Order of the Day, 6 June 1944

In this June 6, 1944, photo, U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (left) gives the order of the day to paratroopers in England prior to boarding their planes to participate in the first assault of the Normandy invasion.  U.S. Army Signal Corps via AP


Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

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. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Comment: This order of the day from General Eisenhower was distributed as a leaflet to Allied Forces on the eve of the D-Day invasion. Inspiring, yes? Much will be said and much will be done today to commemorate the events and memory of that day. There’s nothing I can add.

The words I find even more inspiring are those written by General Eisenhower to be issued in the event of a failed D-Day invasion. He was willing to absolutely own a major failure in a strong, active voice statement. 

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

We don’t hear words like this today, much less witness this display of personal responsibility. I can’t remember hearing anyone at this level saying “I made a mistake” rather than “mistakes were made” for a very long time. But I do remember Charlie Beckwith loudly saying in front of all that he screwed that one up after a failed hostage rescue exercise by the nascent Delta Force in 1979. I was present only because several of my Recondo School instructors posed as the hostage taking aggressors. Beckwith and my instructors served together in MACV-SOG. I was a mere 1LT, a straphanger who kept his mouth shut and listened.


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4 Responses to Order of the Day, 6 June 1944

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    B***ard TTG, you beat me to it! What? Prophecying the Kakhovska dam disaster of 6/6/23. I was going to predict it with simple numerology and now you’ll go to the head of the class with this history lesson, and I will be declared a dunce. I should have struck when the iron was on the ironing board.

    Simplicity itself: 6/6/23
    What’s 2×3? 6. Right. Substitute above: 6/6/6. QED
    Objections are useless because 6/6/23 is the same in either European or American format because the numbers for month and day are equal.

  2. Whitewall says:

    My wife and I live in a 65 and older retirement community and have for nearly five years. A neighbor behind us was a widower who was one of two veterans of D-Day here on campus. ‘Jack’ entered France on one of those gliders and safely landed. His assignment along with others was to get inland and destroy anything the Germans had that could roll, mainly tanks. The things he would talk about were something to behold and were only eclipsed by the things he finally talked about in his final few months of life. He was clear in mind up to the end.

    The other veteran lived next door to our house. ‘Boyce’ was a sailor on board the USS O’Brien. This vessel was new off the line and had the most up to date targeting ability. He told of her guns being so accurate and devastating to German shore installations that they turned some of their fire away from the battleship Texas -I believe- and onto O’Brien. She was hit once and many were killed and injured, but the ship was still operational. The captain was quite skilled in the way he would move the ship in close to fire and then fall back quickly only to repeat right along the shoreline as Allied infantry would move up the coast taking out German positions. This went on for hours. ‘Boyce’ died two years ago and was also clear of mind to the end.

  3. SRW says:

    TTG beat me to it also. I was going to post:

    In remembrance of D Day and an underrated President

    Eisenhower is an underrated President. He is also a hero of mine. The words that follow are his response should Overlord have failed.
    “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
    On this day we remember D-Day, the courage, bravery and toll it took on those who stormed the beaches.
    I wish we had leaders who took blame rather than blaming everyone but themselves for failure.

  4. leith says:

    7000 ships, 160,000 troops! Ike and SHAEF had to be masters of maskirovka to get Hitler focused on Calais while they went thru the back door.

    Meanwhile in Italy my father had been medevacked home to recuperate after being badly wounded at the Rapido River. That battle had been a disaster thanks to an idiot commanding the US Fifth Army. No deception at all, just a head-on river crossing in the face of massed German firepower. And US VI Corps had just broken out of the Anzio Beachead and were doing the famous 5-mph Truscott Trot trying to cut off Kesselring’s retreating Tenth Army. Unfortunately they were ordered to divert to Rome instead by that same dimwit in command of the Fifth.

    Getting back to deception and maskirovka, let’s hope Ukraine’s Stavka can do as well for their counteroffensive as the Allies did at D-Day. They may not have to with all the dissension and backstabbing going on within the occupiers. UK Defense Intel is reporting that Wagner Group detained a Russian brigadier general after an altercation.

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