General Mark W. Clark- Inscription at exit to American cemetery in Normandy, France.
About 2500 Americans died on June 6, 1944. That number was to rise dramatically in the coming days while the US airborne was asked to clear to Cotentin Península, and the US Infanty engaged in a meter-by-meter fight to clear the hundreds of hedgerows that lined the interior of Normandy. While the initial landing was a success, it took weeks until the allies could break out of Normandy and head towards Paris. The fighting was difficult and intense and deadly.
THE BATTLE BELONGED THAT MORNING TO THE THIN, WET LINE OF KHAKI THAT DRAGGED ITSELF ASHORE ON THE CHANNEL COAST OF FRANCE.
General Omar N. Bradley
U.S. First Army Commander
In 1940 Germany fielded the best and most professional army in the world. By the time the citizen soldiers of America began to engage the German Army in Africa, there was considerable doubt about the ability of the US soldier and the Generals who led them. Several US commanders in the African and Italian campaigns were replaced. Luckly, there were men like Omar Bradely and George Patton who were available to take over command. Meanwhile, in remote camps across the United States, a new type of elite solider, called "Airborne" were undergoing intense training for the drop behind enemy lines when the time came to invade Europe.
By June 1944 the American Army was ready. And those 18-25 year olds showed their true mettle and courage in places like Normandy, and Bastogne, Belgium, when Airborne troops wearing summer clothing, dug into the frozen ground outside of Bastogne, with little more than some mortars, grenades, and their rifles, and fought the Wehrmacht to a standstill until the weather cleared. In nearly every battle and in the war, the United States showed that their citizen soldiers were equal to, and superior, to the professional German army,
YOU CAN MANUFACTURE WEAPONS AND YOU CAN PURCHASE AMMUNITION, BUT YOU CAN'T BUY VALOR AND YOU CAN'T PULL HEROES OFF AN ASSEMBLY LINE.
Sergeant John B. Ellery
U.S. 1st Infantry Division- this quote is on the wall at the US Cemetery in Normandy.