JJ Mills: Landing on Omaha in the Afternoon

210th Military Police Company

I was laying on top of a truck loaded with ammo with one of my buddies and he said we better get off this truck because it might get a hit. I ask him where we would go because if the truck went the entire ship would go because it was loaded with ammo and if it went the whole ship would go and there was no place to go so we just laid there on the truck. We laid there in the water until the afternoon before we off loaded on the LCP boats and we went in and in the meantime before we off loaded, we watched a duel with a U.S.Cruiser or some such ship and German gun emplacement on land.

Our company was Part of the 5th Engineer Special Brigade amphibious, and if I remember right, attached to the 22nd Corp. We were trained for the invasion and was only supposed to be over there for the invasion and come back home but you know the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry. 2 years and 2 months later we come home.

The beach was the best planned defense that could be had and why we had to pick that particular place to make an invasion, I will never understand. The first thing that boats met coming in toward the beach was poles drove in the ground and each one had a mine on top of it. The next thing was the mined beach and then barb wire entanglements. After that was a moat like ditch filled with water and then about a 30 or 40 foot ditch filled with those little round rolly rocks that a truck or tank could not pull through if they got that far. It was really well planned out but even with all that it was finally taken over.

We never went in until late in the afternoon (Omaha-Fox-Red was our destination) and the carnage was such that it is hard to imagine or describe. I had never dreamed that in my life time that I would ever see so many dead people. You could not walk on that beach without stepping on or over arms, legs, heads or parts of bodies. There was bodies everywhere and parts and pieces of bodies, this is the mildest way that I can describe it. I heard that there was over 3000 killed that day there and the total had reached over 8000 that was buried in the cemetery that was established just on top of the hill above Normandy beach. Later on the burial teams stacked the bodies like cordwood awaiting identification and burial and there was a bunch of stacks. This is the only way to describe it and I know it is not pleasant to read about and at times it is not pleasant to try to recall either. That's one reason that I never much wanted to try to recall it. We lost several of our guys that day but I don't remember just how many killed. I guess that we were lucky that we lost no more than we did. Our Captain, tried to hide under a blanket and just lay there crying, "they're gonna kill me". He was scared nearly to death. The beach was mined everywhere and they had a mine called the "S" mine and if you stepped on one and heard a click, you dared not lift your foot because if you did that was when it jumped out of the ground and exploded a few inches above the ground, it was filled with schrapnel or steel marbles. We stayed there on the beach that night and moved inland the next morning. The Germans came back that night with the planes but very little damage was done and our anti-aircraft laid down a barrage like you never seen and knocked one down that I seen. AA got him and he flew a long way before he exploded and went down.

Read more war memories from Jack on his own website

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Omaha Beach

MP on Omaha Beach talking to an German prisoner
Picture courtesy, Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / National Archives USA


Omaha Beach, June 6 1944

Americans landing from a landingcraft, carrying their equipment
Picture courtesy, Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / National Archives USA


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