amphibious assault

May

8

1944

21st Panzer Division prepares for war in Normandy


8 May 1944: 21st Panzer Division prepares for war in Normandy

In addition, minefields were laid wherever airborne landings might be expected. We were somewhat concerned that the civilian population could move about freely. We even had to leave passages open in the minefields, so that the peasants could go about their business. Evacuation was not considered. Why should it be? We didn’t know, after all, where a landing might take place.

Apr

28

1944

Disaster as US ‘D-Day rehearsal’ is ambushed


28 April 1944: Disaster as US ‘D-Day rehearsal’ is ambushed

As the day closed, I was in Ike’s office when Beetle phoned on the intercommunication system to say that by E-boat action last night, we had two LSTs sunk and one damaged in the exercise. This happened off Lyme Bay—just where we had been. Casualties are estimated at 300 to 400. Beetle said this reduces our reserve of LSTs for the big show to zero.

Mar

2

1944

German propaganda seeks to divide the Allies


2 March 1944: German propaganda seeks to divide the Allies

The ‘accomplishments’ of this American leadership are indeed typically American: operations were insufficiently prepared and led to the most dreadful reverses for your troops. Your picked units were carelessly thrown into the battle. CERTAINLY, THE YANKS PLAYED YOU A NASTY TURN.

Feb

3

1944

Mopping up the last Japanese on Kwajalein


3 February 1944: Mopping up the last Japanese on Kwajalein

tank was way out in front of all the others, too far out front. About ten Japs ran out of a blockhouse and surrounded it, throwing hand grenades at it. The tank would have been done for except that another tank a good way behind could see what was going on through a break in the trees and wiped out the Japs with light machine gun fire.

Jan

31

1944

Operation Overlord is put back by a month


31 January 1944: Operation Overlord is put back by a month

promise of a month’s delay came as good news to the airmen, for the additional weeks would enable us to soften the enemy still more by bombing. Even the far-off Russians welcomed the change in plan. By June, spring thaws on the Eastern front would have dried sufficiently to permit resumption of the Red Army offensive.

Jan

25

1944

The Germans begin to contain the Anzio beach head


25 January 1944: The Germans begin to contain the Anzio beach head

My Colonel returned with the tale that he had stood at the front surveying the terrain; all was quiet and the Alban Hills beckoned and it seemed he could have taken his walking stick and strolled towards them. It seemed that nothing in the world could stop a quick advance to seize the Alban Hills at a small price and that our objective would be achieved and consolidated. Everyone was geared up for the big race.

Jan

2

1944

US Marines at Cape Gloucester are dive bombed

2 January 1944: US Marines at
Cape Gloucester are dive bombed

Navar and I had been a little way from the gun position when we got the condition: “RED”. Our radar had picked up some incoming dive-bombers. You could always tell the Japanese bombers as they had a different sound to their engines and we ran over to our gun section. Everyone was in the slit trench and Navar and I couldn’t get in for lack of space. The bombs were starting to fall very close.

Dec

29

1943

The smell of death in the paradise of Bougainville


29th December 1943: US Marines face smell of death in the paradise of Bougainville

I always hated the feeling that we were destroying something really beautiful. Sometimes, when I was resting, I’d see monkeys come down from the trees. We men would feed them. During quiet periods, I often thought about those wonderful animals and flowers and wondered how they were going to survive the war. As a Navajo, I’d been taught to respect the earth, and the devastation made me feel sick.

Nov

22

1943

Tarawa – the fight for ‘Bonnyman’s Hill’


22nd November 1943: Tarawa – the fight for ‘Bonnyman’s Hill’

Withdrawing only to replenish his ammunition, he led his men in a renewed assault, fearlessly exposing himself to the merciless slash of hostile fire as he stormed the formidable bastion, directed the placement of demolition charges in both entrances and seized the top of the bombproof position, flushing more than 100 of the enemy who were instantly cut down, and effecting the annihilation of approximately 150 troops inside the emplacement.

Nov

21

1943

The second desperate day on Tarawa


21st November 1943: The second day on ‘Bloody Tarawa’

0600: One of the fresh battalions is coming in. Its Higgins boats are being hit before they pass the old hulk of a freighter seven hundred yards from shore. One boat blows up, then another. The survivors start swimming for shore, but machine-gun bullets dot the water all around them. Back of us the Marines have started an offensive to clean out the jap machine guns which are now firing at our men in the water.They evidently do not have much success, because there is no diminution of the fire that rips into the two dozen or more Higgins boats.