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The lack of what was needed on D-Day

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, I was 12 years old. Not old enough for military service, but old enough to read the papers and follow the events of the war. At that time, I had four uncles and two older cousins who were in the Army, and I would hear from them from time to time.

Seven years later, when the Korean War came, I was the right age for that. I went into the Army in December 1952. In basic training, we were issued M1 rifles, the same as the troops at Normandy had in 1944. But we also had some updated equipment:

We were told that you now have the 3.5-inch rocket launcher that has a warhead large enough to penetrate a concrete bunker or a heavily-armored vehicle.

As I waited my turn to fire one of these, I realized, this is something our troops should have had on D-Day 1944.

Our troops were faced with making their way up the beach, under fire, to get close enough to the concrete bunkers that housed machine guns and heavier guns to take them out with what they had. The longer it took to do this, the more of our troops were cut down.

The loss of life was heavy that day: 4,414 Allied troops were killed, 2,501 of them were Americans.

So, as we observe the 80th anniversary of what was done on that day, we are grateful that in spite of not having everything they needed, that our troops, through sheer determination, got the job done.

Tom Snyder, Butler

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