Today is the 64th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied Powers' invasion of Normandy, France, during World War II. The military operation was the largest single-day operation of all time, with 130,000 troops landing on Normandy coast.
National Geographics magazine has the fascinating article by Thomas B. Allen on the untold stories of D-Day ... some stories are so secret that they've just recently been declassified:
For Joe Vaghi and tens of thousands of other Americans stationed in England in the spring of 1944, France was the Far Shore, the place where they would finally meet the Nazis in a fight to the death. To prepare, they trained along a stretch of English coast that had been cleared of civilians. It was called Slapton Sands, a tranquil beach that was chosen for its geographic similarity to the coast of Normandy. Their most realistic training was Exercise Tiger, a live-ammunition D-Day rehearsal that involved some 300 ships and 30,000 men in April 1944, six weeks before the invasion.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Operation Overlord (Allied code for the invasion itself), was aboard an observers' ship on April 27, when Exercise Tiger went terribly wrong—failed air cover, late landing craft, confusion on the beachhead. Amphibious tanks, heading to shore, misaimed their guns and wounded soldiers on the beach. At least one of the tanks sank in choppy seas while its frantic crew managed to escape. Furious, Eisenhower returned to his headquarters, deeply worried about what the exercise augured for D-Day.
Link (Photo: National Archives) - Thanks Marilyn Terrell!