Monday, June 6, 2016


This day (6 June) in 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Normandy begins. D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, commences with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.

Overshadowed in history by Marines who fought World War II's Pacific island battles, fewer than 6,000 Marines participated in the Atlantic, North African and European campaigns. 

Masters of amphibious warfare tactics, Marines served as planners for the North African, Mediterranean and Normandy invasions. 

Shipboard detachments of Marines served throughout the landings in North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Normandy invasion as gun crews aboard battleships and cruisers. A 200-man detachment was normally carried aboard a battleship, and 80 Marines served aboard cruisers to man the secondary batteries of 5-inch guns providing fire for the landing forces. 
During the June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion, Marines, renowned as expert riflemen, played a vital role reminiscent of the days of the sailing Navy when sharpshooters were sent to the fighting tops. Stationed high in the superstructures of the invasion fleet, Marine riflemen exploded floating mines in the path of the ships moving across the English Channel to the beaches of Normandy. 

On Aug. 29, 1944, during the invasion of southern France, Marines from the battleship USS Augusta and the cruiser USS Philadelphia went ashore in Marseilles harbor to accept the surrender of more than 700 Germans who had fortified island garrisons. 
Although few, these proud Marines played a vital role in the Atlantic, African and European campaigns of World War II.

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