Filed under: Canada, Europe, Freedom, History, Military, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Normandy'sFive Invasion Beaches, The Great Allied Fleet, The Longest Day
Major Werner Pluskat in his bunker overlooking Omaha Beach had heard nothing from his superiors. He was cold, tired and exasperated. He felt isolated. He couldn’t understand why there had been no reports from either regimental or division headquarters. …Once more he swung the artillery glasses over to the left, picked up the dark mass of the Cherbourg peninsula and began another slow sweep of the horizon. The same low banks of mist came into view, the same patches of shimmering moonlight, the same restless white flecked sea.
Behind him in the bunker his dog Harras, was stretched out asleep. Nearby , Captain Ludz Wilkening and Lieutenant Fritz Theen were talking quietly. Pluskat joined them. “Still nothing out there,” he told them.” I’m about to give it up. But he walked back to the aperture and stood looking out as the first streaks of light began to lighten the sky. He decided to make another routine sweep.
Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard.
Through the scattering thinning mist the horizon was filling with ships — ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says that in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.” Cornelius Ryan: The Longest Day
ADDENDUM: The Greatest Generation is passing into history. The youngest who turned 18 in 1943 will be 95 years old in 2014. Honor them, for they saved the world at enormous cost. Think too, of those on the home front who built the ships and planes and made the materials that won the war. They built the arsenal of Democracy.
They were slogging, unglamorous men that no one envied. No battle ensigns flew for them no horns or bugles sounded. But they had history on their side