Wednesday, June 6, 2012
D - DAY AT 68
Today June 06, 2012 is the 68th. Anniversary of the D -Day Landings.
While we see images which are usually of the same small stretch of beach the Landings involved 160,000 troops along 50 miles of French coastline. The entire coast was heavily defended by German troops however they were not necessarily the best quality except for key areas. That is what the German High Command considered "key areas" in fact they got it wrong.
However whether the defending troops are the best or mediocre firing heavy weapons at exposed troops on an open beach is going to be horrific for the attacking troops - it was. It was touch and go for most of the first wave and the first half of the day and only the extraordinary effort by the "Greatest Generation" won the day and established the beachhead.
At that time June 06, 1944 NAUTICAL LOG was eight years old and remembers the concern of ones parents for relatives and friends. Finally we heard the words of General Eisenhower on the radio announcing that the Normandy Landings had been successful and Allied troops were advancing into the German held French countryside.
Today most of the Greatest Generation have passed on or are very elderly but it would be very unwise to regard what they accomplished at Normandy and elsewhere as ancient history. We are seeing first hand how Europe can find itself at loggerheads in spite of the efforts of the Marshall Plan, Ehrhard Recovery Programme, leading to the European Union with its Eurozone.
Now once again things are falling apart in Europe with one way or another Germany being the leading Nation in the latest confusion. It would be extremely unwise to sit back and think that National Socialism is long gone for in fact it lies just below the surface in many European countries and the conditions for its reemergence are not too different from those existing in Germany in the 1920's.
The saying about he who ignores history gets to relive it is all too true. Here in the United States we do not currently have an Administration that is particularly well tuned to facts of history, does not appear to be very knowledgeable and lives in a vacuum of its own importance. A most dangerous situation for the World.
There remain some 600 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia. They face mutilation and death each and every day, no D - Day rescue for them is even planned.