Warfare has changed over the millennia. It has gone from hand-to-hand with clubs and blades, to involving archery, to firearms. And as that has been going on, it has also involved naval warfare, because seas were (and are) excellent means of delivering supplies and soldiers, so control of the seas became essential. And, over the last century-plus, this has become true of the air, with the added bit that air is an excellent place, too, for reconnaissance. And now we’re moving into space, which has largely (so far) been a place useful for reconnaissance, navigation and communications, and therefore, inevitably, will be fought over.
But–please correct me if I’m wrong–the last time huge armies of literally millions of people got together and duked it out for the survival of their major-power countries was World War II.
Probably the biggest “conventional” war since World War II was the Iran-Iraq war, with total military dead over the nearly eight years it ran being anywhere from 300,000 to 1,100,000 people. Even there though the forces in the field at any given time were considerably less than a million, total.
What killed the “big” duke-em-outs between major powers? The nuclear bomb. Two major powers will never get into that kind of fight again, because the side that thinks it’s losing will push the button, and the side that would be winning knows this. Not that they don’t fight…they just do it by other means, hoping to weaken the other side, but knowing they can’t annihilate them without being themselves annihilated. (And of course the Soviet Union bent every effort to get us to give up our nukes, so that they could then blackmail us.)
World War II was the last time we’ll see such massive carnage on a battlefield. One hopes. And there was plenty to go around; we had some positively brutal battles in the Pacific. The Soviets had an even rougher time of it, losing tens of millions to the war and more millions to their own government. We fought the Nazis, too, in Africa and Italy before…well, before D-Day.
[Now I have to stop right here and smack some Commies upside the head. The post-war Soviet Union loved to depict the US contributions to the war as absolutely minimal; I once saw a propaganda movie intended to depict us as doing nothing more than running a few exercises, blowing up ships we were about to scuttle anyway. Even today, sometimes the Russians like to minimize our efforts. That is, of course, a Terex-dump-truck-load of bearded dragon shit.
But by the same token, one must acknowledge that what we went through, though great, was less than the Soviet Union did, and no, not all of it was Stalin’s deliberate doing, and it’s not even the case all of it was Stalin’s incompetence. It does not minimize our efforts to acknowledge that what they suffered was even bigger.]
Which brings us, finally, to D-Day. In order to win the war against an intransigent enemy, we had no choice but to invade. (Bombers are very useful, but have never conquered anything.) That meant sending our troops directly to places where the enemy, which had had months or even years to construct fortifications, was waiting for them. We managed to blunt the impact of this with disinformation, the sorts of things we did to convince Hitler that the threat was to Calais, not Normandy. He moved forces that would have made mincemeat of the invasion, otherwise. (Even after the D-Day landings, Patton was kept in Southeastern England until July, to deceive Germany into thinking there would be an additional “main” landing at Calais. He was a victim of his own success in battle.)
The cost of picking Normandy was that our forces would have to travel farther to Germany, and farther across the English Channel. Germany knew this of course, and Calais was a much more obvious target for us. All of this convinced Germany to throw its resources elsewhere–plus, of course, most of its forces were fighting the Soviet Union.
But did I say “to blunt the impact of this”? If this was “blunted,” I’d certainly not wish a non-blunted version of it on anyone!
Most of us have seen Saving Private Ryan. That opening scene was a small taste of the reality. Anyone who was there, or on any of the other beaches, deserves our undying gratitude. Because of what they did, not only was the evil of Nazism extirpated–by this time that would have happened anyway; Hitler was already losing to the Soviet Union–but the western half of Europe was saved from the ravages of Communism. For Stalin would certainly not have stopped at the Elbe.
Imagine a post-war world where the Iron Curtain was the coast of Europe, rather than running down its center. I’m not sure the Soviet Union would ever have fallen. And what would have happened to the UK?
The Landings Themselves
D-Day remains the largest amphibious assault in history. 160,000 were landed on D-Day, with subsequent reinforcements bringing the numbers up to 875,000 by the end of June.
There were five beaches: Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. The first two were American, the last three were invaded by British and Canadian soldiers.
By far the worst meat grinder was Omaha, with 2000 dead, followed by Gold with about 1000 dead. All told, on D-Day, 4,414 allied troops died, with a grand total of about 10,000 Allied dead and wounded. (The Germans lost about a thousand men, which is not unexpected proportions for a defending force.)
Those casualty numbers, bad as they are, could have been much, much higher. And I imagine if we fought like the Soviets fought, with utter disregard for the lives of their own troops, they would have been.
Without D-Day, we’d live in a very different world. World War II was pivotal in history, and D-Day was pivotal within World War II. Thank You to all who fought there, and in Africa and Italy before, and Western Europe afterwards, and also to those who fought in the meantime in the Pacific.
Let’s just hope we can dish out domestic justice as well as we dished it out to the Japanese and the Nazis. It’s the least we can do for them, to let this continue being the sort of country they fought for.
A Reminder Of Today’s Issues.
Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American People...Our campaign represents a true existential threat, like they’ve never seen before.Then-Candidate Donald J. Trump
And if one wants the full, polished video:
Lawyer Appeasement Section
OK now for the fine print.
This is the WQTH Daily Thread. You know the drill. There’s no Political correctness, but civility is a requirement. There are Important Guidelines, here, with an addendum on 20191110.
We have a new board – called The U Tree – where people can take each other to the woodshed without fear of censorship or moderation.
And remember Wheatie’s Rules:
1. No food fights
2. No running with scissors.
3. If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
4. The gun is always loaded.
4a. If you actually want the gun to be loaded, like because you’re checking out a bump in the night, then it’s empty.
5. Never point the gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
6. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
7. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
(Hmm a few extras seem to have crept in.)
Coin of The Day
Now it wouldn’t be one of my posts without a coin, would it? In fact, I’ll do four. The US, UK, Canada, and French commemorations of D-Day.
Just one more thing, my standard Public Service Announcement. We don’t want to forget this!!!
Zhōngguò shì gè hùndàn !!!
China is asshoe !!!