >> flying fortresses in heavy formations cascaded 3,500 tons of explosive, a ton every second, upon nazi-held positions. >> our mass bomber formations were now given a canopy of protective air support by p-38
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light nicning lightnings, together they fought off enemy air attacks. >> as the roar of engines and concussion of the bombs were still ringing in the ears of a dazed and battered enemy our
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ground artillery opened up. our tanks and infantry rolled forward, driving west to isolate threats and other ports on the peninsula. other elements pushed south. and east toward paris. >> what was left of ten german divisions was mopped up by the very men they were told were not soldiers and would not fight.
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again, the aggressor had made a slight miscalculation. . northwestern france, the united states seventh army combat harden veterans of the fighting in italy hit the beaches in southern france on the morning of august 15th. >> during that day, 50,000 men and their equipment were landed.
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the american's sixth army core pushed north along the roanne river valley. and other troops moved eastward toward the italian border. the drive into the heart of france was deeper now. the third army angled towards points just east and south of paris. the first army flanking the third. the seventh now was moving up swiftly from the south. ten days after the landings in southern france, paris was liberated after four years of nazi occupation.
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the liberation of paris like the liberation of rome less than three months before was a cause of psychological adjusting and was the effect throughout the free world. among our troops were some whose fathers followed the same flag down the same avenue a quarter century before, celebrating another victory which they, too, had won in the best traditions of the american fighting man and who had come there not for conquest but to liberate.
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the men knew it was one more important milestone along the road to victory. allied armies held bridge heads fall along the line of the same. in the south of france, they captured tulan and marce. the first american army pushed across the bored near belgium and grove on. the third took their done.
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the third having crossed the muse river reached the mozel. now the allied front ran on the line all the way from the swiss border to the north sea. seventh army patrols coming up from the south met patrols from the third army. the two armies were now linked up for the coordinated offensive to come. retreat for nazi forces caught on the wrong side of the line was cut off.
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we wounded up our share of prisoners. the desperate plight of hitler's armies became more apparent as the legions of a once mighty destructive force found themselves dpeet themselves defeated by an army they were told would never last on the soil of the third right, longer than nine hours. in the 97th day since the fifth corps led the assault, it had come 500 miles and drove across the german bored eastern stood on the soil of hitler's germany.
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who was it that once said the american was no soldier? >> in world war i, the american soldier proved his fighting qualities as he always has and always will. he stands second to none and his leadership is second to none. from private to general, he is the product of a free society conceived in liberty. he even has the power through his right to vote in free
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elections to choose i had own commander in chief. he has a voice in making the laws which govern him. he has a precious heritage to defend, much to fight for when he must fight, to defend his good way of life. he prefers the arts of peace as all men of good will do. yet, he knows how to practice the arts of war:. in some of the scenes filmed in the actual historic events which have been documented in this series, you have seen the reaction to the american soldier by newly liberated peoples in north africa, italy, and france. to them he was and still is a living symbol of freedom for he came to their lands giving of himself. not for conquest, but to
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liberate, to defeat and destroy a ruthless aggressor. or we might well say the aggressor who like evil throughout history lives on and has been known by many names. the aggressor. who would dictate an impose his will upon those he would conquer and enslave. and not the least among those who stand opposed to him is the american soldier. he knows the price of freedom is eternal vigilence. >> there is an ancient saying
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that all roads lead to rome. if that is true, the united states army had taken the longest and toughest road. arriving on the fourth of june, 1944, two years and six months after pearl harbor america's entrance into the war. two days after general mark prats's fifth army captured the eternal city, dwight d. eisenhower's envision forces hit the normandie beaches in a massive am amphibious assault. despite bitter german resistance, we built up an enormous beachhead and finally broke through. our seventh army


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