Echolier

Slaughter at Omaha

Kenneth Smith, Guest Writer

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Machine gun bullets whizzing past us everywhere! We can not escape their sight! We all feel like sitting ducks about to get shot. I can see hundreds of American soldiers lying dead on Omaha Beach, and even more wounded. Our superior officers never said that the Germans would defend Normandy this well.
***
On June 6, 1944, me and thousands of other American soldiers prepared to participate in the largest seaborne invasion in history. Company A of the 1st Infantry Division plan to invade Omaha Beach today. They say the Germans will put up a fairly heavy resistance, but eventually we should overwhelm them.

As we started to get closer to the beach, Captain Joseph quoted what Dwight Eisenhower had told us, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.” This slightly raised the morale of everyone, but many of us remained anxious for the invasion soon to come.
As we neared the releasing point in the , Joseph started yelling out commands, “Keep your heads down! Rush the bluffs and take out the German machine guns.” Some of the men deemed it smarter to jump off the boats, and I heard the haunting sound of their screams as they drowned.

It all seemed so unreal. The ramp door finally dropped for us who stayed in the boat and we started pushing towards the beach through waist-deep water. The weight of our soggy equipment made it hard to push on. The fact that some of my fellow soldiers trying not to drown grabbed a hold of me provided an extra challenge. Not long after our release, the Germans barraged us with MG.42 machine gun bullets. I could see what looked like wooden ramps along the beach. Some seemed to have mines affixed to them. I also saw log posts with mines as well. I could see Czech hedgehogs scattering the beach as well. I dove behind one of them and took cover.

As I looked around I could see many men running back into the water to either hide underwater or to help drowning people. Dear God, It seems as though we don’t stand a chance. I decided to stay behind my little barricade and look around for an officer. I could not find Captain Joseph. He could have joined many others as missing in action. In fact, 95 percent of the officers on Omaha Beach have died. Finally, we found someone who helped us regain order. The acting “captain” told us we needed to push forward towards the wall where the machine gunners shot from. Wait… Towards the machine guns??? What a hell of a way to die. We started gathering our composure and made a mad dash forward to rush the bluffs. Many people stayed behind and hid. Those cowards make me sick.
***
As we rushed towards the bluffs I looked around and saw a lot of people get shot or blown up by mortars. Those machine guns have massacred us out here. We had almost reached the German’s final obstacle where we would… Pffssst. Fffsssstttt. I felt a searing pain go through my shoulder. I fell backwards and clutched it hard. I saw blood everywhere. Then I realized my foot had blood spewing out of it as well.

Words can’t describe the pain surging through my body. I can feel the throbbing pain with every beat of my heart. My sight started going blurry, but I could see two men running towards me. They dragged me over to the barbed wire. As I sat there bleeding out, the medics started working on me. “Don’t worry, fella. We’ll patch you up,” one told me. The other injected me with a syringe of morphine to numb the severe pain. They tried to stop the bleeding by wrapping bandages tightly around my wounds.

My mind started to race as I lay on the ground bleeding. I can’t believe I got shot. I want to see my family again. What if I don’t make it? All of a sudden, I saw another medic run up to the barbed wire. “Stop working on him,” he yelled.  Woah! Why should they leave me here to die? “He’s lost too much blood, follow me,” he said, avoiding my stare. I didn’t think my injuries had caused me to bleed out to the point of death, but I guess I didn’t know how much damage a machine gun bullet could do to the human body. If I had only gotten hit once I might have survived this war. But now I won’t live to see my family, ever, again.

 

 

Bibliography

McManus, John C. The Dead and Those about to Die: D-Day: the Big Red One at Omaha Beach. NAL Caliber, 2015.

Lefebvre, Laurent. “Day – Documents – 29th ID – 116th IR – 1st Bn – A Company- Group Critique Notes.” D-Day, 2000, americandday.org/Documents/29th_ID-116th_IR-1st_Bn-A_Company-Group_Critique_Notes.html.

E., Albert. “Obstacles Normandy.” Obstacles Normandy., 1 Jan. 1970, militaryanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/09/obstacles-normandy.html.

“D-Day and the Museum’s 17th Birthday.” The National WWII Museum | New Orleans, www.nationalww2museum.org/events-programs/events/122821-d-day-and-museums-17th-birthday.

Marshall, S. L. A. “First Wave at Omaha Beach.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 6 June 2018, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1960/11/first-wave-at-omaha-beach/303365/.

The Best Film Archives. “D-Day Medics | Medical Service in the Invasion of Normandy | WW2 Documentary | 1944.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 March 2017. Web. 17 April 2019.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqusJQ0CpYY

Eisenhower, Dwight. “Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.”

Letter. Kansas History Gateway. Web. 22 October 2017. http://www.kansasheritage.org/abilene/ikespeech.html

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