February 20, 2021
The Speech That Inspired D-DayD-day, the name brings a chill even if your birth occurred many years after the fateful date of June 6, 1944. The largest amphibious invasion in military history deployed over 156,000 troops from America, Britain, and Canada to break Hitler’s hold on Europe. The historic mission took literally years of planning between the Allied forces and served as a vital component in retaking Western Europe from the Nazis.
In November of 1943, Hitler learned the Allied forces would attempt a large-scale attack along France’s northern coast. He charged Erwin Rommel with building an “Atlantic Wall” to repel Allied forces. The Atlantic Wall was made up of landmines, fortified bunkers, and barbed wire fences that ran over 2,400 miles. The landing troops of the Allied forces faced heavily entrenched German soldiers along with crashing waves and swirling currents. These are the events of D-day.
To thwart Hitler and storm the beaches of France, the Allied forces underwent accursed training exercises in preparation for D-day. As Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Hart Dyke recounted, “Like other units we had our toll of accidents, but to make the training more realistic, normal safety procedures had to be relaxed. This policy was well rewarded when we went into battle, as we were not then unduly perturbed by the noise and danger of war.” Corporal Chris Portway, of the 4th Dorsets of the 43rd Wessex Division, went as far as to say, “All those ghastly exercises that preceded Normandy were far more painful than the real thing.”