Oh yes. They knew we were coming. The 82nd Airborne had been dropped the day before. They fought their way back to the beach.They did not know that the landings would be delayed because of a little bad weather. I'll bet they were outraged beyond anything I could imagine,
wondering how they were supposed to hold their objectives without the backup they had been promised, to be right behind them. Waiting for the sound of bugles signifying that the Calvary was en route, to the rescue.
To say the least,they were upset. They were tired.They were lucky.
Let me explain where I'm going with this.
People get killed in wars.
Soldiers get killed in war.
We are not trained to see the whole picture.
Our superior officers tell us that we are a small link in the whole chain ,of what the fighting is all about. Don't get negative thoughts regarding your orders.Why are we going to do this,this way,when it seems so much easier to do it that way? It's not exactly like
they issue a rain check to some outdoor activity and everyone is inconvenienced for a few days.
This activity has men's lives in the
balance.We should not have delayed the landings and sacrificed those men of the 82nd,101st, without a chance of relief as they expected.Somehow I suspect that the delayed landings came about because of some bad inteligence,at the last moments of this operation.
I suppose the early jumpers were told to hold their objective and we would get to them as soon as we can.
Just as these Divisions carried out their orders without question, we would have done the same and gone ashore on the 5th, in the storm, because we trained to respond to our orders without question and because we were immortal.
Men who have never been in a combat situation may think about death, but not about their own.
You cannot realize or perceive your own death,that only happens to someone else.
Combat changes that.
One day you understand.
A guy could get killed out here.
When you've seen enough bodies of friends or enemies, you stop running for cover when there is shelling from 88s, you get scared of getting out of your foxhole because one of your skittish neighbors is quick on the trigger.You start thinking a little differently.Your existence depends on how good the guy next to you in the field is. He and the others who are still alive, start thinking pretty much the same way. Don't worry about yourself so much, just watch out for your fellowmen, because they are the only thing that is keeping you alive.
Here we are, more than 60 years after this event and I defy you to tell me how many casualties the pre-D day invaders suffered. I'm sure that this figure is best kept with the overall population of American and Allied losses.