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Thread: D-Day

  1. #16
    my neighbours brother was there, lost friends before they hit shore. He wrote a 50 page book of it and I borrowed it from the neighbour, read it and and scanned it into the computer.

    He was sniper. There was a sense of calm about that man. Never knew what to say to him, we talked about everything else. Special family they are all of them. He said it was a different time. He survived that and also one day landing his cessna on his farm, flipped and crashed. I think he lived to 94.

  2. #17
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    Warren, my father and his 2 brothers served overseas, they never spoke of what they had done or witnessed.

    My friends parents were the same, never spoke of their experiences.

    When I was young my father and I were walking to the cenotaph for Remembrance Day and I lost my poppy and was crying so my father gave me his. Then I was worried that people would think he had forgotten about the war. I smile when I think of that now, how could he ever have forgotten the worst 5 years of his life?

    Both my parents were adults during the Great Depression, then Dad went overseas for WWII, the worst 15 consecutive years of the twentieth century and they never once complained about any of it. That generation did what was expected of them and didn't think it was unusual, or worth any praise, you did what was required.

    Their lives were so much different than mine........Rod.

  3. #18
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    My uncle Henry served in Europe in WWII and was wounded by shrapnel from an 88. He was in the signal corps and was running comm wire for telephones between units when he was hit.

    After I came back from Vietnam he started talking with me about his experiences. A lot were typical funny army experiences - not all were about his front line activity. He was a great guy - I miss him a lot (he passed away more than ten years ago).

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-07-2021 at 11:40 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #19
    as cher said "if I could turn back time" I would have asked Jim but I was a bit afraid of what was right, we always talked life stuff. When I was a kid I visited my grandparents in London Ont. My grandfather told me in the war they had no food so they ate flies. There was always a glint in his eye so wasnt sure. I was too young to realize I should have asked him 1000 questions about his life, 16 year old kid on a motorcycle. I asked my mom questions in the last years and she didnt know. All we knew was he was a tank mechanic and I have a photo of his regiment in the living room. What they went through and many is tough to a level I cant relate to.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    Warren, my father and his 2 brothers served overseas, they never spoke of what they had done or witnessed.

    My friends parents were the same, never spoke of their experiences.

    When I was young my father and I were walking to the cenotaph for Remembrance Day and I lost my poppy and was crying so my father gave me his. Then I was worried that people would think he had forgotten about the war. I smile when I think of that now, how could he ever have forgotten the worst 5 years of his life?

    Both my parents were adults during the Great Depression, then Dad went overseas for WWII, the worst 15 consecutive years of the twentieth century and they never once complained about any of it. That generation did what was expected of them and didn't think it was unusual, or worth any praise, you did what was required.

    Their lives were so much different than mine........Rod.
    Where i grew up there were many WW2 vets and many who survived the brutality of japanes capture in hong kong, and may who were POW's of the Germans. No one really spoke about these experiences...its a way to deal with the horrific memories.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    as cher said "if I could turn back time" I would have asked Jim but I was a bit afraid of what was right, we always talked life stuff. When I was a kid I visited my grandparents in London Ont. My grandfather told me in the war they had no food so they ate flies. There was always a glint in his eye so wasnt sure. I was too young to realize I should have asked him 1000 questions about his life, 16 year old kid on a motorcycle. I asked my mom questions in the last years and she didnt know. All we knew was he was a tank mechanic and I have a photo of his regiment in the living room. What they went through and many is tough to a level I cant relate to.
    I'm disappointed that none of my relatives ever asked me about my time in the Army and in Vietnam. I had easy duty in Vietnam but there are a lot of stories there. If nothing else, it's a window into another place and time.

    None of my younger relatives served in the Military so I think there's no frame of reference for them to understand what life was like there. The veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan probably encounter the same thing. There are so few of them - compared to the total population - and the general population didn't pay a lot of attention to the war there. I'm sure they find very few people interested in hearing about their service there.

    Remember that over 80% of the people in the military do not serve on the front lines in a war - they're in support activities. But when you're in a war zone there are so many experiences and events that are interesting. Some are funny, some ridiculous, some make you angry because of stupidity you encounter. I wish I had kept a journal - so many memories are lost to time.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #22
    Mike, they might just be following some protocol from magazine articles. You might find that a few stories would be appreciated and bring
    questions, and comments like how they worried about you. I think itís human nature to want to hear war stories , if the room is at a
    comfortable temperature and there are good snacks.

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    I'm disappointed that none of my relatives ever asked me about my time in the Army and in Vietnam. I had easy duty in Vietnam but there are a lot of stories there. If nothing else, it's a window into another place and time.

    None of my younger relatives served in the Military so I think there's no frame of reference for them to understand what life was like there. The veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan probably encounter the same thing. There are so few of them - compared to the total population - and the general population didn't pay a lot of attention to the war there. I'm sure they find very few people interested in hearing about their service there.

    Remember that over 80% of the people in the military do not serve on the front lines in a war - they're in support activities. But when you're in a war zone there are so many experiences and events that are interesting. Some are funny, some ridiculous, some make you angry because of stupidity you encounter. I wish I had kept a journal - so many memories are lost to time.

    Mike

    Mike, My life has been greatly influenced by WWII Veterans. Father, Uncle who never came back, 5 other Uncles and my Father in Law, who were in combat there along with many of my teachers. I always liked hearing their stories although they all carefully avoided the horrors and told interesting anectdotal stories.

    With that said, and choosing words carefully here, Vietnam Vets I know have a wide range of how they feel about talking about the war. Although interested, I tread lightly. I found your posts on the Vietnam Veterans Day thread very interesting and meant a lot more considering your service experience.

    Might not be too late to commit your thoughts to paper for those family members who haven't asked yet, at some point they may want to know.

    Ron
    Last edited by Ron Citerone; 06-07-2021 at 2:53 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #24
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    It's always interesting to hear of the experiences many soldiers had. My cousin who was much older was in WWII and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. Not serious enough to be sent home. Just spent a couple weeks behind the lines. After his recovery he was Patton's driver. My mother and father worked at Camp Ellis. A POW camp in the middle of the cornfields here in Illinois. I think it was in operation for about 3 years. There are still some structures remaining from it. I was not in the military but I respect and thank those of you who have or are serving.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Don't forget that we had allies in WWII. In Europe, it was the Soviet Union who defeated Germany, while in the Pacific, it was the Americans who defeated the Japanese.

    Mike

    [If we hadn't landed on D-Day, it's likely the Soviet Union would have swept through all of Germany and possibly France, since Germany occupied France.]
    This is something that I think is not widely known. By June of 1944 the outcome of the war on the Eastern Front was pretty well decided. There was still much bloody fighting but the Red Army was on the offensive and could not be stopped. What the Soviet Union went through 1941-1945 very much dictated what came after. Nobody really knows how many people the Soviet Union lost in that war but it was a lot, estimated at around 26 -27 million. The majority of those were civilian. The post war leadership resolved to never have that happen again. The occupied Eastern European countries were a buffer.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Don't forget that we had allies in WWII. In Europe, it was the Soviet Union who defeated Germany, while in the Pacific, it was the Americans who defeated the Japanese.

    Mike

    [If we hadn't landed on D-Day, it's likely the Soviet Union would have swept through all of Germany and possibly France, since Germany occupied France.]
    There's an interesting book called The Washington War, by James Lacey. In it, the author claims that as early as mid-1943:
    "Roosevelt was not naÔve, being among the first to realize that at the war’s end Russia’s writ would extend to wherever the Red Army’s advance ended. As such he was already dispensing with fantasies and giving himself over to realpolitik in a search for the best possible deal"
    .....and.....
    "Just as Roosevelt understood that Russian authority would run as far as the Red Army advanced, he knew that America’s power to influence the European postwar settlement rested on having a large American army deep within Europe. ... FDR now analyzed every plan and scheme through the prism of how they impacted the invasion of northern Europe, awakened to the fact that creating a working partnership with Stalin required that American troops meet the Red Army somewhere in Germany."
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 06-13-2021 at 1:59 PM. Reason: Added mid-1943
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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  12. #27
    here are the few first pages from whatJim wrote. At some point he was hit by scrapnel and knocked out and found unconcious. They wanted to take him to the hospital but he would not go as he would not get back with the same group of guys.

    Six pages of about 50 pages. Have some newspaper articles on him as well. He had photos and some interesting stories in there. Know it was detuned for most of us.

    img864.jpgimg865.jpgimg866.jpgimg867.jpgimg868.jpgimg869.jpg
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 06-13-2021 at 2:01 PM.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    Don't forget that we had allies in WWII. In Europe, it was the Soviet Union who defeated Germany, while in the Pacific, it was the Americans who defeated the Japanese.

    Mike

    [If we hadn't landed on D-Day, it's likely the Soviet Union would have swept through all of Germany and possibly France, since Germany occupied France.]
    Calling this a Soviet victory would seem to ignore Lend-lease and the impact of the Western front. Without American productivity the soviets push back with what supplies? Without a Western front it looks pretty grim for the Soviet’s.

    America supplied material, food and oil. The Soviet’s stood little chance of supplying their military after years of leadership purges resulting in failures in planning and the destruction of farm capacity with the push of collectivized farming which failed terribly combined with an intentional starvation of the farmers in the Ukraine. Meanwhile in the US we were able to overcome the depression and create so much surplus that we were able to provide incredible amounts of supplies to the Soviet’s, China, free France and the UK.

    An excerpt from Wikipedia:
    According to the Russian historian Boris Vadimovich Sokolov, Lend-Lease had a crucial role in winning the war:
    On the whole the following conclusion can be drawn: that without these Western shipments under Lend-Lease the Soviet Union not only would not have been able to win the Great Patriotic War, it would not have been able even to oppose the German invaders, since it could not itself produce sufficient quantities of arms and military equipment or adequate supplies of fuel and ammunition. The Soviet authorities were well aware of this dependency on Lend-Lease. Thus, Stalin told Harry Hopkins [FDR's emissary to Moscow in July 1941] that the U.S.S.R. could not match Germany's might as an occupier of Europe and its resources.[32]
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 06-14-2021 at 10:12 PM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  14. #29
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    Itís important to remember how significant the desert battle was also, blocking Rommel from gaining access to oil via the Suez Canal was a key factor in allied success. Without access to oil fromRommelís campaign which was defeated by Commonwealth and American troops, combined with the Soviet defense of the Caucasus is what began to cripple the Wehrmacht.

    These efforts were bolstered by allied air attacks of German production
    facilities performed by English and American bombers.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Calling this a Soviet victory would seem to ignore Lend-lease and the impact of the Western front. Without American productivity the soviets push back with what supplies? Without a Western front it looks pretty grim for the Soviet’s.

    America supplied material, food and oil. The Soviet’s stood little chance of supplying their military after years of leadership purges resulting in failures in planning and the destruction of farm capacity with the push of collectivized farming which failed terribly combined with an intentional starvation of the farmers in the Ukraine. Meanwhile in the US we were able to overcome the depression and create so much surplus that we were able to provide incredible amounts of supplies to the Soviet’s, China, free France and the UK.

    An excerpt from Wikipedia:
    According to the Russian historian Boris Vadimovich Sokolov, Lend-Lease had a crucial role in winning the war:
    On the whole the following conclusion can be drawn: that without these Western shipments under Lend-Lease the Soviet Union not only would not have been able to win the Great Patriotic War, it would not have been able even to oppose the German invaders, since it could not itself produce sufficient quantities of arms and military equipment or adequate supplies of fuel and ammunition. The Soviet authorities were well aware of this dependency on Lend-Lease. Thus, Stalin told Harry Hopkins [FDR's emissary to Moscow in July 1941] that the U.S.S.R. could not match Germany's might as an occupier of Europe and its resources.[32]
    There's no doubt that American supplies, especially of explosives, fuel, steel and aluminum, were very important to the Soviet victory over Germany. There's also no doubt that it was Soviet Union who did the fighting and dying to obtain that victory. The United States lost about 400,000 soldiers and civilians in WWII - on two fronts: Europe and the Pacific. Less than one half of 1% of our population.

    The Soviet Union lost about 25 million soldiers and civilians in that war - on what we would call today "The Eastern Front". About 13% of their population.

    I wonder what the response of the people in the US would have been if the US lost 13% of our population in that war. The Soviet Union was a dictatorship so they were able to continue the war (and the losses) without a political revolt.

    I'm no fan of the Soviet Union - or of Russia today - but we have to recognize the sacrifices made by them in order to achieve victory over Germany.

    Mike

    [By D-Day, the Soviets had pushed the German army back almost to the German border. The Germans had been retreating for at least a year and after Kursk (1943) the Germans never took the offensive again on the Eastern Front. It was clear by 1944 that the Soviet Union was going to push into Germany. Without D-Day, it's pretty clear they would have eventually swept through all of Germany. Once they would have captured Berlin, and captured or killed Hitler, the German army would probably have disintegrated. I'm going from memory here, but by 1944 the Soviet Union had about 11 million people under arms. The Germans had less than 2 million on the eastern front to oppose them.]

    Eastern_Front_1943-08_to_1944-12.jpg
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-15-2021 at 12:11 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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