Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Reader’s comment: Remember the Paras’ sacrifice

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In response to Laura Perrins: Americans’ D-Day heroism still takes the breath away, therealguyfaux wrote:

I appreciate the nod to all soldiers, UK, Commonwealth, American and contingents from other nations, who participated in Operation Overlord.

Just a clarification – while many young men at Omaha and Utah DID sign up in the immediate aftermath of 7 December 1941, there was conscription even before then. And conscription continued, as the ranks needed to be replenished with a new cohort of 18-year-olds every year and those whose deferments had run out. I assure you, a goodly number of those on Omaha and Utah were draftees.

And unlike Omaha, where the Yanks faced hell on earth, Utah was ‘a day at the beach’, literally, for the landing Yanks – the beach was taken in short order. The overnight advance guard of Paratroops took the brunt of the casualties in that sector, inland from the water’s edge. The amphibious landing at Utah more resembled the Yanks’ experience in the Pacific, where they could land the troops with little (token?) resistance, because the Japanese would wait till enough had massed on the beach to where artillery fire from well-camo’d emplacements could achieve a high number of casualties. Obviously, the Yanks didn’t wait to be slaughtered on the beach and spread out (their landing at Utah was two ‘clicks’ off where it was supposed to be, anyhow), and were able to move inland somewhat, but THAT’s where they had to do the fighting, as the Paras, even though fighting heroically, had not achieved full success in their mission, at horrible cost to themselves.

Again, not to quibble, but let’s recall that on that June day in 1944, all gave some and some gave all, but let’s not forget who gave what.

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