“Keep moving chaps, keep it moving, Jerry will be expecting us.” It was the morning of D-Day, my men and I were aboard a fleet of British and American ships, steaming across the Channel towards the coast of Normandy to embark on the greatest mission ever. We were in a long line of men waiting to board our landing craft that would take us to our beach.
We had all heard the rumours that our beach was the best defended and would probably have the worst casualty rating of them all.”We are just lucky to be in the second wave,” Sergeant Wood had remarked over breakfast, until someone had reminded him casualty rates for the second wave were expected to be nearly as high as the first. So we lined up waiting to board our landing craft as we shuffled forward in near silence, watching the sea rise and fall and the barrage balloons drift across the dim morning sky and I wondered if I would live to see home again.0630 hoursAboard The Landing CraftThe craft rocks from side to side, the sounds of men being sick echo through my head.
The whistles of the ships artillery as their shells fly over head. “30 seconds,” shouted the driver of the landing craft over the sound of the explosions. “GET YOUR HEADS DOWN,” I shout as a Stuka dives to strafe the boat next to us, which explodes in a shower of flame as the Stuka pulls out of its dive, a bomb short.I feel the spray of blood lash against my cheeks as bits off flesh drop from the sky into the water around us.
More men puke over the side. “20 seconds” shouts the driver. “Ok men this is going to be tough, keep low and use the cover you can and you should be all right. Help each other out and work as small teams, and men I’ll see you on the beach.
” I shout to the men “10 seconds, clear the ramp and Gods speed to you all” said the driver for the final time. There was a whirring sound as the winch releases the ramp and a splash as it hits the water. Hell is then unleashed.0645On Omaha Beach, Dog SectorThe sound of heavy machine guns blast through the air and the bullets ricochet around the inside of the landing craft slicing though flesh and bone like a razor though rice paper.
I managed to struggle my way out the landing craft and onto the beach with Sergeant Wood behind me. I crawl up to the tank trap in front of me that would provide cover from the machine guns that strafe the beach.”What the fuck do we do now, Sir?” shouted Corporal Malarkey.”Get your cold wet ass up the beach Corporal!” I replied.
I moved toward a group of soldiers huddled behind a tank trap. As I approached slowly using as much cover as I could a soldier ran past me and toward the sea wall but he never made it about 5 foot ahead of me he took a shot to the head that made his brain explode. When I reached the soldiers I shouted “keep moving up the beach if you stay here you’re a dead man.” We break into small groups to provide a smaller target for the enemy as we move up the beach.
I begin to run towards another tank trap that would provide some cover but half way a cross there was an explosion about 2 yards away that sent me flying I landed face fist when I rolled over I had a mouth full of sand, I spat it out and shouted “Im ok.” As I looked around I found out that I had been throne in the direction of the sea wall and was about 9 yard from it. I scrabbled in the sand to get up and running, I landed with a thump as I leap for the sea wall. Bullets fly over head impacting with a thump in arms, legs, chests and heads.
Men crumple to the floor crying out in pain and fear. “Were the hell are we,” I shout to Sergeant Mendez.”Right were we are supposed to be but no one else is,” he shouts back.”We need to get thought this bank,” I shout to no one in particular.
“Bring up the Bangalore’s,” I yell to private Barns. He scrambles towards me but takes a shot to the leg that takes out his knee cap he screams out in pain. “Sergeant fetch the Bangalore’s.” Sergeant Mendez scrambles up and runs over to the stricken private, unexpectedly he picks up Barns and carry’s him to the sea wall and returns to gather up the Bangalore’s.
We prime them and slide them in to the sand around the edge of the bank.”Fire in the hole,” I scream as we ignite the fuses, we scramble away from the explosives. A wall of sand rises into the air with an almighty thud. When the dust clears we can see that a path is clear thought the sand wall.”Get your ass’s thought this gap,” I call to the men we scramble thought leaving the sand behind and advance into the unknown…