The Weather Forecast That Saved D-Day

Into the Jaws of Death 23-0455M edit.jpg

US Army troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944

The most important weather forecast in history

In memory of my father Hans who, in 1944, took part in the liberation of Europe with the Royal Engineers in the Italian Campaign. –Benny Peiser

 

1) The Weather Forecast That Saved D-Day

History, 4 June 2014

Christopher Klein

Years of detailed planning went into the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, but success hinged on one element that no military commander could control—the weather. In the days leading up to the invasion, Allied meteorologists delivered the most important weather forecast in history. If they got it wrong the Allies might have lost tens of thousands of men and World War II might have been lost forever.

In contrast to the bright morning about to dawn over Portsmouth, England, on June 4, 1944, gloom settled over the Allied commanders gathered inside Southwick House at 4:15 a.m. Years of preparation had been invested in the invasion of Normandy, but now, just hours before the launch of D-Day operations, came the voice of Group Captain James Stagg urging a last-minute delay. As Operation Overlord’s chief meteorological officer, the lanky Brit was hardly a battlefield commander, but the ultimate fate of D-Day now rested in his decision-making.

The disappointed commanders knew that the list of potential invasion dates were only a precious few because of the need for a full moon to illuminate obstacles and landing places for gliders and for a low tide at dawn to expose the elaborate underwater defenses installed by the Germans. June 5, chosen by Allied Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower to be D-Day, was the first date in a narrow three-day window with the necessary astronomical conditions. The massive Normandy landings, however, also required optimal weather conditions. High winds and rough seas could capsize landing craft and sabotage the amphibious assault; wet weather could bog down the army and thick cloud cover could obscure the necessary air support.

The critical, but unenviable task of predicting the English Channel’s notoriously fickle weather fell to a team of forecasters from the Royal Navy, British Meteorological Office and U.S. Strategic and Tactical Air Force, and as D-Day approached, storm clouds brewed inside the meteorological office. Observations from Newfoundland taken on May 29 reported changing conditions that might arrive by the proposed invasion date. Based on their knowledge of English Channel weather and observations, the British forecasters predicted the stormy weather would indeed arrive on June 5. The American meteorologists, relying on a differing forecasting method based on historic weather maps, instead believed that a wedge of high pressure would deflect the advancing storm front and provide clear, sunny skies over the English Channel.

Stagg, the only meteorologist allowed direct contact with Eisenhower, had to make the final call. Although the sky was clear and wind negligible in the early hours of June 4, Stagg believed foul weather was only hours away. He sided with his fellow British colleagues and recommended a postponement. Knowing that the weather held the potential to be an even fiercer foe than the Nazis, a reluctant Eisenhower agreed in the early hours of June 4 to delay D-Day by 24 hours.

On the other side of the English Channel, German forecasters also predicted the stormy conditions that indeed rolled in as Stagg and his fellow Brits had feared. The Luftwaffe’s chief meteorologist, however, went further in reporting that rough seas and gale-force winds were unlikely to weaken until mid-June. Armed with that forecast, Nazi commanders thought it impossible that an Allied invasion was imminent, and many left their coastal defenses to participate in nearby war games. German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel even returned home to personally present a pair of Parisian shoes to his wife as a birthday present.

German Luftwaffe meteorologists, however, relied on less sophisticated data and models than their Allied counterparts, says John Ross, author of “The Forecast for D-Day: And the Weatherman behind Ike’s Greatest Gamble.” “The Allies had a much more robust network of weather stations in Canada, Greenland and Iceland; of weather ships and weather flights over the North Atlantic and observations by secret agreement from weather stations in the neutral Republic of Ireland,” he says. Those weather stations, in particular one at a post office at Blacksod Point in the far west of Ireland, proved crucial in detecting the arrival of a lull in the storms that Stagg and his colleagues believed would allow for an invasion on June 6. As rain and high winds lashed Portsmouth on the night of June 4, Stagg informed Eisenhower of the forecast for a temporary break. With the next available date for an invasion nearly two weeks away, the Allies risked losing the element of surprise if they waited. In spite of the pelting rain and howling winds outside, Eisenhower placed his faith in his forecasters and gave the go-ahead for D-Day.

The weather during the initial hours of D-Day was still not ideal. Thick clouds resulted in Allied bombs and paratroopers landing miles off target. Rough seas caused landing craft to capsize and mortar shells to land off the mark. By noon, however, the weather had cleared and Stagg’s forecast had been validated. The Germans had been caught by surprise, and the tide of World War II began to turn.

Weeks later, Stagg sent Eisenhower a memo noting that had D-Day been pushed to later in June, the Allies would have encountered the worst weather in the English Channel in two decades. “I thank the Gods of War we went when we did,” Eisenhower scribbled on the report.

He could also have been thankful for Stagg overruling the advice of the American meteorologists who wanted to go on June 5 as planned, which Ross says would have been a disaster. “The weather over Normandy contained too much cloud cover for Ike’s greatest strategic asset, the Allied air forces, to effectively protect the landings from German armor, artillery and infantry reserves. Winds were too strong for the deployment of paratroopers to secure bridges and crossroads inland from the beaches thus preventing German reinforcement of coastal positions. Waves were too high for landing craft to put soldiers and supplies ashore. The key element of surprise—location and time—would have been lost, and the conquest of western Europe could well have taken another year.”

2) D-Day: The Sceptical Meteorologists Who Surprised The Nazis By Saying ‘Yes’ To June 6

The Times, 2 June 2014

Simon Pearson

The outcome of D-Day was decided not on the beaches of Normandy, but by weather systems in the mid-Atlantic and the ability of rival teams of meteorologists to interpret the forces of nature. The Americans were confident in long-range five-day forecasts. The British were sceptical, believing they could forecast only two days ahead at best. The teams clashed repeatedly.

The outcome of D-Day was decided not on the beaches of Normandy, but by weather systems in the mid-Atlantic and the ability of rival teams of meteorologists to interpret the forces of nature.

As unfavourable conditions developed during that early summer 70 years ago, three teams of meteorologists produced reports for the Allied commander, General Dwight D Eisenhower, who laid down the conditions necessary for invasion — and his preferred date: June 5. Across the Channel, a single team of Germans watched the weather.

One of the men who took part in this great drama was Lawrence Hogben, a New Zealand naval officer, who, as a Rhodes Scholar, studied mathematics at New College, Oxford and trained as a meteorologist with the Royal Navy. Today, he lives in a care home in southern France, the country he helped to liberate and, even at the age of 98, retains vivid memories of events in June 1944.

Hogben had already distinguished himself as a naval officer before he was asked to work with Geoffrey Wolfe, a Cambridge-educated engineer, in the Admiralty team forecasting the D-Day weather.

As an instructor lieutenant, responsible for training, intelligence and meteorology on HMS Sheffield, he had witnessed several major naval actions: the sinking of the German battleship Bismark in May 1941; the Battle of the Barents Sea — when Sheffield engaged the German pocket battleships Admiral Hipper  and Lutzow in the Arctic in December 1942; and Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa a year later.

Decorated for bravery and promoted instructor lieutenant-commander, he had also developed his skills as a weatherman. “OnSheffield, I was making forecasts every day from the data coming in and from the state of the sea,” he says.

Hogben and Wolfe were one of two British teams. The second, put forward by the Met Office, consisted of Charles Douglas, the chief forecaster who was known for his photographic memory of meteorological events, and Sverre Pettersen, a Norwegian. The third team was American, with Irving Krick and Benny Holzman, two well-known weathermen from the California Institute of Technology. Each day, the three teams reported their findings to Group Captain James Stagg, a Scot who had been superintendent of the Kew Gardens observatory in 1939. He briefed Eisenhower.

For operational reasons, the American commander needed a full moon, a low tide, little cloud cover and light winds so that troops in landing craft could get ashore quickly, the gliders and parachutists could operate efficiently, and the Allied fighters and bombers could find their targets.

The forecast was not good. Indeed, climatic data suggested the odds against the forecasters finding the right conditions was 13-1 in June 1944. The Americans were confident in long-range five-day forecasts. The British were sceptical, believing they could forecast only two days ahead at best. The teams clashed repeatedly.

According to William Bryant Logan, author of Air: The Restless Shaper, they succeeded, “not because of the brilliant work of any solitary forecaster, but because a group of forecasters imitated the weather. They jostled, yelled, scribbled, and cast malevolent looks at one another. They fought it out and voted. And in the end, they were just right enough.”

Full story (subscription required)

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
vigilantfish

Thanks for posting this, Anthony. I noted with interest the presence of Sverre Pettersen on the second British meteorological team. I had to Google this, but was not surprised to learn he had been a student of Vilhelm Bjerknes, who founded the Bergen School of Meteorology which gave the mathematical foundations of modern weather forecasting based on his work on hydrodynamics and thermodynamics.

Eliza

AW beat ya to it just joking!
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/jun/06/97-consensus-global-warming
Wow the guardian published THIS???

If they got it wrong the Allies might have lost tens of thousands of men and World War II might have been lost forever.

The first statement is true, but the second is highly implausible. The Germans had already been driven out of Russia on D-day and were retreating along the entire eastern front. Between the heavy damages to its cities and industries inflicted by the allied bombings and the overwhelming force of the Red Army, there was only one possible outcome.
Had D-day failed, the one real difference in outcome would have been that most of continental Europe would have come under Russian control. D-day was mostly about reigning in Russia, not about defeating Germany.

george e. smith

I remember where I was. (no I wasn’t there, I was well out of it.)
Let’s not do this again .
To all of you veterans out there. Thank you for what you did.

george e. smith

“””””…..Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:03 am
If they got it wrong the Allies might have lost tens of thousands of men and World War II might have been lost forever……”””””
Actually, the allies DID lose tens of thousands of men on this day. This was NOT a video game.

george e. smith

They never get it right. It was 70 years ago; not 65 as their little weather maps say.

George – I’m aware of that. I was just quoting from the article, and I assume that the author is aware of the losses, too. He probably meant to say that tens of thousands more would have died.

Peter Miller

Forecasting weather forward accurately for 2-5 days seems about right.
On the other hand, forecasting climate forward accurately for 30-70 years obviously has to be in the realms of pure fantasy, or possibly in the minds of computer analysts fed biased GIGO by those who are not even a pale shadow of those wonderful meteorologists just prior to D Day.

First off, the idea that a failure on D–Day would have led to a loss in WWII is about as nutty a claim as I’ve ever heard. With or without a D-Day in Normndy, we were clobbering the Germans with our air forces, able at the time of the D-Day invasion of having practically total control of Europen skies. And the Russians had not only stopped the Germans but had pushed them back – it was only a matter of time before the Russians would defeat Nazi Germany.
Nor would a D-Day failure in any way prevent us from future attempts. In point of fact, Gen Marshall had already been chosen as the commander of any follow on attempts, had the first attempt failed. Time was on the Western Allies side, not Germany’s. We were getting stronger and they were getting weaker, guaranteeing a sucessfull invasion.
Point number two : While it is true that the bad weather fooled the Germans as to the timing
of the invasion, the location of the invasion was still a mystery to the Germans and that had nothing to do with the weather. The poor reactions of the German commander at Omaha Beach
was the main reason the assault there succeeded, and that had nothing to do with the weather
either.
Point number 3: the weather forecast that Stagg provided led the Allies to proceed when they should not have. Just because the invasion eventually proved a success does not imply that
going on June the 6th was the best (or even a satisfactory) choice. In fact, the main reason for the near failure at Omaha Beach was because of the unexpected bad weather conditions. The low ceiling forced the heavy bombers (who had a real aversion to AA fire) to rely on a poorly developed radar bombsite, which resulted in zero bombs falling on German defensive positions at Omaha. The bad weather also destroyed the ability of the floating rocket platforms to hit the German positions as well. It also inhibited ship bombardments early on. It also led to the loss of the majority of supporting armor, swimmable Sherman tanks that mostly sank in the high seas of that morning, as well as the total loss of all artillery being brought ashore in landing craft,which all sank during the morning landings. The high winds also virtually destroyed the effectiveness of the airborne landings after midnight of the 6th. It was a disaster.
While some might say that the forecast allowed for the Allies to go under their required conditions of moon (for the airborne) and tides, which would not be available again for another month, one can challenge that by saying that it was, after all, only another month (which actually would have vastly alleviated the landing craft deficiencies ,and allowed further isolation of the battlefield using the air force). And one can easily challenge their dependence upon the moon
by showing the vast advantages of a early morning twilight airborne drop, which didn’t depend upon moonlight.
In sum, I would estimate that the Allies would have been far better off had Stagg given
a weather forecast that eliminated any possibility of a June 6th invasion. There is also the factor of the horrible weather that followed on the heels of the invasion, which destroyed the Mulberries,
and wrought all kinds of problems on the troops ashore.
And when one looks at the British beaches, one can easily show that weather and any surprise
that weather may have provided had little to nothing to do with success over there – the defensive troops were few, poorly armed , and often foreigners who had been captured and then become soldiers in the German army, guaranteed to not fight to the last round, or even the next to last round, etc. Many surrendered without firing a shot.

DD More

What is nice is they got to use some of the German data too.
The End of German Presence in Greenland
During 1943 and 1944, there were reports that German forces were constructing a base on the island. These came to nothing, thanks to action by U.S. forces; similarly, a weather station on the northeast coast was bombed by U.S. Air Force planes based in Iceland. Data from several captured German weather stations was used by the Allies in the run-up to D-Day in June, 1944. The final Germans to be stationed in Greenland were technicians manning the weather station Edelweiss II. This base was captured on October 4, 1944, with all the staff being taken prisoner. Denmark itself was liberated in May 1945.

milodonharlani

Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:03 am
While I agree that the Allies could still have won had D-Day failed, the consequences would have been dire for the USSR. The Red Army had, as you say, cleared most of Russia of the enemy by June 6, 1944, but eastern Ukraine, Belorussia & the Baltics remained in German hands. The Belorussian campaign, Operation Bagration, launched on June 22, was designed to take advantage of D-Day, the “Second Front” so long called for by Stalin (who had already been helped by Allied operations in North Africa, Sicily & Italy).
Besides holding so many German forces in the West, D-Day also improved the odds for convoys carrying to Russia the supplies, war materiel & vehicles without which the Red Army could not have driven the invaders out of the USSR. In particular, Bagration benefited from American trucks, so many of which were sent East that the western Allies suffered from a shortage of them in their drive across France. Khrushchev rightly observed that the advance from Stalingrad to Berlin would have been impossible without them, & other Allied aid.
Had D-Day failed in Normandy, the Operation Dragoon landings in the South of France might still have gone ahead in August.
D-Day was not about containing Communism but winning the war. Had dominating the post-war situation been the US goal, Ike would have been ordered to encircle, pocket & besiege Berlin, if not take it by storm at great cost, when he could have. The West would not have made the concessions to Stalin we did at Yalta in February, 1945. American & Soviet troops would have met not on the Elbe, but the Oder, if not farther east.
Stalin feared that the West would cut a separate deal for less than unconditional surrender with Germany, as Lenin had abandoned the West in WWI.

They got it right because they didn’t factor global warming in their forecast. 70 years and the Met Office have taken backward steps!

milodonharlani

george e. smith says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:08 am
We did not lose tens of thousands on D-Day itself. Ground forces casualties were around 9000, of whom about a third were killed or “missing”, as in direct hit from artillery projectiles. Precise figures aren’t available.
Of course tens of thousands died in the campaign.

The storms that DID come from the west-northwest just a few days later DID destroy one of the two temporary harbors (bridges, sunken ships, concrete breakwaters, oil-pipes under the sea, and stations that were constructed.
But, there were enough supplies and oil landed before the mid-June storms broke these up that the troops ashore managed without formal ports and classic harbors. Again, the Germans could not foresee the technology to make an effective artificial harbor and oil terminal on a flat beach, so their beach defenses were “first wave” defenses, with the Channel “port defenses” very, very strong. Cherburg, Caliase, Brussels, Antwerp, etc were very, very difficult battles.
We are again reminded that DISAGREEMENT between weather forecasters and climatologists is a GOOD THING! Competing ideas and methodologies ARE ESSENTIAL in a checks and balance system where the future is unknown and uncontrollable.
But today? “Consensus” is essential to control by a single national government running under the larger control of a single international system of UN-elected, UN-accountable Brussels-spouting bureaucrats.

@ milodonharlani
“D-Day was not about containing Communism but winning the war. Had dominating the post-war situation been the US goal, Ike would have been ordered to encircle, pocket & besiege Berlin, if not take it by storm at great cost, when he could have. The West would not have made the concessions to Stalin we did at Yalta in February, 1945. American & Soviet troops would have met not on the Elbe, but the Oder, if not farther east.”

Now you are underestimating the role of the remaining German forces. There is very little either the Russians or the Americans could have done to change the ultimate point of their encounter. As the Germans were retreating towards Germany on both fronts, they committed their forces so as to keep both fronts roughly at equal distance. The use of greater forces by the Americans would have accelerated the German collapse, but not changed the final post-war map very much at all.

milodonharlani

DD More says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:22 am
The weather war in the North Atlantic was important. One of the main reasons for invading Iceland & the Faroes & occupying Greenland was to control WX forecasting.

milodonharlani

Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:52 am
Without US trucks, tanks, aircraft, munitions, steel, food, boots & other supplies, the Red Army would not have gotten out of Russia, so I have to disagree. Besides which, the Germans kept units in the West which could have been used to stop the Red Army in the East. Stalin was afraid & indeed suspected that the Allies weren’t fighting hard enough to keep German armored formations especially in the West. He sent observers to Italy to check on this suspicion, who reported back that in fact the fighting was ferocious.
The Germans were not falling back at the same rate both East & West. The fact is that the Germans transferred elite units from the East to stop the onslaught in France & the Low Countries (to cite but one example, 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich), besides of course having to maintain armor & mobile infantry in the West before June that could have been used on the Eastern Front. Had Hitler been killed in the July plot, the German army would have moved everything East, letting the Western Allies overrun France without opposition or with token forces, even if the US & UK were unwilling to make a separate peace.

milodonharlani

RACookPE1978 says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:37 am
It turned out that the Americans were able to land supplies & equipment directly across the beaches after the Mulberry harbors were destroyed in the storms.

faboutlaws

This was perhaps the last time the Met was right about the weather. Which was around the last time BBC reported the truthful news.

timg56

Having been to Omaha Beach, it is easy to see why so many casualties were inflicted on the lead battalions. What was a bit surprising was to learn that heights were manned by fewer than a 100 defenders, at least at the sector I visited. I want to say it was well under a 100, but can no longer recall the exact figure.

And speaking of D-Day…
The articles just keep on coming:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-06/world-war-ii-skeletons-washed-from-graves-by-rising-seas.html
From the Marshall Islands:
“There are coffins and dead people being washed away from graves; it’s that serious,” Tony de Brum, minister of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, said today. Tides “have caused not just inundation and flooding of communities where people live but have also done severe damage in undermining regular land so that even the dead are affected.”
“The minister’s comments bring home the stark future for low-lying island nations as the planet warms, causing sea levels to rise. The Marshall Islands, a string of more than 1,000 such isles with a population of about 70,000, is about 2 meters (7 feet) at its highest point, according to de Brum.”
For some reason, Globull Warming is causing sea level to rise much more rapidly than anywhere else…
Maybe they should move.
Jim

I am surprised at some of the comments here, which seem to be reinterpreting history.
I live on the South West of England coast close to some of the major embarkation points for the D-Day convoy.
The Germans retained a capability to strike at the very heart of the allies as can be seen in this loss of 800 US forces in the training for the invasion in April 1944, which took place close by
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_Tiger
At the time of the invasion there were 4000 ships in the convoy, thousands of planes and hundreds of thousands of men stationed in tents. I can see the site where 5000 men were billeted from my window,
Do people think this vast force could have been hidden for several more weeks from the Germans? It only needed one spy to report on the proceedings and there would have been a wholesale disaster a Exercise Tiger illustrates.
It is incorrect to believe the Germans were already defeated. Attacking the Russians entrenched in Stalingrad during one of the most bitter winters of the century and retreating is one thing. Defending German positions within reach of their own supply lines in good weather is a different matter.
There is a display showing the fateful forecast in the library of the Met office. It was a good and brave forecast and if the allies had not gone when they did the result of the war was not a foregone conclusion.
tonyb

Gamecock

I am very pleased to see comments that reflect reality, not the Western History of WWII.
Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:03 am
Quite right, sir.
In December of 1944, Eisenhower was in charge of 69 divisions in western Europe. The Soviets had over 500 fighting the Germans. That’s Germans, not Nazis, as so many are fond of saying. Soviet divisions (why don’t you call them Communists?) outnumbered Western Allies by 7 to 1, yet we claim to have won the war.

The last thing anyone wanted was to give the German engineers any more time to work on their “secret weapons.” Do not forget they had already invented the jet fighter and the V-2 missile. A German A-bomb was possible, if only because the Allies were working on one of their own. Closing down the V-2 launch points was one objective of the invasion.
In a battle to the death you do not want to give your enemy any breathing room. June 6 was a heroic blow to a horrific evil, delivered by men so young that it is incredible they found the courage to go on. Hundreds upon hundreds were mowed down on the beaches, but they kept coming. The water was red and corpses were moved by the waves.
“Only” 9000 died on D-day? What disrespect is casual in such words. Those young men gave their lives for you and me. They certainly were not “saving the world” for big grants and trips to Bali. They stood up to evil even though they knew the only payment they received might be their own death. Thank God for courage like that.

IMHO
If the 6/6/1944 D-Day had not succeeded, the “Iron Curtain” would have been on the Eastern Atlantic coastline. The Allied push westward was to stake a claim on the Continent. D-Day may have been the first foray of the Cold War.
The Germans were already fading. With the USSR, they had bitten off more than they could chew.

Gamecock

About 2,500 died on D-Day. Not counting Germans.

JeffC

“The outcome of D-Day was decided not on the beaches of Normandy, but by weather systems in the mid-Atlantic and the ability of rival teams of meteorologists to interpret the forces of nature.”
wait … we didn’t send men with guns ashore then ?

george e. smith

“””””…..Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:15 am
George – I’m aware of that. I was just quoting from the article, and I assume that the author is aware of the losses, too. He probably meant to say that tens of thousands more would have died……”””””
Well Michael, I wasn’t being critical.
You say you are aware of that, and you opine that the author of that line also is.
But HE did not mention it; and neither did you.
So I DID
I suspect a consensus of about 97% is in fact NOT aware of that fact.. I’m thinking that some 2,500 US soldiers died on Omaha Beach on just that first day. And historians think that was remarkably low.
How many GI s died on Iwo-Jima ?

milodonharlani

timg56 says:
June 6, 2014 at 10:36 am
German manpower above Omaha averaged about 1000 troops per mile, but of course they were concentrated in strong points.
German strength in the Omaha sector was much stronger than Allied intel had estimated, because, among other reasons, Rommel had moved a German mobile field division into the forward defenses instead of holding it in reserve. The Allies expected only a static division manned mainly by Russian & Polish former PoWs. Besides which, the defenses & additional offensive weaponry available to these men greatly multiplied their combat power.
Besides which the air bombardment that was supposed to soften up the defenses didn’t, but did kill a lot of Norman cows inland. And the swimming tanks thought essential for success sank at great loss, depriving the poor bloody infantry of armored protection & firepower.
Approximate German defensive power:
7,800 infantry
8 artillery bunkers
35 pillboxes
4 artillery pieces
6 mortar pits
18 anti-tank guns
45 rocket launcher sites
85 machine gun sites
6 tank turrets.
climatereason says:
June 6, 2014 at 10:46 am
The US 4th Division lost over four times as many men at Slapton Sands as on Utah Beach & the drive inland on June 6. The official death total for all servicemen in the fiasco is 946.
You’re right. There was a number of ways in which D-Day could have failed, despite Allied numerical superiority on the invasion beaches, as the breakout operation, which lasted much longer than expected, shows. High on the list is, as you note, the risk of German discovery of Overlord’s objective.

Alan Robertson

jimmaine says:
June 6, 2014 at 10:45 am
And speaking of D-Day…
The articles just keep on coming:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-06/world-war-ii-skeletons-washed-from-graves-by-rising-seas.html
__________________
I read that article and was not surprised at the factual inaccuracies, as that is all that is to be expected from the modern press.

george e. smith

“””””…..milodonharlani says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:35 am
george e. smith says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:08 am
We did not lose tens of thousands on D-Day itself. Ground forces casualties were around 9000, of whom about a third were killed or “missing”, as in direct hit from artillery projectiles. Precise figures aren’t available……”””””
Well it depends on how you view it. Maybe they didn’t all die that day. But that day, they were committed to that specific operation, that resulted in those numbers. Somewhere I saw Omaha first day was about 2500, and total for allies first day around 4,000, and I think that was just for the beach landings. But the cemeteries record the real numbers (on both sides).
Today, we are not willing to tolerate such losses; yet we do. 9/11 gave us such numbers; yet some are still upset at our response.

milodonharlani

george e. smith says:
June 6, 2014 at 11:10 am
We suffered over 2000 casualties on Omaha Beach, not fatalities. Besides our heavy losses on Omaha, casualties were also high among the two US airborne divisions, over 2000 casualities, IIRC. Utah, as noted, got off easy on June 6, with fewer than 200 dead (but dozens missing). However, it suffered disastrously in training.
Iwo was Marines, not GIs. Marines don’t like to be lumped in with “doggies”, although they sometimes are.
But to answer your question, the 36-day assault on Iwo-Jima cost more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead, of whom a few hundred were sailors on the ships sunk or damaged (not counting Navy medical corpsmen ashore). Don’t know about casualties among the Coast Guard coxswains of the landing craft.

milodonharlani

george e. smith says:
June 6, 2014 at 11:21 am
You have confused casualties with fatalities. Total Allied casualties on D-Day might have reached 10,000, but fewer than 3000 were KIA or died later of mortal wounds. Precise figures have been hard to come by, but the recent revisions cited in this link may now be the best available:
http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/d-day/d-day-and-the-battle-of-normandy-your-questions-answered

Evan Jones

World War II would not have been lost. But the Beastly Sovs might have been in Paris.

Evan Jones

My father was one of the first off the landing craft. (Fortunately for him, that was on Jun 7th!)

Gamecock

Mr. Palmer, I do take exception to the first part of this:
“Between the heavy damages to its cities and industries inflicted by the allied bombings and the overwhelming force of the Red Army, there was only one possible outcome.”
Allied bombing did little damage to industries. The strategic bombing campaign was a dismal failure in its primary objective. Because only 20% of the bombs aimed at precision targets fell within 1000 feet of their intended target. The bombing campaign did have other very important results, but damaging industry wasn’t one of them.

Evan Jones

I’m aware of that. I was just quoting from the article, and I assume that the author is aware of the losses, too. He probably meant to say that tens of thousands more would have died.
Tens of thousand did not die that day. By far the greatest loss of life (~5000) fell upon French civilians.

milodonharlani

evanmjones says:
June 6, 2014 at 11:46 am
Had VE Day been postponed into summer ’45, we’d have nuked Germany into submission.
Good for your dad on D+1.

Jimbo

German Luftwaffe meteorologists, however, relied on less sophisticated data and models than their Allied counterparts, says John Ross, author of “The Forecast for D-Day: And the Weatherman behind Ike’s Greatest Gamble.”

The Met Office now relies more on models and less on data.

milodonharlani

evanmjones says:
June 6, 2014 at 11:55 am
Again, good figures are hard to come by, but probably the number of civilians & soldiers killed that day were about equal, ie ~3000:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10877137/D-Day-French-torn-over-criminal-British-and-American-D-Day-bombings-of-Caen.html
War is atrocious. Caen probably didn’t need to be destroyed, but mistakes in war cost lives. It’s impossible to fight even on the right side without making horrible errors.

milodonharlani

Jimbo says:
June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Plus they get to make up their own data to support the models.

Hot under the collar

On this day all I can say is I have the greatest respect for the allied troops involved and sadness for all those who suffered throughout the war.

Evan Jones

Had VE Day been postponed into summer ’45, we’d have nuked Germany into submission.
I doubt it. By August 1945, the beastly Sovs would have been in Bordeaux. The Destruction of Army Group Center followed on by “Second Stalingrad” (in Rumania) made rapid German defeat inevitable (if it wasn’t already — which it was, really). The Germans were toast after Kursk at the latest. Not even Heinrici, Manstein, Kleist, or the other “Lions of Defense” could have saved them after that point.
The only real question is what the postwar map was going to look like. In that regard, though, the result of Op. Overlord was critical.

milodonharlani

Hot under the collar says:
June 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm
I wish that Sgt. Slaughter could have lived two years and weeks longer to have attended the 70th anniversary:
http://www.examiner.com/article/john-robert-slaughter-d-day-survivor-dies-at-the-age-of-87
He was among the handful of enlisted men, some who died before their deeds could be recorded, who picked themselves up off the beach, found paths up the cliffs, led their comrades under murderous fire to the top & assaulted the formidable, much stronger than expected German defenses, taking them by storm without the bombardment & armored support which planners felt would be needed.

Gil Dewart

One important factor that is apparent here is the military significance of atmospheric data, and hence its secrecy aspects. Be extremely wary of any publicly published data from theaters of military or naval operations. This has been impressed on me by a U.S. Army meteorologist who was present on D-Day, a metaorologist with the Soviet Army, and one with the Wehrmacht (he was lucky enough to have been stationed in southern France!). This whole question of the validity of atmospheric data from the many war zones of the twentieth century demands a thorough investigation and careful reconsideration.

ralfellis

One of the more interesting events of D-Day was the Dambuster squadron, who spent all morning in their Lancaster Bombers, going round and round in circles over the Channel.
What they were doing, is dropping chaff, at a groundspeed of 10 knots, that looked like a huge invasion force of ships heading for Calais. And so even up to the last minute, the Germans thought the primary landings would be at Calais (the nearest port).
R

TimC

Directive issued February 12, 1944 by the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff to General Eisenhower: “You will enter the continent of Europe and, in conjunction with the other United Nations, undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the destruction of her armed forces. The date for entering the Continent is the month of May, 1944”.
Easy to be wise with hindsight but this involved huge risk: first as inherent in any seaborne landing, second in breaching and overcoming the Atlantic Wall fortifications and third in opening the new front in France which could so easily have become bogged down into static warfare with huge loss of life, as 30 years earlier.
Eisenhower judged it right, including the vagaries of the British weather (which still confounds us natives to the point there are days we often talk of little else). From one born 4 years after the landing and (due to previous generations’ sacrifices) always having lived at peace, I can only say a sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who fought in that campaign, which liberated and has achieved peace in Europe throughout my lifetime.

milodonharlani

evanmjones says:
June 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm
It took the Red Army from June 1944 to May 1945 to get from the Dnieper to the Elbe, across flat terrain ideal for armored warfare. Without continued American aid, the Soviet offensive would have ground to a halt, especially with having to reduce Berlin. (Truman would have been less likely to keep supporting Stalin than FDR, dead in April.) The Red Army also would have run into the Luftwaffe, which had been stripped from the East to defend the homeland, along with the ten thousand 88mm AAA/AT guns used against the British & American air forces over Germany instead of against Russian tanks.
If the western Allies were advancing from the South of France, IMO we’d have shaken hands on the Rhine, at best, but even that’s dubious. With Hitler gone, the Germans would have let western forces in & concentrated everything against the Soviets.
We tested the Pu implosion device in July, but the gun-assembly U bomb could have been ready sooner, since it wasn’t felt to need testing (& there was not then enough U available for both a test & a bomb).
But who knows?

Gunga Din

Michael Palmer says:
June 6, 2014 at 9:15 am
George – I’m aware of that. I was just quoting from the article, and I assume that the author is aware of the losses, too. He probably meant to say that tens of thousands more would have died.

=======================================================================
Or tens of thousands of the Allies lost at sea for zero gain.

climatereason says:
It is incorrect to believe the Germans were already defeated.
Gen. George Patton wrote in his autobiography War As I Knew It: “We could still lose this war.” Patton wrote that in his daily diary while commanding the 3rd Army in Europe, so he would know.
[There is a p.s. to history: Patton was murdered with the connivance of Eisenhower and the Russians.]
++++++++++++++++++++
Eliza says:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/jun/06/97-consensus-global-warming
Wow the guardian published THIS???

Amazing. Another crack in the consensus.