Monday, October 12, 2015

Documentary review: Ken Burns: The War 4: Pride of Our Nation

In this presentation we are shown in a graphic manner the horror of D-day.  This day all of the forces where able to move off the beech, except at Normandy.  Here there were steep gullies, and the where all covered with pill boxes with machine gun fire and canon.  It was terrible, with the troops trapped in a shooting gallery.  It wasn't until the third wave, and after the ships moved in closer to shore than they should have to bomb the positions, that there was finally a bit of relief and a crack in the defenses, of which they were able to take advantage.  This also involved blowing the barbed wire with a Bangalore torpedo which gave the men a gap through which they could attack the enemy.  Famous quote, "where getting murdered here, lets move inland and get murdered there."
We also are witnesses to the Battle of Normandy, which concludes with the liberation of Paris, but starts with heavy combat through the hedgerows of France, which created some very difficult fighting.
As part of the war in the Pacific the Battle for Saipan is presented.  This was a grueling battle where the marines took a heavy toll.  This is the first island where there were Japanese civilians involved, and many of them, rather than be taken over chose to kill themselves, or each other.  It was a terrible battle.
This episode ends with describing the human toll.  The War Department telegraphs where dreaded, and many families received more than one.  Dealing with death is difficult, and many dealt with it by shutting themselves in their homes.  The telegraph deliverers were very active.  D-Day represented the most American lives lost in one day since the Battle of Antietam.

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