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D-Day 70Th Anniversary: Ministry Of Defence Releases Rare Aerial Photographs Showing Planning – And Chaos – Of ‘Largest Single Military Operation

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dday-70th-anniversary-ministry-of-defence-releases-rare-aerial-photographs-showing-planning--and-chaos--of-largest-single-military-operation-in-the-history-of-warfare-9486134.html

With preparations in full swing for the world to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-day beach landings this Friday, the Ministry of Defence has released a series of photographs that show the chaos of the Normandy assault in fascinating detail.

The images were captured in a series of around 30 sorties made by planes flying just 1,000ft above the battlefield on 6 June, 1944, and provided vital information about how the meticulously-planned operation was progressing.

In a bid to bring life to the historic photographs seven decades on, the MoD has sent two RAF Tornados to recreate those reconnaissance missions – though with today’s technology they managed it in a fraction of the time.

On D-Day itself a II (AC) Squadron Mustang, piloted by Air Commodore Andrew Geddes, brought back the first pictures of the Normandy landings.

Two other aircraft were also over the beaches when the first landing craft touched down, and together they used bulky cameras loaded to the bottom of the aircraft to build up a series of panoramic images.

Some fascinating pictures of one of the greatest military events in history.

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Leaders gather for D-Day anniversary

World leaders are gathering in northern France for a day of events marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War Two.

D-Day moments

How BBC reporters of the time covered the invasion

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2650125/The-British-peoples-greatest-day-Cynics-say-time-But-today-raise-glass-sheer-ingenuity-courage-bloody-mindedness-Britons-like-Stan-Hollis-turned-potential-disaster-awesome-victory.html

Then there were the high commanders. General Sir Bernard Montgomery had been a celebrity since his victory at El Alamein in November 1942, but he was also intensely controversial — hated by the Americans, who thought him slow in action, unforgivably rude and patronising in speech.

But, under Dwight Eisenhower’s nominal Supreme Command, the operational plan for D-Day was overwhelmingly Monty’s. He directed both the landings and subsequent campaign ashore.

Even most of his critics conceded that nobody else could have done it better, from the moment early in 1944 when he insisted that the number of troops attacking on the first day should be doubled, whatever the difficulties about finding extra shipping to carry them.

Then there were the staff, thousands of officers often caricatured as boring blimps, almost all civilians in uniform, who worked for months in dreary huts and offices, converting the great plan into reality.

Millions of maps had to be printed in conditions of absolute secrecy; 25 square miles of south Devon cleared of the civilian population to enable amphibious training; arrangements made to ship two million men, 200,000 vehicles, 4,000 tanks and 6,000 artillery pieces from Britain to France.

British workmen built the huge artificial Mulberry harbours which Churchill himself had conceived, to be towed in sections to France and shelter both British and American supply vessels offloading from volatile Channel weather during the first weeks after the landings.

Clever British geeks devised a compound of grease, lime and asbestos fibres to waterproof vehicles. Others designed what were known as ‘the funnies’ — tanks modified to swim, or carry fascines (rolled-up bundles of wood) to bridge ditches, mortars to destroy pillboxes, flame-throwers and flails to explode mines.

Curiously the Americans, usually the most mechanically-minded people on earth, spurned these Limey gadgets — and paid a heavy price for doing so when The Day came on the beaches.

The intelligence planners – again, overwhelmingly British amid American scepticism – forged the superlative Operational Fortitude, the greatest deception in history, to keep the Germans guessing first about where the invasion would come, and later about whether another landing would follow elsewhere.

Max Hastings playing to the Wail. D-Day was a huge team effort, something Eisenhower recognised. His co-ordination and keeping everyone's ego's in check played a significant part in giving the plan a chance.

D-day was an allied victory, no one nation did it on their own.

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Yes nice pics, but does anyone else find these official commemoration events a bit crass and sordid?

Many of the pics were of the tornados, their crews.

Wow...a sortie over holiday homes and beaches.

must have been tough.

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Yes nice pics, but does anyone else find these official commemoration events a bit crass and sordid?

No. I think they are important. People gave their lives fighting for freedom against a terrible evil. Has the world been perfect since - no. But it would have been anawful lot worse without their sacrifice.

The least we can do is to remember.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2650125/The-British-peoples-greatest-day-Cynics-say-time-But-today-raise-glass-sheer-ingenuity-courage-bloody-mindedness-Britons-like-Stan-Hollis-turned-potential-disaster-awesome-victory.html

Max Hastings playing to the Wail. D-Day was a huge team effort, something Eisenhower recognised. His co-ordination and keeping everyone's ego's in check played a significant part in giving the plan a chance.

D-day was an allied victory, no one nation did it on their own.

Eisenhower had many deficiencies. The Allies got bogged down in the Falaise Pocket and were only rescued by Patton, who was then all geared up to head for the heart of the Reich, only to have his petrol rations diverted to Mongomery for the ridiculous Operation Market Garden (assault on Arnhem).

The German troops who were allowed to escape by this diversion of resources were to make a reappearance on the Western Front in the Battle of the Bulge. Again, Patton pulled Eisenhowers's chestnuts out of the fire. No wonder Eisenhower hated him and likely had him assassinated.

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Eisenhower had many deficiencies. The Allies got bogged down in the Falaise Pocket and were only rescued by Patton, who was then all geared up to head for the heart of the Reich, only to have his petrol rations diverted to Mongomery for the ridiculous Operation Market Garden (assault on Arnhem).

The German troops who were allowed to escape by this diversion of resources were to make a reappearance on the Western Front in the Battle of the Bulge. Again, Patton pulled Eisenhowers's chestnuts out of the fire. No wonder Eisenhower hated him and likely had him assassinated.

The Free Poles played a significant part in the Falaise Gap - bloody battle, Poles ran out of ammunition so fierce was on the onslaught from the retreating Germans... but they held and inflicted significant casualties on the retreating German armies.

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Eisenhower had many deficiencies. The Allies got bogged down in the Falaise Pocket and were only rescued by Patton, who was then all geared up to head for the heart of the Reich, only to have his petrol rations diverted to Mongomery for the ridiculous Operation Market Garden (assault on Arnhem).

The German troops who were allowed to escape by this diversion of resources were to make a reappearance on the Western Front in the Battle of the Bulge. Again, Patton pulled Eisenhowers's chestnuts out of the fire. No wonder Eisenhower hated him and likely had him assassinated.

You have your time lines a bit mixed up.

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Eisenhower had many deficiencies. The Allies got bogged down in the Falaise Pocket and were only rescued by Patton, who was then all geared up to head for the heart of the Reich, only to have his petrol rations diverted to Mongomery for the ridiculous Operation Market Garden (assault on Arnhem).

The German troops who were allowed to escape by this diversion of resources were to make a reappearance on the Western Front in the Battle of the Bulge. Again, Patton pulled Eisenhowers's chestnuts out of the fire. No wonder Eisenhower hated him and likely had him assassinated.

Patton wasn't perfect, he was lucky to survive the slapping incident and he pushed his luck several times and only remained in command because of Eisenhower's support. Although he was probably the best general of the War.

Market Garden by the time the operation commenced was doomed to failure. If the operation gone ahead when it was initially thought up there was more of a chance it could have worked it was still high risk but the Germans where in disarray.

Eisenhowers failure I think was not creating a single command structure. The US issued orders to be followed as all discussions had taken place previously where as the British had a system which issued orders for the field commanders to discuss, this meant the British commanders saw orders as a suggestion rather than a direct order. Some of these issues created lots of tensions especially Monty's failure to take Caen on Dday, however from the British perspective Caen was an objective to be taken if possible and the opportunity arose where as the Americans viewed it as a direct objective that Monty failed to deliver.

Considering Eisenhower had wrote his resignation letter in advance it's quite clear D-Day objectives where fluid and the most important one was getting ashore and securing the bridgehead, everything else was a bonus. Rommel was right if the allies secured the beeches they would win, the Germans had to stop the invasion on the beeches.

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Eisenhower had many deficiencies. The Allies got bogged down in the Falaise Pocket and were only rescued by Patton, who was then all geared up to head for the heart of the Reich, only to have his petrol rations diverted to Mongomery for the ridiculous Operation Market Garden (assault on Arnhem).

The German troops who were allowed to escape by this diversion of resources were to make a reappearance on the Western Front in the Battle of the Bulge. Again, Patton pulled Eisenhowers's chestnuts out of the fire. No wonder Eisenhower hated him and likely had him assassinated.

The Falaise Pocket ended in August 1944

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falaise_pocket

It represented the end of the Normandy battle, pretty much. There is argument over the battle, basically over perceived slowness in closing the pocket, but this is war..

It was followed by the rapid liberation of the rest of France and Belgium - at which point fuel and supplies were at breaking point.

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No. I think they are important. People gave their lives fighting for freedom against a terrible evil. Has the world been perfect since - no. But it would have been anawful lot worse without their sacrifice.

The least we can do is to remember.

Cant we remember them with solemnity and respect rather than with fly byes and obese re enactors in fancy dress?

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Cant we remember them with solemnity and respect rather than with fly byes and obese re enactors in fancy dress?

Government caused the war, government should therefore be very very humble at these events.

Of course, they arent wot with red carpets and bands.

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No. I think they are important. People gave their lives fighting for freedom against a terrible evil. Has the world been perfect since - no. But it would have been anawful lot worse without their sacrifice.

The least we can do is to remember.

Are you Winston Churchill?

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I think both is suited and that is what we are getting.

So having a big carnival celebration is an appropriate way to commemorate thousands of human beings smashing each other to death?

This is why we will always have war. We dont hate war. We love it. If we hated it we would remember with the solemn vow of "never again". Instead we have bands and music and flags and shiny airplanes to make another generation ardent for some desperate glory.

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