“If You See General Ike, Tell Him We’re The Boys Who Can Do It.”

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Jun 6, 1944

D-DAY — from History.com

During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

Delta Democrat Times (Greenville, Mississippi) Jun 6, 1944

First Wave Of Assault Troops Mowed Down

By James C. McGlincy
United Press War Correspondent

LONDON, June 7. — Some of the first assault troops who stormed the French beaches were mowed down by German crossfire but succeeding waves climbed over their bodies until a foothold was established, an eye-witness who returned from the beachhead reported today.

Bert Brandt, 28, an Acme News photographer, spent a half hour on the beach yesterday and several hours more cruising within gunshot of the landing scene.
“It was hotter than hell over there,” Brandt said. “I was at Anzio but Anzio was nothing like this.”

He said the Germans laid down intensive fire on the beaches with well-emplaced machine-guns. American casualties were spotty, heavy on some beaches and light on others.

On one beach, Brandt reported, the German machine-gunners waited until the landing craft lowered their ramps and then poured deadly fire into the barges. The opposition met by the first wave delayed the landing of demolition parties scheduled to follow with heavy equipment.

The German defenses finally crumbled under the weight of attack and by the time Brandt left the beachhead at 3 P.M. yesterday, the Americans were firmly ashore and beginning to advance inland.

“The whole thing was an unbelievable sight,” Brandt said. “Planes criss-crossed overhead constantly. You never could look up without seeing a formation of planes somewhere, P-38s and P-47s zoomed right overhead all the time blasting the German defenses.

“Some boats were burning and a pall of smoke hung over the beach. I saw some of the bodies of our soldiers who had been killed in the first landings floating in the water. Some of the boats were swamped in the choppy seas.

“There were tremendous rafts just floating offshore jammed with trucks, tanks and ambulances. On one beach we landed tanks from LCT’s. Then some waves of Infantry went in, followed by engineers and then more Infantry.

“On the beaches the men crouched behind jeeps, tanks, anything they could find for cover. At one point they made their way to the German concrete defense wall, and that was the first cover they found.

“Right off the beach were tall cliffs which were scaled by the rangers. They captured gun positions within 15 minutes after they went in.”

Despite fierce resistance, Brandt said, everyone was calm and the operation was well organized. On the landing boats going over, the troops were so confident, Brandt was worried. He saw Pvt. Charles Blackledge, Columbia, Miss., sitting amid bangalore torpedoes, bazookas, TNT and other deadly weapons reading a little black-covered Bible.

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Jun 6, 1944

He snapped a picture of one boy asleep on top of a jeep five minutes before landing. As the troops went overside into smaller boats for the assault, one yelled: “If you see General Ike, tell him we’re the boys who can do it.”

Two negro jeep drivers stood at the rail looking at the looming continent.

“Yassuh,” one laughed, “theah she am!”

One small boat which supported the landing was commanded by Lt. Richard Margetts, San Diego, Cal. Its crew included Lt. ?g? Chester Hendrickson, Grove City, Minn., Cox. Robert Jaggers, Stantonville, Tenn., Seaman 1c Gilbert Aguilar, Houston, Tex., and Seaman John Hornyal, Bridgeport, Conn.

After piloting an assault craft ashore and back to the larger ship, Seaman 1c Forrest Hillegas, Allentown, Pa., called: “Anybody got a cigaret? I think I’ve got one coming after that.”

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Jun 6, 1944

Brandt hitch-hiked back on a boat returning with wounded in order to get his pictures out. In a corner of the returning craft a wounded boy sat sobbing. He told Brandt:

“For three years I’ve been training for this and what happens? As soon as I get off the boat I get hit. I didn’t even get a chance to fire a shot at a German.”

Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) Jun 7, 1944

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