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Episode Info: Special Thanks to Tom Robinson from Beyond Today Magazine Beyond Today Magazine source It’s been 75 years since D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Western Allied forces during World War II launched the largest invasion in history with nearly 7,000 ships of all sorts and more than 11,000 planes, crossing the English Channel and landing more than 150,000 troops (and moreover the days that followed) on the beaches of Normandy to free France and the rest of Europe from Nazi tyranny. German leader Adolf Hitler had prepared a vast defensive network of artillery, gun emplacements, mines, and other deadly obstacles stretching from the west coast of France up to Norway. This “Atlantic Wall” had to be breached for the Allies to press forward and defeat this evil, the genocidal regime that with its Axis partners was intent on continuing the carnage of many millions while trying to conquer the world. Famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who arrived at Normandy the day after D-Day, noted that the Allies achieved victory “with every advantage on the enemy’s side and every disadvantage on ours.”  Yet, as he wrote, the total Allied casualties “were remarkably low—only a fraction, in fact, of what our commanders had been prepared to accept.” Pyle concluded, “Now that it is all over, it seems to be a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all.” What was miraculous about D-Day, and why would God have intervened? The weather and other surprises—flukes or God’s handiwork? Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander (and later U.S.president), said later on the 1952 anniversary of the operation launch: “This day eight years ago, I made the most agonizing decision of my life. If there were nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an almighty and merciful God, the events of the next twenty-four hours did it … The greatest break in a terrible outlay of weather occurred the next day and allowed that great invasion to proceed, with losses far below those we had anticipated.” The Allies had tried to plan for every eventuality, but they had no control over the vital weather. They hoped for good weather to make the 100-mile sea crossing to Europe, as had miraculously occurred in the mass evacuation from Europe at Dunkirk early in the war. What they didn’t realize was that bad weather—the windiest in 20 years—would hand them success beyond all expectations. D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5 and could only be postponed for the short term to the 6th or 7th, while the tides were still low and the moon was full for visibility (along with clear weather), especially for clearing or avoiding mines in the surf. Otherwise, it would have to have been put off a good while later. With the terrible weather that sprang up on June 5, it looked like the operation was a no-go, but meteorologists reported a break was about to occur in the weather ...
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