Saturday, June 6, 2015

WW2 | D-Day + 71–Normandy Landing)

D-Day Assault Plan.
June 6, 2015 is the 71st Anniversary of D-Day.

The few surviving veterans from World War II are fading away with an attrition rate of about 30 percent per year. I have interviewed one survivor at length.

My wife Alice and I went to France last June to pay our respects to those who died. We were in Normandy and Mayenne (south of Normandy).

My uncle Willem van Stockum is buried in Laval, Mayenne, along with his six crew-mates on a Halifax bomber flying out of an RAF base (Squadron 10) in Melbourne, Yorks., UK. The place was shot down after its mission was completed on June 10, 1944. Another seven in crew from another Halifax on the same mission are buried next to them. A book (Time Bomber, adult or YA) about him and his mission was written by Dr. Robert Wack and has a five-star review on Amazon with seven reviewers.

In preparation for our visit last year (about which I have written hereherehere3 here4 and here5), I assembled data on D-Day and World War II in Europe. My main source was a new book targeted at young people by Rick Atkinson, D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944, published by Henry Holt. It is meant to be used in schools and is adapted from Atkinson's #1 best-selling book The Guns at Last Light. It is on Goodreads' list of the 167 best books for kids about World War II here.

The listing I found gives Atkinson's book an average rating of 4. One librarian objected to the poor quality of the photos and their somewhat haphazard placement. Also, the book is definitely for the older YA market because the language does not make much allowance for expected vocabulary in the elementary school grades.

Deaths from WWII
  • Atkinson - Total 72 million people, or 28,000 people every day of the 2,174-day war (This is also the top Wikipedia figure.) Soviet dead 26 million - military 10.7 million, civilian 15 million. U.S. dead 419,000 - military 417,000 (out of 16 million who served), civilian 2,000 UK dead 451,000 - military 384,000 (out of 6 million who served), civilian 67,000 Canadian dead 23,000, all military (out of 1.1 million who served). German dead 8.8 million - military 5.5 million, civilian 3.3 million. European Jews killed in Holocaust - 6 million. Number of American soldiers buried in Europe (25,000 U.S. pilots killed behind enemy lines) 14,000.
  • UK Source ( Total dead 50-70 million. Soviet dead 26.6 million, of which 8.7 million soldiers died in World War 2. British 700,000 military and 60,000 civilian deaths. Poland’s dead were between 5.6 and 5.8 million. USA military dead: 416,800. German total 7.4 million, of which military dead and missing are 5.3 million.
  • History Channel Total dead 35-60 million. (That's a big range from the lowest estimate, especially when Atkinson and Wikipedia go up to 72 million.)
Military Force in WWII
  • D-Day Armada Allied Troops landed - 156,000 Vehicles landed - 30,000 Planes - 11,000 Ships and landing craft - 5,000 Parachutists - 13,000
  • Most Effective Bombers Used in Europe Britain Avro Lancaster, DeHavilland Mosquito (wooden, to avoid radar). USA B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-29 Superfortress. Germany Heinkel III, Junkers 87 Stuka, Junkers Ju-88.
  • Most Effective Tanks Used in Europe USA M4 Sherman Soviet T-34 German Panther (partly copied from Soviets), PzKfw Mk. IV Panzer, Tiger I/II.
U.S. Veterans in WWII

U.S. armed forces personnel who served in WWII between December 1, 1941 and December 31, 1946: 16.1 million.

The National World War II Memorial was dedicated on May 29 in Washington, D.C. Located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, it is the first national memorial dedicated to the men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, including those who died in combat and the Americans who supported the war effort on the home front.

33 months The average length of active-duty by U.S. military personnel during WWII. 

73% The proportion of U.S. military personnel who served abroad during WWII. 

292,000 The number of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines killed in battle in WWII. 

114,000 The number of other deaths sustained by U.S. forces during WWII. 

671,000 The number of U.S. troops wounded during WWII.

5.7 million The number of World War II veterans counted in Census 2000. The census identified the period of service for World War II veterans as September 1940 to July 1947.

475,000 The estimated number of WWII veterans living in California in 2002, the most in any state. Other states with high numbers of WWII vets included Florida (439,000), New York (284,000), Pennsylvania (280,000), Texas (267,000) and Ohio (208,000). See Table 529 at 

5.4 percent - The proportion of WWII veterans among the Clearwater, Fla., civilian population age 18 and over in 2000. Other large places (100,000 or more population) with high concentrations of WWII vets were: Cape Coral, Fla. (5.1 percent), Oceanside, Calif. (4.3 percent); and Scottsdale, Ariz.; Pueblo, Colo., Metairie, La., St. Petersburg, Fla.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Independence, Mo. (all around 4 percent).

210,000 - Estimated number of women in 2002 who were WWII veterans. These women comprised 4.4 percent of WWII vets. See Table 530.

22% The proportion of all veterans in April 2000 who were WWII veterans.

Source: Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/001747.html

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