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OMAHA BEACH Free essay! Download now

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 2500 | Submitted: 06-Jun-2010
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However, it had to be done. It was probably the most heavily defended and
was the largest beach out of the five attacked, but it had to be seized
because the gap between Utah and Omaha Beach would have been too wide to hold
if Omaha wasn't captured. Unfortunately, in the invasion of Omaha Beach,
numerous flaws in planning almost certainly resulted in unnecessary loss of
life (World Book W, 484-485). Although the invasion of Normandy was an
incredible victory for the Allies, and was a turning point in World War II,
the planning of the assault on Omaha Beach was seriously flawed. Allied
generals ignored knowledge gained from previous amphibious invasions such as
Gallipoli and the beach invasions in the Pacific during World War II, and
therefore suffered an extremely high casualty rate. Many of these deaths
could have been avoided if Allied military command had learned from history.

Omaha Beach was the perfect defensive situation for the Germans. It was
a narrow enclosed battlefield leaving no possible way to flank it because the
cliffs surrounding the beach were virtually perpendicular to the ground.
It was an open killing field, there being no cover for the Allies until they
reached the sea wall. The Germans had thoroughly prepared for the attack
knowing that the Allies would probably eventually invade Europe (although
they didn't know when). Every inch of the beach was covered by guns, mines
and explosives. General Rommel (The German General in charge of defending
the beaches of Normandy against the D-Day invasion), had positioned twelve
strong points along the beach and throughout the seawall, each holding 88s
cannons, 75s cannons, and mortars for the Allies to deal with. The Germans
had also set up dozens of machine gun pillboxes, supported by a complicated
trench system which wove through the steep and complicated sea wall
passageways. There were also countless guns positioned at angles to have
plunging fire, grazing fire, and crossing fire from all types of weapons,
which made it even more difficult for the soldiers to make their way to the
base of the sea wall, and then up the wall. General Rommel protected the
larger weapons and strong points from Allied bombardment by building sturdy
concrete walls around them. An example of common German soldiers duties
during Omaha Beach can be seen in Franz Gockel's ( a German soldier in the
726th regiment) observation, "Dark shadows could be detected on the horizon,
and we first believed them to be German patrol craft, but soon the shadows
grew and became so numerous that all hope was dispelled. The detectable wake
from large and small ships increased in number. More bombers approached the
coastline, and at Port-en-Bessin, a few kilometers from us, the first bombs
fell. More bombers approached and I stood behind my heavy machine gun with
its sights trained on the sea. Once again I inspected the ammunition belt. I
attempted to concentrate on my weapon to take my mind away from the impending
events. In the recesses of my gun position stood ignition switches for two
flame-throwers which were aimed at the beach and the tank trench." The
overwhelming strength with which Omaha Beach was defended meant that the
Allies would need perfect execution in order to minimize loss of life
(Ambrose, 320-321).
The Allies actually started to prepare for the invasion of Normandy as
early as 1942, and carefully observed what factors they could use to their
advantage and to the Nazis' disadvantage. The Allies knew that they would
have to plan their attack strategies with the fewest possible flaws if they
were to carry out an attack with minimal casualties. In planning the
invasion of Omaha Beach, the Allies assumed strengths which in some cases
were ultimately not strengths at all. One advantage the Allies assumed was
air superiority. It was true that the Allies had a stronger Air Force with
greater experience than the air force of the Germans. The Allies also knew
they would have command of the sea. They would have many ships bombarding
the beaches to destroy German bunkers and weapon emplacements to make it
easier for the invading troops. Another obvious strength was surprise,
although it was not complete surprise because the Germans were expecting the
Allies to attack the Normandy Beaches at some point; they just didn't know
exactly when. A further advantage the Allies took for granted was good
intelligence. They thought they had deceived the Nazis by making them think
the attack would be elsewhere (along the northern-most coast of France, so
the Nazis had concentrated their main forces along those beaches). In
addition, the Allies believed they knew where the German defense stations and
strongholds were located along Omaha Beach. A final strength the Allies
assumed they had been superior leadership, command and control. They regarded
their General Joe Collins as a general with more experience and knowledge in
this type of war than General Rommel of the Germans.

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