Potentially Disturbing Content Omaha, Bloody Omaha

You can take your 'holier-than-thou- attitude' about history, especially the history of war, and politely put it somewhere the sun doesn't shine. If you had even a modicum of understanding of the history of the world (just the last 6000 years of recorded history will suffice), you would understand that the world is governed by the extreme use of force. Sure, I'd prefer it not be that way, but that is the way it is. You probably wouldn't be alive today if someone hadn't laid down their life to protect yours.

My father and my uncle landed on Normandy Beach on June 6, 1944, as did the fathers of every single young man and woman I grew up with. If you are not happy about the way things worked out, I'm sure you can find yourself a little bungalow in North Korea somewhere.

Let's get this out of the way first: I am German and I have nothing but thankfulness, awe and respect for the allied soldiers who went ashore in Normandy in 1944. It was necessary, it was right and the world is better for all that they have sacrificed. I am saying that as a member of the former enemy nation and someone who's ancestors fought bravely on entirely the wrong side.

Yet I have no respect for your comment. Your interpretation of Peter's photograph and words is entirely wrong. I happen to know Peter personally and I can assure you that he means no disrespect whatsoever for the allied soldiers let alone let alone your father. Yet I have come to know him as a man who has seen too much of the world as not to know that people are fundamentally alike and that war is a human tragedy. Your father was brave beyond what I can imagine to go ashore in Normandy and it was, as I said necessary and right. Still it was folly that the war came to be in the first place. Certainly not your father's fault, it was my nation's fault and madness that is to blame. The war was a folly for sure.

I do not share your opinion that extreme violence governs the world. It certainly is an aspect of human history, but it is only one. It is there to be overcome.

If you feel offended by what you read in this forum I recommend asking questions and making sure what the author intends to say before writing offending comments yourself. In this case you're fighting an enemy of your very own making.
Geez Gar, didn't your mom ever tell you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
My dad landed at Inchon and spent the winter up at the Chosin Reservoir.
I view Peter's post as his way of acknowledging the sacrifices made on D-day.
On reading and re-reading Gary's response I was troubled by his response. But then I re-read Peter's post and had to concede that he may have a point. I disagree with Peter's first statement on "the folly of all wars". I would have replaced "folly" with "tragedy". In my opinion not all wars are follys. But it is tragic that we have to go to war. Sometimes the only way to stop the "Bad Guys" is with force. That is all they understand.

So lets put this tiff down to being a bit of a misunderstanding and carry on with being civil.
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I apologise unreservedly for the offence that this post has caused.
The post was ill-timed and ineptly worded.
God knows, no disrespect was intended. Quite the reverse.
The remorse I feel will stay with me for a long time.

Why are you apologizing, Peter? Your post was timely, well-balanced, and clearly not disrespectful. My mother participated in the Resistance against Nazi-fascism by bringing information, food and weapons to partisans in the mountains, risking torture, being shot on the spot or deported. She is the one who taught me that war is always a folly.
It's not you that should apologize.
I was immediately taken aback by @Gary Gruber's apparently visceral (and, to me, objectionable) response. Upon reflection I wonder if it was the depiction of an American soldier as "a symbol of the folly of all wars" that caused his reaction. For what it's worth I do not think that was Peter's intent.
It is unfortunate that @Gary Gruber's intemperate response to @Peter Roberts' post and images has detracted from what was, for me, a very thought-provoking post. Thank you @Peter Roberts for posting this. It caused me many hours of contemplation, reflection and looking at some old photos.

A particularly bloody battle in WWI was the Battle of Delville Wood, which was part of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. My paternal grandfather and two of his brothers fought in Delville Wood and, even more surprisingly considering the 83% casualty rate of the South African Infantry in Delville Wood, all three survived. My grandfather and his older brother were badly wounded, but his younger brother, Stanley, served through all of WWI with hardly a scratch.

I had always promised my father that I would go with him to Delville Wood for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the start of the Battle of Delville Wood. Sadly my father died in February 2012 and so, in July 2016, together with a number of fellow South African Military Veterans living in Australia, I went on a tour of the WWI battlefields in northern France and southern Belgium. We were at Delville Wood for the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle on 14 July 2016. We conducted a memorial ceremony and laid wreaths. We then continued on our battlefields tour, which finished in Brussels.

One thing that struck me was how many cemeteries there were and the number of headstones in each. And then there were the memorials such as those at Thiepval and Menin Gate to those whose graves are unknown. The number of names on the walls of these memorials is awe inspiring.

When our tour finished in Brussels, one of our number, a keen military historian, said that he would like to visit the Normandy Invasion Beaches. Four of us hired cars and we drove down to Normandy........

First stop was Pegasus Bridge. This is the current bridge. The original WWII bridge was replaced after many years of good service and currently lies in a museum behind my back as I took this photo:

Then on to the Invasion Beaches......

Starting with Sword:


And then continuing along the rest until Omaha Beach:

Looking westwards towards Pointe du Hoc:


Looking eastwards:


To be continued..........
We walked all over these beaches and up the approaches.

I took this from a machine gun position half-way up the path on the left of the third photo above:


What a wonderful field of fire for the defenders! It must have been absolute hell for those brave men who stormed the beach that day.

The Les Braves memorial on Omaha Beach:




And then on to Pointe du Hoc..........
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Pointe du Hoc

This was taken by the US 2nd Ranger Battalion by scaling up the cliffs shown below:

Can you just imaging scaling up those cliffs with the enemy shooting at you from above? Truly very brave men!



bye gary, i'm almost certain that we'll miss you.

anyway... @Peter Roberts, this is a great photo and very representative of the soldiers and what they gave. as you've seen, it is a thought provoking image, and obviously visceral enough to provoke people without trying to. that's the true indication of the merit of this photo. and probably the best compliment i think i can pay to another photographer.