Skip to comments.The Horrible Waste of War
Posted on 06/06/2017 4:37:31 AM PDT by MNJohnnie
The Horrible Waste of War
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 16, 1944 I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France.
It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didnt know they were in the water, for they were dead.
The water was full of squishy little jellyfish about the size of your hand. Millions of them. In the center each of them had a green design exactly like a four-leaf clover. The good-luck emblem. Sure. Hell yes.
I walked for a mile and a half along the waters edge of our many-miled invasion beach. You wanted to walk slowly, for the detail on that beach was infinite.
The wreckage was vast and startling. The awful waste and destruction of war, even aside from the loss of human life, has always been one of its outstanding features to those who are in it. Anything and everything is expendable. And we did expend on our beachhead in Normandy during those first few hours.
For a mile out from the beach there were scores of tanks and trucks and boats that you could no longer see, for they were at the bottom of the water swamped by overloading, or hit by shells, or sunk by mines. Most of their crews were lost.
You could see trucks tipped half over and swamped. You could see partly sunken barges, and the angled-up corners of jeeps, and small landing craft half submerged. And at low tide you could still see those vicious six-pronged iron snares that helped snag and wreck them.
On the beach itself, high and dry, were all kinds of wrecked vehicles. There were tanks that had only just made the beach before being knocked out. There were jeeps that had been burned to a dull gray. There were big derricks on caterpillar treads that didnt quite make it. There were half-tracks carrying office equipment that had been made into a shambles by a single shell hit, their interiors still holding their useless equipage of smashed typewriters, telephones, office files.
There were LCTs turned completely upside down, and lying on their backs, and how they got that way I dont know. There were boats stacked on top of each other, their sides caved in, their suspension doors knocked off.
In this shoreline museum of carnage there were abandoned rolls of barbed wire and smashed bulldozers and big stacks of thrown-away lifebelts and piles of shells still waiting to be moved.
In the water floated empty life rafts and soldiers packs and ration boxes, and mysterious oranges.
On the beach lay snarled rolls of telephone wire and big rolls of steel matting and stacks of broken, rusting rifles.
On the beach lay, expended, sufficient men and mechanism for a small war. They were gone forever now. And yet we could afford it.
We could afford it because we were on, we had our toehold, and behind us there were such enormous replacements for this wreckage on the beach that you could hardly conceive of their sum total. Men and equipment were flowing from England in such a gigantic stream that it made the waste on the beachhead seem like nothing at all, really nothing at all.
A few hundred yards back on the beach is a high bluff. Up there we had a tent hospital, and a barbed-wire enclosure for prisoners of war. From up there you could see far up and down the beach, in a spectacular crows-nest view, and far out to sea.
And standing out there on the water beyond all this wreckage was the greatest armada man has ever seen. You simply could not believe the gigantic collection of ships that lay out there waiting to unload.
Looking from the bluff, it lay thick and clear to the far horizon of the sea and beyond, and it spread out to the sides and was miles wide. Its utter enormity would move the hardest man.
As I stood up there I noticed a group of freshly taken German prisoners standing nearby. They had not yet been put in the prison cage. They were just standing there, a couple of doughboys leisurely guarding them with tommy guns.
The prisoners too were looking out to sea the same bit of sea that for months and years had been so safely empty before their gaze. Now they stood staring almost as if in a trance.
They didnt say a word to each other. They didnt need to. The expression on their faces was something forever unforgettable. In it was the final horrified acceptance of their doom.
If only all Germans could have had the rich experience of standing on the bluff and looking out across the water and seeing what their compatriots saw.
All our modern journalist claim they want to be like Pyle. But none of them have his qualities. For one he relished rubbing elbows with the common people and held them up in honor not looking down at them as if they are something to be scraped off their shoes. He had an eye on the little everyday things not worshiping the glitter. But mainly like Will Rogers he was just straight forwardly honest.
Never forget that war is a terrible thing. War is not to be entered into lightly.
[Hint to McCain, Graham, and their fellow neoconservative war hawks.]
Never forget that some options are even worse than war. War is not an option to be completely dismissed, not in those situations when the cost of not fighting is even higher.
[Hint to Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Schumer, and their fellow liberal globalists.]
The US Army did not leave dead GI’s floating in the water 10 days after D Day
My Dad came ashore on D-Day +3. Other than to remind me that he wasn’t in the initial D-Day landings, Dad never said a word about that day, ever.
The USA could not repeat this feat because of traitorous Free Trade policies, offshoring and globalism. Hopefully we will never have to. Ain't de-industrialization great?
One thing that is seldom mentioned. The absolutely vital nature of setting up a beachhead with which to invade Europe.
156,000 Allied soldiers and seamen were involved. While it was absolutely *not* desired, in exchange for setting up this beachhead, casualties of up to 90% were deemed “acceptable”. 140,000 casualties.
Not desirable, by any stretch of the imagination, but “acceptable”, in exchange for accomplishing their mission.
Actual losses: 10,000+ Allied casualties; 4,414 confirmed dead. About 9.3% total injured and killed. Almost miraculous, considering the forces leveled against them.
Now put this into perspective.
Siege of Leningrad 1,117,0004,500,000 casualties.
Battle of Stalingrad 1,250,0001,800,000 casualties.
Battle of Berlin 1,300,000 casualties.
Battle of Kiev 701,000 casualties.
Siege of Budapest 422,000 casualties.
I mention this for a very important reason.
US Navy Intelligence estimates were that, the later invasion of the island of Japan would take some 2,000,000 Allied forces.
Or two nuclear bombs.
Many Americans are alive today because we did not need to invade Japan.
“Anything and everything is expendable”
Not in my book - I really want to learn from history, even going back just 100 years.
Not one more drop of American blood for Europe ever again. It was BS then and it’s BS now. Proof is in the Puddin’...
“Not one more drop of American blood for Europe ever again. It was BS then and its BS now. Proof is in the Puddin...”
I’m afraid your beliefs deservedly aren’t shared by a whole lot of Americans.
We are allies to many European countries, and deservedly so. Would you abandon the great Polish people we saw just yesterday, who wholeheartedly support President Trump?
Despite their problems, Europe’s countries are great allies, and will help with the fight against terrorism and totalitarianism. Many of those countries also possess nuclear weapons and are a bulwark against nuclear aggression.
Thanks for the response, PL - as I grow older (just turned 70), I less and less care about whether my beliefs are shared by a “whole lot of Americans.” In fact, it would frighten me to think any of my opinions were shared by the ‘majority.’ There is no excuse to be a dumbass any more, but dumbasses abound.
The deep level of bamboozlement that goes on among my fellow countrymen/women, especially the lazy ones who flip on Fox or Rush and think they are getting informed about anything, now that really is astounding. I voted for Trump precisely because of his words of peacemaking, not warmongering. Yet, there we are continuing on as if nothing were different had Obama/Clinton were in charge. Doesn’t that make you wonder at all?
As long as Poland has thrown in with the Globalist NWO crowd as a member of the EU, I definitely would abandon them to their chosen protectors. The Enemy of my Enemy no longer works for me, and it shouldn’t for any thinking person. Being an Ally to America has been a de facto one way street both in blood and money for a long time, kind of making me think of the word ‘mercenaries.’
The Open Borders demagogues are ruling the day, so why go to “war” when the Invasion of our country and Europe is already under way with the blessing of the Govt. leaders both here and in Europe. The MAGA crowd is turning a blind eye to what is going on... at your own peril, and unfortunately mine, too.
He did not say they did.
Another comparison: From December 16 1944 to January 31 1945, the United States Army incurred about 75000 casualties during the Battle of the Bulge. During November 1943, the Red Army suffered about 75000 casualties in driving the Germans out of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The Battle of the Bulge was the largest land battle ever fought by the United States Army.
On the eastern front, Mariupol is a footnote.
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