The D-Day That Never Was

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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21 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    Good stuff, Andrew. It’s pretty much taken until this generation for Ike to fully get his due.Report

  2. George Turner says:

    Here is a complete broadcast of D-day, all 24 hours of it, as broadcast on CBS Radio. From the first hour relaying reports and rumors being broadcast on German radio, to the release of information from allied commanders, to foreign leaders in England speaking to their occupied populations, to speeches by Ike and FDR, to accounts from embedded reporters, it’s all there.

    This is one of those days when society is really lucky that I don’t run a day-care center, because a whole lot of little tots would go home convinced we’re invading Europe and telling their parents to turn on the news.Report

  3. Doctor Jay says:

    It’s interesting that growing up in the 60’s like I did, there were lots of war heroes that I heard about as a child and teenager. I played lots of games, and saw lots of shows (TV and movies) that portrayed lots of heroes from the era, but somehow Ike was never one of them.

    It doesn’t seem right to say he didn’t get his due because, well, he became President. I think people understood his ability to organize and administer.

    But he was never a “character”. He was never someone flamboyant like Patton, or relatable like Bradley, constantly posing like Montgomery or strangely noble and extraordinarily skilled like Rommel, or evil like Goering. He was just the guy who ran SHAEF, and all his decisions seemed like they were just water running downhill, taking the natural course.

    What I know now about life, and decision making makes that previous sentence extremely high praise. To quote the Tao, “With the best leaders, the people say, ‘we did it ourselves'”.

    I have an old friend whose father worked for the State Department as an economist under several administrations. He described Eisenhower as the best administrator to every occupy the Oval Office.Report

    • greginak in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      That he wasn’t a “character” helped him deal with the pompous, but important, blowhards under him like Monty and Patton. He was able to subsume his ego to accomplish his goals. He also had to be mindful of the needs of the entire coalition and be a bit of diplomat which means he would actively hated among many nowadays.Report

  4. North says:

    Has there been a finer Republican since Eisenhower? One doesn’t spring to my mind.Report

  5. Oscar Gordon says:

    The thing about brass is that while they might develop a strategy, their real gift is logistics and keeping the force fighting.

    It’s the folks in the trenches who execute that strategy and adjust as needed, and hopefully they have the supplies to do it.

    Good post, BTW.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      They screwed the logistics up horrendously. The invasion was over-planned by the vast numbers of officers with too much business experience and a year or two of too much time on their hands. Planners doing what planners do, every facet of every need was dutifully written out, scheduled, and allocated.

      They were trying to execute a scheme that might today might be described as Just-In-Time delivery, but through an international maritime combat zone. They insisted that all supplies had to be unloaded in the proper sequence, as detailed in the massive unloading plan, as opposed to just getting stuff on shore as fast as they possibly could. Ships at the makeshift docks couldn’t be unloaded because they had to be unloaded after ships that hadn’t arrived yet or were missing, and the logjam just piled up.

      The results caused weeks of delays, shortages, and schedule slips before the logistics plan was junked.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    My uncle, who spent the nine months before D-Day fighting up the length of Italy, always seemed to resent how little attention the Italian campaign got.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I’ve never understood that either. I guess it’s the mountains. Nobody really considered Italy as a stepping stone toward Germany. Also, I don’t think people realized that the Italian campaign was against actual German troops. The Italian forces were viewed as more of a punchline (not entirely inaccurately).Report

      • Andrew Donaldson in reply to Pinky says:

        It was also to stretch the Germans onto a third front, with Italy secure and Russia pushing eastward.Report

        • From memory (so suspect), the Italian campaign also included capturing Sardinia and Corsica. The Allies used those as staging for the successful landing in SE France eight weeks after the landings in Normandy. The Allies successfully captured the French Mediterranean ports and got them running within a couple of weeks. Those ports were critical to the logistics of the Allies advancing towards Germany, as the Normandy ports were inadequate. IIRC, Eisenhower despised the guy running the Seventh Army and refused to take advantage of the huge gains they had made.Report

          • greginak in reply to Michael Cain says:

            While the Italian campaign has gotten less attention it is really the Dragoon landings in south france that have been waaaay overlooked. Italy was a slow grinding slog with a giant missed opportunity at Anzio. There wasn’t the real hatred of Italians like they was for Hitler and the Nazis. It also didn’t help that the capture of Rome was eclipsed by Normandy. But the S France landings were far more important to rolling up the Germans out of France then people commonly understand. The Italian campaign was never going knock Germany out of the war. It was a fugly grind.Report

  7. Jaybird says:


  8. Doctor Jay says:

    I just ran across an absolutely fantastic story about D-Day.

    I have no idea if it’s true or not. Still worth reading.Report

  9. Hey, this is wonderful, thank you.Report