D-Day was the day when Allied troops launched the largest offensive against German forces. It took place during the last phase of World War II and is also known as the day of Normandy landings.
Historically, the invasion of this day was considered to be one of the biggest amphibious military assaults. On 6 June 1944, allied forces initiated a combined land, air, and naval assault on Nazi-occupied France.
Over 2 million troops from more than 12 countries were prepared for this invasion. More than 425,000 German along with Allied troops were killed and wounded during this battle. There are many people who can be called the heroes of D-day. Some of these are as follows.
Born at Fort Sam Houston, Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole was the son of an army colonel. In 1944, Cole was the first man to parachute into enemy territory. He helped his unit to capture an enemy position and assisted the Allied troops advancing from the beaches. Due to his bravery, Lieutenant Cole was recommended for a medal of honor.
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, the eldest son of President Roosevelt had already fought in World War I and was known for his bravery. He was assigned to lead the Normandy invasion. The 56-year old general was the one to storm the beach with the first wave of soldiers. He modified the unit’s plan and moved inland so as to engage the enemy from the rear. Roosevelt’s strategy contributed mainly to their mission’s success.
Walter Ehlers was a Staff Sergeant who joined the U.S. army in 1940 and was called to England to train troops and prepare them for D day. He led his squad on June 6 to the shores of Omaha beach. On 9th June, Walters’ squad was near France. Ehlers along with his men neutralized many enemy machine guns and killed several Germans a well. Even after being wounded, he refused evacuation and preferred leading his unit. Along with a medal of honor, Ehlers received three purple hearts, a bronze star, and a silver star.
Lieutenant Colonel Matt Urban, a graduate of Cornell University, joined army as a commissioned officer in 1941. During the landing at Normandy, Urban broke a leg but still managed to lead an assault. With a bazooka, he destroyed two enemy tanks on June 14th. Urban was wounded almost eight times during the war and was finally awarded with the Medal of Honor.
A member of the 82nd airborne division, Charles went overseas in 1943 to serve in Italy, France, and North Africa. On June 7th, 1944, Charles entered France behind enemy lines by gliding. He was cut from his battalion while attacking the enemy in France. Despite being shot twice, Charles continued to fight and helped his comrades rejoin the battalion.
John was a Second Lieutenant who served in World War II along with his four brothers. He went to Normandy with 9th infantry division. John was wounded on 14th June but refused medical evacuation and led his units against the enemy on 23rd June. Due to his bravery, John received the Medal of Honor.