Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 6, 2011 / 4 Sivan, 5771

D Day: The Ripple Effect

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | June 6 will forever, be "D-Day," the largest amphibious invasion in history. The Allies took enormous risks to liberate Europe by landing men and machines on beaches protected by Hitler's impregnable, "Atlantic Wall." Some years ago, I wrote, "The First Wave," an article for American Heritage magazine.

My British cousin, Max Winer, sparked my original interest when he told me he worked during WWII in "Smith's Potato Crisp" factory, on a secret project, the swimming tanks used on D-Day. Churchill adored military gadgets, and one of these took American Sherman tanks and floated them with an inflatable canvas skirt so the tank's turret floated above the surface of a lake or river. Twin screws in the rear propelled it in the water. Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall planned to use these and other special tanks for clearing obstacles in the amphibious invasion of France but Eisenhower only wanted the floating tanks. General Eisenhower took a joy ride on one of the floating tanks and it was love at first sight. Eisenhower raved about how the DD tanks would be a godsend for our troops, leading in the very first wave of the invasion.

Omaha Beach was the deadliest place on earth on June 6, 1944. German defenders fired at will at the Americans and the mines, barbed wire and obstacles were untouched. There was no place for the troops to hide from the machine guns. And the pounding waves kept bring more and more men ashore. Only 2 of the swimming tanks arrived on Omaha that day to support the troops. The American troops were shocked. They had been told the artillery, the bombing and the tanks that would "soften" German defenses. Soldiers inching their way forward, crawled over obstacles and bodies of their comrades on Omaha Beach that day asked, "Where are the tanks?"

40 years after D-Day, the U.S. Army's 741st Tank Battalion, the unit with the swimming tanks meant for Omaha Beach; invited me to their annual reunion. I met these veterans who recounted their training, the teamwork, the battle, and those who fell forever. In the interviews I was often told that coming in to shore on D-Day everyone realized the seas were much rougher than in training but the Navy had launched the tanks anyway. The Navy just kept launching the tanks as they kept sinking, with the men inside.

Colonel Robert Skaggs, the highest ranking surviving officer, told me the 741st didn't discuss the Navy. Although the 741st had trained and counted the sailors as their friends, he said they now consider these Navy men cowards. The seas were rough that day and if the sailors brought the landing craft carrying the tanks to the beach German mines or guns might them all up. "But that was their duty." Instead, the Navy launched the tanks 6,000 yards from shore in rough seas. The first tanks sank moments after they entered the water as the inflated canvas and rubber tubing systems were swamped and crushed by the rough seas.

Everyone saw that the first tanks sank, the process of launching the remainder still continued without interruption. All the tanks struggled and then and sank to the bottom, except for two.

On the other American, and Allied beaches, the Army and Navy at various levels reacted to the threatening seas by ignoring their training, disregarding the plan and launched the floating tanks very close in, or directly on the beach. The British had great success using the other specialized tanks that cleared obstacles. The 741st Tank Battalion went on to be a highly decorated unit in some of the toughest battles of World War II, but on D-Day they never stood a chance.

I told Colonel Skaggs I was confused. I pulled out my documents from the National Archives, after action reports, etc. My research uncovered that the Army insisted on being in charge on D-Day, including making all the launch decisions. The Navy could train and transport the battalion with the swimming tanks, but the Army was in charge. Two senior Navy officers who trained with the 741st volunteered to go with the tank battalion on D-Day. They warned Admiral King that the Army's short and intensive training did not prepare the Army men to assess the tides and sea conditions at the invasion site but King did not want to buck the Army.

The decision as to when, and how, to launch the swimming tanks for the 741st Tank Battalion was made by two of the battalion's young Army captains. Without previous battle, invasion or nautical experience the Army captains made the decisions to launch according to plan. An after action report says that one of the young Captains even tried to reach Colonel Skaggs on the radio for advice, but failed to get him.

Skaggs told his men about my research. It was one of life's rarest moments, when truth has the power to dissolve years of hate. Perhaps the Army did not share this information with the battalion's men in deference to the young Captains, who had both died in subsequent battles; but the 741st had always blamed the Navy. The following year the 741st Tank Battalion reunion was larger. They had located, and invited the surviving sailors who had trained and transported them on D-Day to join them.

Inter-service politics continued to haunt the 741st Tank Battalion. After 40 years, the tanks, and any human remains; sat on the bottom of the ocean, subject to the elements, and scavengers. The French asked the United States, "to return the remains of the soldier-heroes back to their families for final and decent burial." The Army sent a lone diver to the site, who rented scuba equipment and after two days; couldn't find the tanks. The Army refused to fund further search efforts. Their position was that the Navy should handle it and that, "The Army's responsibility begins when the tanks are out of the water…" The Navy's position was that the tanks belonged to the Army. My article prompted a number of letters to Congressmen, and finally resulted in a salvage effort. But it was too late. They found the tanks and brought a few ashore but no human remains; nature and scavengers had done their worst.

The article had another result. Today, if you go to Colleville-sur-Mer, at "Omaha Beach" an engraved plaque shows images of the floating tanks and pays homage to the 741st Tank Battalion with the simple inscription, "June 6, 1944 - The First Wave attached to the First Infantry Division received the Distinguished Unit Citation - Order 42."

And. there was something else I learned about writing history…

American Heritage magazine's staff constantly asked that I verify the facts included in my article. They required multiple confirmation of everything from the water temperature that day to the weight of the gear. Even the smallest fact or bit of wrong information would be cited in the future by others. I was warned that mistakes would reflect poorly on the publication, and me. When I opened my issue of American Heritage magazine, I eagerly turned to my article, "The First Wave," with a large photograph of the invasion. The caption read, "U.S. troops wade ashore at Utah Beach on June 5, 1944."

With appreciation for all those who served,
Alan Douglas

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.


Previously:

What are you paying for?
Law, Etiquette and 5 Rules
Inspiration
Confusing Kindness with Weakness
When Katie Couric Got Pulled Off the Air…
Don't second guess the deceased
Pain and legacies
Being in the No
The Sixth Sense
Dogs in Danger
Facebook, LinkedIn and the Zuckerberg Exit
Simon Bolivar Would Tell Glenn Beck to, ‘Put A Sock In It’
Children and Grandchildren
Swearing, Shoes, and Mark Twain
How my poor man's Porsche, Virgil, prepared me for life
Leases and Landing Gear
The Oscars, Obama and Job Creation
Damages and Penalties
Obstacles with Impossibilities
Making Others Feel Bad
Referrals and Recommendations
Woodpecker Frustration
Phrases, Not Resolutions
I Was A Crime Fighter and Super Hero
Comforting with Sympathizing
Nautical Worry Killers
Can You Keep A Secret?
Holiday Card Hazards
Gifts
Sharing, Transparency and Dumping
Red Alert
Readers Respond Regarding Rabbi
Readers: I Need Your Help with my Rabbi
Humphrey Bogart and P. T. Barnum on Fighting with Family and Friends
Columbus, Honors and Hound Dogs
The Free Lunch
When your child suffers
Conversational Transmitted Diseases
Conservative, Liberal or American
Paris, Antarctica and Shopping
Personal Protection
Dispute Resolution
Jumped or Pushed?
Friends and Acquaintances
Revenge and Vindication

© 2010 Alan Douglas

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles