The prosecution of war is man's most fantastic endeavor. Sad, but true. One of the most significant days in the history of warfare took place 66 years ago, on 6/6/44. Nice numerology, I think. Operation Overlord has a history that is awesome, in the true meaning of the word. Imagine being the one individual giving the order.
This was before decisions like this were sanitized by committees, focus groups and politics. Ike could have said no, we wait. The terrible results were completely unpredictable. The enemy was, up to this moment, unbeatable. The size and scope of the operation was incomprehensible. Moving this much man and materiel with no more than adding machines, paper and pencil? It is hard to imagine the pacing, prioritizing and sequencing that had to occur without project management science. Such bold minds.
Imagine the boys from the cities and farms who had been plucked from teenage pursuits just a few months before as they made the long journey from England to the beaches. If you have ever been there, you can see the scene as these immensely wide, flat sandy shores become the battleground. The distance is enormous, and the defenses, still visible, seem insurmountable. None of the modern weapons we use today- just land the boat, run onto the beach. Mostly rifles against machine guns. Basic stuff. Daylight landing on a wide beach with a prepared veteran army in your face.
Where it wasn't wide beach, it was cliffs. The Point du Hoc is located between Utah and Omaha beach, and the site used today for memorial services. There is a very good museum there, and the nearby cemetery. I visited a couple of years ago, and recommend it to everyone. Perspective is what you get here.
It is no wonder we Brits, Canadians and Americans think this our finest hour, and expect respect these years later.