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D-Day in Perspective

A sand sculpture created in May by an unknown artist on the D-Day invasion beaches of Normandy. (smallwarsjournal.com)

Today is June 6th. On this day seventy-five years ago in "Operation Overlord," combatants from 14 Allied nations launched the invasion to liberate Western Europe from Nazi occupation and oppression.

Most accounts and commemorations of any great historical event are presented in terms of the big names involved -- national leaders, field commanders, great generals -- the famous who forever get the credit. Likewise, it falls to the politically important of the present to congregate and speak on the deeds of the past, when none of them were there, and their acts and legacies in office do not warrant associating their names with the historical gravitas of the anniversary being remembered.

Here, we are purposefully omitting all those names of the famous, to allow the pivotal deeds of the anonymous to prevail.

It was on the backs and the blood of the anonymous dogface and Tommie that the outcome of this day at Normandy was determined, seventy-five years ago.

That is fitting. It was on the backs and the blood of the anonymous dogface and Tommie that the outcome of this day at Normandy was determined, seventy-five years ago. And as we reach this anniversary and honor those still living from that distant day -- all of whom are now in their nineties -- none of the big names of their time survive among them, anyway.

So let the usual history books enshrine the commanders. The task for us, ever so briefly, is to turn our attention to a look back at what happened to, and was due to, the ordinary soldier. In that, let us recognize some measure of the indispensably essential deeds of all those deemed expendable, upon whom everything depended then, as it must now.

It is June 6th, 1944. The weather in the English Channel had been impossibly awful. Top German commanders, told the heavy rains and nine-foot waves would continue, were attending a war games conference. Allied commanders -- whose ships in the Atlantic and secret pioneering mechanical tidal-prediction computer combined to give them a forecast of acceptable conditions -- gambled the weather would let them land, and surprise their adversaries into disbelief.

One soldier wrote in his diary, "I know somebody has to die. If it's me, that's okay. If it's not me, please let me go home without being maimed."

Thus, D-Day began just after midnight, with French Resistance fighters severing communications lines and perpetrating acts of sabotage on the German war machine.

Their ripcords attached to a static line, American paratroopers are ready to jump from their C-47 on D-Day. (US Army Air Force collection)

Simultaneously, American, British, Polish, Greek, and French paratroopers jumped into the darkness from their C-47 "Dakota" transport planes, while their fellow airborne troops descended in whooshing near-silence aboard cloth-winged "Horsa" gliders in the skies over France. Altogether, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders delivered the airborne troops. More than 12,000 armed and unarmed Allied planes wore the black-and-white bands of "invasion stripes" and supported D-Day in some way. Plus, three-foot dummy "paratroops" were also dropped that night as diversions, to spread confusion. (Today, a flight of 38 restored C-47s are dropping parachutists into Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary. That includes veterans of the event, now in their 90s, making tandem jumps.)

Restored C-47 "Dakotas" back in black & white "invasion stripes" as applied to all Allied aircraft for easy identification on June 6th. 38 C-47s have returned to France for the 75th commemoration, many to drop parachuting re-enactors. (theaviationist.com)

At dawn on June 6th, 1944, the largest seaborne armada the world has ever seen -- 6,939 ocean-going ships and landing vessels -- delivered 156,115 American, Canadian, and British assault troops onto the Normandy beaches.

Routes to all five invasion beaches went through the German minefield of two million sea mines. Oceanic "lanes" had been secretly cleared during the night by the crews of wooden-hulled minesweeper ships. Now the huge guns of warships, in an effort to reduce the German fortifications of "Fortress Europe," fired over the heads of seasick troops. Packed into their bobbing landing craft, inbound to the beaches, death splashed all around them in plumes of sea water and explosions from the defender's artillery shells.

A landing craft bearing U.S. Army infantry approaches Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Statistically, if you were in one of the first "waves" of the attack, your chances of survival were very poor. Original image has been colorized. (Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Those landing on the beaches arrived seasick and landed amidst the carnage of hundreds of disabled landing craft. They landed along 50 miles of seacoast defended by 50,000 German troops. Landings were made onto five heavily fortified, fiercely defended beaches, code-named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Routes to the five invasion beaches. Click to enlarge. (inews.co.uk/news/uk/d-day-beaches-map-normandy-landings-75th-anniversary-omaha-utah-gold-juno-sword-point-du-hoc)

On "Bloody Omaha" and neighboring Pointe du Hoc, in the unavoidable center, they faced cliffs that had to be climbed, under heavy fire, to eliminate German artillery that could fire down on all the beaches. Only two of the 29 amphibious tanks slated for Omaha made it to shore to aid the troops. Twenty-four were swamped by waves and sank, most taking their crews with them.

One young American sailor, in charge of lowering the ramp at the front of his landing craft, saw every one of the troops on board gunned down before they could get ashore. It would haunt young Frank DeVita the rest of his life.

Heavy losses characterized Omaha. But at Utah, the other American beach, a strong tide had inadvertently delivered the first wave a mile off target -- to a beach less fortified by the defenders. At Utah, fourteen Comanche “code-talkers” relayed critical tactical messages in their Native American tongue over the radios.

American assault troops approach Utah Beach. (AFP/Getty Images)

On Juno, the sole Canadian beach, the initial casualty rate rivaled Omaha at a horrifying 50 percent. It seemed crazy to the Americans that the Canadian troops landed with bicycles. In the end the Canadians moving inland off Juno captured more towns and territory than any other battalions on D-Day.

Canadian soldiers, complete with their bicyclesdisembark at Juno Beach on D-Day. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

On the British beaches, Gold and Sword, troops were supported by innovative tank-mounted machinery that collectively earned them the moniker, "Funnies." The Americans had been offered, and refused, the same devices, which were effective in detonating mines, clearing barbed wire, and taking ground faster, thereby saving lives.

British troops take positions on Sword beach after landing. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Randomness determined who lived and who died. Perhaps accepting that is what sustains the adage oft spoken by veterans, "The heroes are the ones who didn't come back." Still, whether you lived might be due to some minor random choice of movement, some seemingly trivial thing that had nothing to do with your training. It wasn't necessarily what you did or what someone did who was near you. Survivors would ponder such things for the rest of their lives.

US Army troops wade ashore at Omaha Beach, under fire from the high ground. (National Archives/ AFP/Getty Images)

All the Allied troops attempting to land anywhere on June 6th faced murderous fire from the world's most accurate machine guns and unreachable artillery planted in massive concrete bunkers. Though in a singular example, the cruiser HMS Ajax, from miles at sea, sent a shell into the tiny observation port of a concrete bunker,something author Jesse Greenspan likens "to the military equivalent of a hole-in-one."

Machine guns atop the cliffs at Omaha Beach, as envisioned for "The Longest Day." The ferocity of combat made it impossible to photograph the reality on June 6th.

The beach fortifications' deadly fields of fire had all been predetermined by the German gunners who manned them. That wasn't all. Those landing faced four million antipersonnel, antitank, and antiship mines buried in the gravelly sand and rocks or attached to beach obstacles, placed to prevent landing craft -- and people -- from reaching the shore.

The Germans nearly prevailed. Total Allied losses on June 6th at Normandy were at least 4,413 killed, and total Allied deaths in the ensuing Battle of Normandy, which lasted until August, topped 226,000.

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Anyone helping the wounded was an especially vulnerable target. Waverly B. Woodson, Jr., a black medic with the lone African-American combat unit to fight on D-Day, treated over 200 wounded assault troops despite being gravely wounded during the opening moments. Landing with a barrage balloon company on Utah beach, Woodson "managed to set up a medical aid station and for the next 30 hours occupied himself removing bullets, dispensing blood plasma, cleaning wounds, resetting broken bones, and at one point amputating a foot. He also saved four men from drowning, reportedly pulling them from the waves and administering CPR after their guide rope broke on the way ashore," wrote author Jesse Greenspan in a new story published June 4.

(On that point, let's get rid of the word "injured" when someone's body is torn asunder by bullets or shrapnel. It's "wounded," not injured. Injured is when you fall off a ladder, not when somebody shoots you.)

Above right, Waverly Woodson, Jr. He served as a medic on Omaha Beach. Hailed as a hero by newspapers after D-Day in 1944, a question remains: did his race cost him the Medal of Honor? Two images courtesy of the Woodson family.

After decades, more stories of extraordinary acts by ordinary soldiers continue to emerge, or re-emerge. But most stories are lost forever as veterans die.

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Woodson seems to have been administratively denied the Congressional Medal of Honor at the time; in 1994, a study commissioned by the U.S. Army concluded that racism was to blame for the military’s failure to honor soldiers of color during World War II. (Indeed, Woodson's white commander, an early and very vocal proponent for a racially-integrated military, had advocated for Woodson's medal. But that general's constant championing of black troops may have worked against Woodson's recognition.)

There have been hundreds of books documenting every major aspect, and research by historians continues to add more.

About two dozen movies
have sought to tell the story with varying degrees of accuracy."The Longest Day" (1962) is the best at documenting the strategies and key decision makers, on both sides, and ultimately, the randomness of what happens to war plans and soldiers once combat begins.The multipart HBO production "Band of Brothers" tells the story of airborne troops who jumped into Normandy, from their training in Georgia through the end of the war.

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"Saving Private Ryan" (1998) does not address the full scope of D-Day, but it lets you feel the randomness and terrifying helplessness of the murderous fire faced by those who made the landings on the beaches. (TV screening times of both films appear below.)

It's time to make an emphatic statement, then challenge it.

There are only a few specific days in history that changed everything. June 6, 1944, is one of them. It opened the Western Front that finally overtaxed all that the Germans could make, or extract from slave labor, or steal from occupied countries or the bank accounts and possessions of those they imprisoned and murdered.

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Still -- and importantly -- it would be a mistake to say that the invasion of Normandy was everything. It wasn't. But it did, at last, seal the fate of a Nazi empire bent on world domination. A great deal of sacrifice preceded D-Day and more would be required -- on all of the many fronts of the most terrible war that ever was.

England had stood alone since 1940, when continental Europe had fallen to German troops and tanks. Had the resolve of the British Bulldog not survived the aerial blitz, there would have been no place from which a D-Day eventually could have been launched. After America's entry following Pearl Harbor, the Germans were driven out of North Africa and their threat of seizing the Suez Canal and reaching Middle East oil was thwarted.

Great fleets of relentless Allied aerial bombers had caused the German Luftwaffe, little by little, to retreat from the borders of its conquered, occupied empire. Though the German fighter planes were needed to stop the bombers, it became necessary for their diminishing numbers to pull back, protecting only the airspace over German home cities and war industries.

The B-17 was the most important strategic bomber in the European war. It was diverted from bombing German factories and cities to attack German troops in support of D-Day. (Photo from Business Insider)

Replacing losses and increasing the mechanized armada were the domain of anonymous civilian workers. Production of warplanes in Germany was being destroyed by bombs. Production of warplanes in America, unharrassed by enemy action, except lurking U-Boats, continuously set records.

Suffering near total losses for the first year, the Americans bombed from icy high altitudes by day, flying four-engine B-17 and B-24 bombers that were blown apart by German 88-mm antiaircraft artillery and shot from the skies by squadrons of experienced ace pilots of Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf fighters. The British RAF bombed in greater safety but with far less accuracy at night, using four-engine Lancaster bombers and two-engine plywood Mosquito aircraft.

Eventually, Soviet air power would become capable beyond the immediacy of supporting the ground battle at hand, and attacks would mount from the air in the East.

Together, the strategic bomber forces slowly destroyed Germany's ability to make the tools and machines and munitions of war. They blasted the railroads that kept German forces supplied, and rendered German airfields useless.

It is fitting that D-Day opened with aerial actions, after the battle for control of the skies had been such an open question. But the bulk of the attack would necessarily come ashore from the sea.

Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riviter" cover for the Saturday Evening Post magazine is a WW II icon.

Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riviter" cover for the Saturday Evening Post magazine is a WW II icon.

Workers on the Allied home front -- largely women, making real the image of "Rosie the Riviter" -- had built the planes and the ships to enable invasions of liberation, and kept the trains and locomotives maintained, delivering the goods to the ports, taking the war to the aggressors. At home in America, correspondents in Normandy made history's first live radio reports by news agencies -- CBS and Mutual Broadcasting -- from an offensive front.

On the Eastern front, in the uniform of America's distant ally, the Soviet Union, women were serving in combat on June 6th.

Normandy was certainly not the first major amphibious landing. The disaster of Gallipoli in the First World War made everyone wary of a mass landing of troops from the sea.

The Japanese had made amphibious landings, capturing Pacific islands to protect oceanic shipping routes as they expanded their empire. The US feared they would land in Hawai'i after Pearl Harbor. The US Marines had to quickly master amphibious landings to re-take some of those islands for air bases needed to bomb that same Japanese shipping.

In the European Theater of the war, the British and Americans had landed from the sea in North Africa and Sicily, en-route to Italy. Rome was taken by the Allies on June 4th, just two days before D-Day.

Though the fighting continued, on June 4, 1944, two days before D-Day, Allied forces liberated Rome and took control of Italy. (timetoast.com)

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Large-scale Allied amphibious landings on the Italian peninsula had produced a Mediterranean / Southern Front that took the Nazi's Italian "Axis" partners out of the war and opened shorter aerial bombing routes. Those avenues led to partial destruction of crucial German-held oil fields and their refineries in Ploesti, Romania, and also required German air defenses to cover another vast region of aerial approach to Germany.

But those amphibious landings in Italy and the Pacific had demonstrated the need for better landing craft to get the assault troops ashore. A war contractor in New Orleans provided the answer, modified from a shallow-draft bayou craft.

(Which is why the National D-Day Museum, which became the National World War II Museum, is in New Orleans. History is filled with little things that determine big outcomes. Look past history's big names and it's all up to the people who are involved at the right moment. Meaning all our tomorrows, whether given to peace or perpetual war, are up to us. Just as what anonymous people did 75 years ago to achieve the immediacy of their tomorrow gave us our today. It seems rather corny, but essential to contemplate.)

We've seen that a lot happened before D-Day, and a lot happened in addition to it. We've saved a critical element for last. Regardless of the mode of arrival, it would all come down to dislodging a heavily armed occupying force by fighting and winning on the ground.

The Eastern front in June, 1944. (historyimages.blogspot.com)

The Eastern front in June, 1944 (historyimages.blogspot.com)

No where was that more true than on June 6th on the Eastern front.

The Soviet's Red Army, now grown to a million men -- and women -- in uniform, was engaged in history's biggest land battle by June 6th, and between two of its biggest phases. They faced the necessity of driving the Germans back a thousand miles across the nations of Eastern Europe, through vast geographies that had fallen to Germany's expansive attack.

Nazi "Lebensraum," an 1890s imperialistic madness redeclared in "Mein Kampf," was about settling new territory in the East for an enlarged Germany by taking it from those who were already there -- Slavs and Jews -- who were to be exterminated. The genocidal arrogance of a master race philosophy had empowered justification for theft, murder, and empire.

But the mighty Germans were being beaten back, with horrific losses, from the gates of Russia's biggest cities -- including Moscow itself. By D-Day, the Russians had faced and were overcoming widespread starvation and the biggest death toll suffered by any nation in any war in history. Allied convoys to Russia's Arctic Ocean ports had been important. But mostly it was the seemingly impossible "pick-up-and-move" relocation of all needed Soviet industrial capacity to resource-rich regions east of the Ural Mountains and far removed from German reach.

The anonymous ordinary people of the Soviet Union, despite all they had faced -- including Stalin's murdering many of his own most capable citizens -- had saved their nation, and were, by hard fights, pushing the invaders back.

From D-Day onward, German soldiers captured in the West quickly painted a picture of hell on the Russian Front, facing the wrath of the Red Army, as a fate worse than death.

Today, the concept of the "Immortal Batallion" undertaken by families and descendants to honor their otherwise anonymous veterans each year on "'VE Day" has spread from Russia to every nation in Europe whose citizens helped to defeat Nazism. (Somehow, in the US, the "Immortal Batallion" has not caught on. Perhaps it is not allowed to interfere with the narrative of the military-industrial complex's investment in the generic homogenization of Memorial Day-Veterans Day to produce tacit support of a perpetual war agenda.)

So we have seen D-Day in context of all the conflict and struggle and dedicated effort that was happening around it, both in support of it and in spite of it. What meaning can we take from our journey? Simply and essentially, it is twofold, and now that we have considered all we have, it should no longer seem contradictory.

Massive resupply is underway on June 7, 1944, even as the invasion beaches remain vulnerable to German counterattack. (Time Life Pictures/National Archives)

Nothing should diminish the awe and respect accorded to veterans of D-Day in Normandy on June 6th, 1944. What they faced and overcame is a monumental achievement.

The Eastern front in June, 1944. (historyimages.blogspot.com)

Half a world from Normandy, a US Marine rests atop an unexploded shell from the pre-invasion battleship bombardment of Saipan in June, 1944. (wwiiletters.blogspot.com)

Neither should we delude ourselves about what other struggles and sacrifices were being made on that same day.

Together with what we have seen, we should remember US Marines and sailors in the Pacific; American merchant mariners running convoys and fighting U-Boats in the Atlantic; army infantrymen in Italy -- including previously interred Japanese American Nisei troops who would be awarded more medals than anyone else; the pioneering black American pilots of the "Red Tail" 332nd Fighter Group flying heavy bomber escort missions into Germany; our Russian allies along hundreds of miles of murderous combat zones in Belarus, Poland, the Ukraine and the Baltic States; and our Chinese and Korean and Vietnamese allies fighting skirmishing actions against the Imperial Japanese; because all of them were making a contribution to defeat fascist empires. All of them struggling and suffering, bleeding and dying, hanging on to sanity and humanity, all in the company of comrades who, like those at Normandy, were also making the ultimate sacrifice on that very same day.

And so, having inherited a legacy that doesn't quite reconcile with the reality of the world in which we too often feel powerless, what meaning can we find?

Was it all about fighting for unbridled corporate "freedom" to economically enslave us? (gcompion.wordpress.com)

As valid (and essential) as it is for us to accept the fact that today's perpetual wars are being sold to us to enrich the manipulators of the multitrillion dollar empires of petrocracy and warconomy-driven arms-sales; and for us to reject the notion that modern conflict has anything at all to do with actually "defending our country" -- we cannot allow two things to happen:

One, we cannot be drawn into worship of generically sanctified veteran sacrifices as a religious ritual where every conflict is created equal.

And two, we cannot permit our justified cynicism to blind us to June 6th, and to everything else it took to give us the opportunities we enjoy, these 75 years hence.

Liberation via amphibious invasion, or inundation by forces we cannot control? (fanpop.com)

Liberation via amphibious invasion,or inundation by forces wecannot control? (fanpop.com)

If "enjoy" is too much for you, then simply replace it with "have."

Because in this crazy, gerrymandered, voting-machine-tampered, bankster-dominated, oligarch-manipulated, psychologically-marketed, designer-labelled, toxically-partisan-politicized, corporate-media-agenda-spun, emphatically-reductionist, reactionarily-simplistic, reactively-offended, resurgently-racist, material-possession-obsessed, participation-trophied, addictive-device-on-the-hip-required-to-be-hip, universally-cyber-spied-upon, inescapably-tracked-for-predictive-analytics, tidal-surged, drought-ridden, acid-rained, bee-colony-collapsed, record-hurricaned, record-tornadoed, record-flooded, disaster-unprepared, overpopulated-beyond-carrying-capacities, growth-for-prosperity-delusional, on-the-verge-of-environmental-collapse, greenhouse-gassed, single-use-plastic-polluted, arctic-thawing-so-fast-scientists-are-losing-their-measuring-tools, pink-slime-extended-and-growth-hormone-injected-outgassing-cow, methane-outgassing-paleo-tundra, resource-depleted, mountaintop-removed, exploitive-extraction-poisoned, runoff-polluting, chemically-sterilized, agribusiness-controlled, government-subsidized-for-ethanol-production-instead-of-food, underpaid-privatized-and-overpriced, health-care-denied, cellular-signal-irradiated, nuclear-waste-delusional, ketchup-is-a-school-vegetable, rent-is-too-damn-high, rich-buy-protection-but-don't-pay-taxes, college-grads-routinely-trapped-by-loans-in-dehumanizing-jobs, pesticide-saturated-gmo-food, bloviating-politicians-bought-and-sold-by-campaign-cash -- plus more indignities, insults, and assaults on the believability of our cherished institutions and the biosphere's diminishing ability to sustain us -- we did inherit a world where we can DO something about it. 

We will do well to remember, as the day dawned on June 6th, 1944, there was no guarantee that anyone would live in a world where we could.

larry-wines-formal

Larry Wines

D-DAY ON TV

At 2 am Pacific time Wednesday night / Thursday morning, BBC World and CNN will feature live programming from the 75th anniversary commemorative ceremonies and events in France. Not only is this expected to be the last major participation by D-Day veterans -- who are all in their nineties -- it will feature some of those veterans re-enacting their parachute jumps while others land on the beaches once again, in honor of their departed comrades.
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In addition, today through Saturday, broadcast and cable/satellite channels are presenting a variety of documentaries and old movies about D-Day in Normandy in 1944.

Here's a complete list:

Wed, Jun 5, on TV:
9 pm-10 pm - "D-DAY: THE KING WHO FOOLED THE GERMANS" (2019) is a new documentary film positing the "scoop" that the most secret decoy in the D-Day deceptions was King George VI.
* On National Geographic channel.
* Also airs Sat, Jun 8, 9-10 pm, and Sat night/Sun morning, midnight-1 am.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
3 am-4:55 am - "EYE OF THE NEEDLE" (1981) ☆☆☆ is fiction about a British woman in love with a German spy, who she tries to prevent from getting plans for D-Day to his contacts. Stars Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan.
* On HD Movies channel.
* Reairs Friday, 8:35-10:30 am.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
4:30 am-6 am - "SCREAMING EAGLES" (1956) is a fictionalization of the 101st Airborne on D-Day, parachuting in to capture a bridge needed by the troops landing on the beaches. Stars Tom Tryon and Martin Milner.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
6 am-8 am - "BREAKTHROUGH" (1950) is a fictionalization of the push forward off the beaches into Normandy. Stars David Brian & Frank Lovejoy.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
7 am-9 am - "SURVIVING D-DAY" (2011) is a documentary examining how the 12-hour battle at Omaha Beach changed the course of WW II.
* On Discovery channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
8 am-9 am - "WORLD WAR II IN HD" (2009) airs its episode 4 (of 10), "BATTLE STATIONS," about the invasion of Normandy, and the campaign by the 8th Air Force to secure the airspace over the invasion beaches without tipping off the Germans that Normandy was the place.
* On the History channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
8 am-10 am - "FIGHTER SQUADRON" (1948) fictionalized account of an aerial unit opening the way for D-Day. Stars Edmond O'Brien and Robert Stack.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
9 am-10 am - "WORLD WAR II IN HD" (2009) airs its episode 5 (of 10), "DAY OF DAYS," about the invasion of Normandy and its aftermath, and the simultaneous Battle of Saipan in the Pacific.
* On the History channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
10 am-11 am - "COMBAT SHIPS" (2017) airs its season 1, ep 12, "D-DAY" about the ingenious variety of vessels required to execute the landings at Normandy.
* On Smithsonian channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
10 am-noon - "D-DAY: THE UNTOLD STORIES" is a new 2019 documentary marking the 75th anniversary with accounts of survivors.
* On the History channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
10 am-12:15 pm - "36 HOURS" (1964) ☆☆☆ is good fiction about Nazi doctors and espionage agents trying to trick a captured US Army intelligence officer into revealing the plans for D-Day. Stars James Garner and Rod Taylor.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
1 pm-2 pm - "AMERICA'S SECRET D-DAY" (2014) is the story of Exercise Tiger, a live-fire rehearsal for D-Day that ended in tragedy.
* On Smithsonian channel.
* Reairs Friday, 4-5 am, and Saturday, 2-3 am.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
2 pm-3 pm - " THE WEAPON HUNTER" (2017) airs its season 2 ep 6, "D-DAY DETONATOR," examining the four key elements that made D-Day one of history's greatest battles.
* On Smithsonian channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
5 pm-8:15 pm - "THE LONGEST DAY" (1962) ☆☆☆☆ is one of the most outstanding war movies ever made. Inserting some fictionalized characters, it accurately tells the story of D-Day from both sides. Every prominent male actor in Hollywood and England is in this one.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
6 pm-7 pm - "DRAIN THE OCEANS" airs the 2018 episode, "SECRETS OF D-DAY" examining wrecked ships on the seafloor off the Normandy coast.
* On National Geographic channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
7 pm-8 pm - "EYEWITNESS: D-DAY" is a new 2019 documentary based on interviews and accounts with surviving veterans.
* On National Geographic channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
7 pm-11 pm - " SAVING PRIVATE RYAN" (1998) ☆☆☆☆ Steven Spielberg won the Best Director Oscar for this stunning historical fiction about a squad of US Army soldiers who endure D-Day and are sent to rescue a soldier who is the sole survivor among his wartime siblings. Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore star.
* On AMC (airs with commercials).
* Reairs tonight 11 pm-2:57 am, and June 13, 10 am-2 pm.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
8 pm-9 pm - "SACRIFICE" is a new 2019 miniseries about D-Day, and this episode is "THE LANDINGS" profiling departure of the invasion fleet on June 5, 1944.
* On National Geographic channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
8:15 pm-10 pm - "OVERLORD" (1975) given credibility by authentic film footage, it's a fictional account of a recruit coming to terms with war, through D-Day. Stars Brian Stirner and Davyd Harries.
* On Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
9 pm-10 pm - "SACRIFICE" is a new 2019 miniseries about D-Day, and this episode is "BATTLE OF NORMANDY" on June 6, 1944.
* On National Geographic channel.
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Thu, Jun 6, on TV:
10 pm-11 pm - "NAZI MEGASTRUCTURES" airs its 2019 episode on "D-DAY," about how the coast of France became the fortified "Atlantic Wall."
* On National Geographic channel.
* Reairs midnight-1 am.
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Fri, Jun 7, on TV:
4 am-5 am - "AMERICA'S SECRET D-DAY" (2014) is the story of Exercise Tiger, a live-fire rehearsal for D-Day that ended in tragedy.
* On Smithsonian channel.
* Reairs Saturday, 2-3 am.
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Fri, Jun 7, on TV:
8:35 am-10:30 am - "EYE OF THE NEEDLE" (1981) ☆☆☆ is fiction about a British woman in love with a German spy, who she tries to prevent from getting plans for D-Day to his contacts. Stars Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan.
* On HD Movies channel.
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Sat, Jun 8, on TV:
2 am-3 am - "AMERICA'S SECRET D-DAY" (2014) is the story of Exercise Tiger, a live-fire rehearsal for D-Day that ended in tragedy.
* On Smithsonian channel.
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Sat, Jun 8, on TV:
9 pm-10 pm - "D-DAY: THE KING WHO FOOLED THE GERMANS" (2019) is a new documentary film positing the "scoop" that the most secret decoy in the D-Day deceptions was King George VI.
* On National Geographic channel.
* Also airs tonight/Sun morning, midnight-1 am.
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Sat night / Sun AM, Jun 8/9, on TV:
Midnight-1 am - "D-DAY: THE KING WHO FOOLED THE GERMANS" (2019). See 9 pm for details.
* On National Geographic channel.