03 December 2014

US Rangers Aboard their Landing Craft Before Normandy Invasion

Image size: 1600 x 1091 pixel. 563 KB
Date: Saturday, 3 June 1944
Place: Weymouth Harbour, Dorset, England
Photographer: Unknown

U.S. Rangers from E Company, Fifth Ranger Battalion, aboard their landing craft on Weymouth Harbor, Dorset (England), waiting for the signal to sail to the coast of Normandy, 3 June 1944. In the foreground, they are, clockwise from far left, First Sergeant Sandy Martin, Technician Fifth Grade Joseph Markovich, Corporal John Loshiavo and Private First Class Frank Lockwood, with their Bazooka, Garand rifle, 60-mm mortar and Lucky Strikes. Before they boarded their vessel, these Rangers — four of perhaps 160,000 soldiers who would cross the English Channel — were penned up, away from public view, in camps policed by British officers in machine-gun towers. As they waited for their signal, soldiers of Operation Overlord hurled Army knives at playing cards nailed onto trees, played softball and, ducking into an entertainment tent, watched “Girl Crazy,” starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. But their nerves were strained; sometimes they fought one another with fists. They knew the lethal odds that faced them on the Normandy beaches. Then Martin, Markovich, Loshiavo and Lockwood were in their landing craft. One soldier insisted that these boats were designed to induce “a sense of physical discomfort, seasickness and physical degradation” so that the men would “land in such an angry condition as to bring destruction, devastation and death upon any person or thing in sight or hearing.” About 2,500 Americans were killed in the D-Day effort to make the world safe for freedom. One of them was Sandy Martin, who lies buried in the American cemetery on the bluff that looks down on Omaha Beach


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