Navigation bar
  Home View PDF document Start Previous page
 9 of 32 
Next page End 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14  

On the night of 5 June 1944, shadowy figures dropped out of the black skies over Normandy. Planes
roared in the midnight heavens, and from their interiors the paratroopers poured, counted ten, and opened silken
parachutes. The skies were alive with them, camouflaged umbrellas of foliage-green carrying men, and red
parachutes riding ammunition to earth. The skies rained down equipment, and sp1ashed vital medical supplies to
the ground. And coasting silently downward came the gliders, more American Air-borne infantrymen, rushing
like doom into the battle. 
This was the beginning, the spearhead, the courageous vanguard of the tremendous Allied fury which
was in another day to be unleashed on the sandy beaches of Normandy, France. 
The 6th of June was officially D-Day. Then the Allies struck with irresistible might. The story of this
unparalleled invasion, unequaled in the history of the world in scope or in power, has already been told many
times. It is written indelibly in the glorious annals of our American history. It need not be repeated here. 
We are concerned primarily with the 790th Ordnance Company. While America launched its attack, the
Liberty ship bearing the company hugged the shores of England, keeping its place in the mighty Armada, holding
its position in the great plan of attack. Slowly it moved forward, a tiny cog in a vast machinery of shipping. The
world was made up of ships. Nothing else. Even the sparkle of the water was lost. Only ships – and equipment
– and men – and the mean-looking muzzles of the long range artillery. 
On the morning of the 8th, two Ordnance ships moved into previously ordered positions some distance
off the shores of Utah Beach. All morning they waited, the two ships, one containing the vehicles and its
personnel, the other the Ordnance personnel not assigned to trucks. 
Early in the afternoon the first signal came. One of the ships moved up towards the shore. While hell
was breaking loose, Ordnance men poured out and began wading ashore. The artillery fire was heavy and
intense but the men pushed ahead, packs on their backs, their weapons held high over their heads. Without a
single casualty they reached the banks of Utah Beach. 
It was almost midnight before the second ship moved in as close as it could safely get to shore. The
world was now in chaos. It rocked with fire and was covered with the black, smoky pall of imminent death. 
The heavens were lighted by flares which went on and off like giant fireflies. The crash and thunder of
heavy artillery shells pounded on without respite. The great ship rolled as their big guns spewed forth death and
destruction into the blackness of the shores. The answering volleys from the hills screamed the Heinie challenge
of death. The reddish-orange flame and fire of the incessant gunnery burned the night with a weird glow. 
Death was everywhere. 
On the LST’s the Ordnance trucks were ready. Their motors were turning, ready to go. The muffled
hum of the impatient jeeps could be heard as drivers crept into position behind the wheels and stepped on
starters. In other landing craft, men with equipment piled high on their backs waited patiently, saying little, only
their tight lips betraying their feelings. 
Previous page Top Next page