Monday, March 01, 2010

D-Day by Anthony Beevor (1 )

"I had no idea it was so violent," my father said of the battle for Normandy after reading Beevor's latest bestseller. D-Day took place four days after his seventeenth birthday.

His brother landed on the beaches six days later with the 7th Armoured Division. He never spoke much about his experiences in Normandy.

Average German losses on the Eastern Front were 1000 per division per month in 1944, while the Red Army's were probably under 1500 per month.

In Normandy the Germans suffered 2300 losses per division per month and the Allies 2000. It was VERY violent.

Casualties on D-Day itself were lighter than expected, but by the end of the month the British had suffered 24,698 casualties, the Americans 34,034 and the Germans 80,783.

15,000 French civilians died in the pre-invasion bombing campaign. 3,000 more died on the first day, double the number of American dead. (1,465).

It is said that the people of Caen couldn't "face a ripe Camembert for a long time because of the terrible memories evoked by the smell." Red crosses made by soaking blood onto linen were placed outside the refuge at the Convent of Bon Sauvuer in the city to alert approaching aircraft. The Allies mistakenly believed that most of the population had heeded warnings to depart before the bombardment and the British assault.

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