Busy month…

During WWII…

June 3-6 1942 was the Battle of Midway in the Pacific, the first ‘win’ for the Americans against the Japanese… HERE is the Navy combat narratives from the battle.

Midway was also where the US lost the USS Yorktown, the second carrier lost (USS Lexington was lost at Coral Sea).

Two years later, Operation Neptune kicked off June 5, 1944 with the largest amphibious force ever assembled getting underway heading for the beaches of France, with the planned landings occuring on June 6th.

After General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander, he and General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery modified the plan, expanding the size of the beachhead and the number of divisions in the initial assault. This, led Allied leaders to set June 5, 1944, as the invasion’s D-Day. But on the morning of June 4, meteorologists predicted foul weather over the English Channel on the 5th, leading Eisenhower to postpone the attack for 24 hours. The delay was unnerving for soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but when meteorologists forecast a brief window of clearer weather over the channel on June 6, Eisenhower made the decision to go. It was one of the gutsiest decisions of the war. 

Detailed timeline and pics HERE from the National WWII Museum.

The folks that fought WWII were truly the Greatest Generation, IMHO.


Busy month… — 16 Comments

  1. A possibly crucial effect of the one day delay was that Rommel decided the bad weather would last and decided to visit his wife for her birthday. Thus, arguably Germany’s most effective general was absent on June 6th.

    • Possible, but there were these things called “telephones”, and if Rommel left his post without choosing a competent and properly-briefed subordinate in case something happened, then he probably isn’t the able Commander that so many make him out to be.

      I’m not his greatest fan. He made his reputation with aggression, not for his strategic understanding. His North-Africa campaign was entered into without regard to his known resource-limits, and much of his success relied on his enemy making a mistake that could be exploited. He didn’t do so well when his enemy declined to cooperate.

      There is an argument that a large part of his reputation amongst the Allies was because it is easier to blame your setbacks on an opposing “genius”, than to admit that you didn’t respurce your own troops properly.

      But that’s just the view from my armchair. 🙂

    • Not a “forgotten invasion beach”, but a subsidiary raid that would have been in no way comparable to the main invasion beaches.

      It was not designed to take and hold ground, only to destroy equipment before withdrawing.No troops landed over the beach, and no-one was killed or injured doing so. (Obviously) If there is an argument for adding “beaches”, then the assault on Pointe du Hoc is a far better candidate because troops actually landed, and held their position until relieved. But nobody tries to make this case because it is comprehensively dealt with by almost every historian of the American sector.

      As a reader of history, I consider this a classic example of an author misleading his audience in order to promote himself as knowing something that nobody else does. An interesting side-light into the planning and support-operations required to make the invasion succeed, but attempting to classify it with the main invasion beaches is clickbait only.

      Sorry to be a pedant…

      • It’s alright Peter, it’s good to have additional context to weigh information with. Thank you.

  2. Minor correction. Wasn’t Lexington lost first, at Coral Sea, and Yorktown damaged, patched up eneough to fight at Midway, and then lost?

  3. Yorktown wasn’t the first US carrier lost – the Lexington was lost earlier, in the Coral Sea .

  4. Hey Old NFO,

    Overlord was very important, don’t get me wrong, but to me it is overshadowing the battle of Midway, where the underdog U.S Navy broke the Aura of invincibility that the Japanese had built up from a string of successes from Pearl Harbor, from the Philippines Singapore, the Java Sea and other successes. The very Underdog Americans with 4 minutes and a couple of squadrons of Dauntlasses swung the balance of power in the Pacific that the Imperial Japanese navy never took the initiative again through the rest of the war.

  5. All- Thanks, and yes Ian and Jeff, you are correct. My bad… Bob- They were both important, for different reasons, and yes, Midway wasa close run thing!

  6. One critical part of WWII, especially in the Pacific, was the cooperation between the branches of the service (with exceptions – egos and all that) while the Japanese Navy and Japanese Army despised each other. Lucky for us they didn’t have a George Marshall.

  7. The “D-Day Patent” is US 2,341,866. The inventor is Andrew Jackson Higgins. You can view it (and even download a free copy) here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US2341866A/en?oq=us2341866

    The application was filed December 8th, 1941 – the very day after the Pearl Harbor attack. I can only imagine that man as an American ionvantor, saying “We are just NOT gonna put up with this sh_t,” and he devised a new kind of boat where the bow can flop down to become a ramp. There is a view slot in the ramp so a pilot can see a little bit of where he is going while raised; the ramp provides some cover for incoming fire and the slot allows for return fire.

    The patent was three years in prosecution (typical) and issued in Febrary of 1944 – only 4 months before these boats were used en masse in Normany.

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