Utah Beach in Rubber, 1944 – Monday Map

Amazing detail created out of Rubber for the D-Day Landings

Utah Beach down the individual house

Utah Beach rubber relief map 1944 D-Day oneman.com
(click to enlarge)

On June 4th, 1944, the day before the original date set for D-Day, a 27 year-old U.S. naval officer stood before this Top Secret three-dimensional relief map  and nervously briefed the top brass of the allied armies, on the upcoming seaboard assault at the Normandy coastal areas code named Utah. His audience included British Field Marshall Montgomery, commander of the entire sea and land assault (Operation Neptune), and American General General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander for the European Theater of Operations.

At that the time it was a brand new technology, created in secrecy and kept that way until after the war had ended. Made at Camp Bradford, Virginia, and completed less than three days before it was flown to England, it was derived from stereo photos taken from reconnaissance planes. The map then went aboard ship after that first briefing, where it was used to instruct of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division that would be making the assault.

That officer was Charles Lee Burwell. He held onto the map and in later years donated it to the Library of Congress. He is quoted as saying he felt it was an important technology, because the 3D aspect of the map allowed soldiers to better know where they were going and what they should expect to see there, in terms of buildings, trees, and hedgerows. Utah Beach Detail 1944 2021 onemanz_com

The map consists of two halves, each 4 feet square, made of rubber on top of foam. The numbers on the map correspond with other more traditional maps developed for the invasion. Up close, it reveals tide lines, slope of the beach, buildings beyond the beach, and the location of anti-landing craft hazards known as Czech hedgehogs. The depth of the water is represented by bathymetric tints and the color of the land was approximated from black white photos.

With Extreme Prejudice

This traditional map is code named Bigot, which was the highest level of secrecy possible. Many thousands of lives depended upon the success of the operation – millions in fact, if one considers those suffering and dying under Nazi occupation. Like the rubber map, this tactical map was created in two sections. This one shows the extreme left of the Utah Beach area, but it includes the actual invasion location.

Utah Beach Bigot map ful size onemanz.com
click to enlarge

This detail below shows photographic representations of the waterline view of the coast represented on the map. These photos would have been taken from midget submarines with a crew of two, and sometimes four men, at great risk to their lives. These British sailors were among the relatively unknown heroes of D-day.

A Wrong Turn with Destiny

Utah Beach Bigot map Detail waterline onemanz_com

The small inland hamlet of La Madeleine is pictured to the left of the Utah landing areas, code named Uncle Red and Tare Green (designated as Red Beach and Green Beach in the map above.) But the strong tidal currents forced the landing craft more and more eastward, so they actually landed at le Grande Dune on that fateful morning.

Although the First Wave arrived in the wrong place, their commanding officer, Deputy Division Commander, U.S. 4th Division, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., famously decided to start the war from there, and reinforcements were directed to land at his location. This inadvertently saved many lives, as first assault waves would have encountered greater and more deadly resistance had they landed where intended.

Not that they were not subjected to genuine peril. General Roosevelt was put in for the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallantry on D-Day. He lied about his poor health to insure he would be allowed to lead the First Wave, and then repeatedly led troop concentrations off the beach and toward their various objectives, while often under heavy fire from mortars and small arms. After he suffered a fatal heart attack in July, while still in the field, his decoration was upgraded, and he received the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Here is an overlay I created, with a strategic map for the 8th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 4th Division, superimposed over the rubber map from 1944.

click to enlarge

 

Landing
wave
Time in BDST (British Double Summer Time) and relative to H-Hour Event
00:48 H – 05:42 Paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division are dropped inland, around Sainte-Mère-Église. Drops continued 00:48 – 01:40.
01:51 H – 04:39 Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division are dropped inland, around Sainte-Mère-Église. Drops continued 01:51 – 02:42. These airborne drops were followed by glider landings with support troops and anti-tank guns.
04:30 H – 02:00 A raiding party armed only with knives swims ashore at Îles Saint-Marcouf, 6.5 kilometers off the coast, to silence the anticipated German observation post before it can raise an alarm over the approaching invasion fleet. However, it turned out to be unoccupied.
1st 06:30 H 20 LCVPs, Higgins Boats or standard landing craft, each with a 30-man assault team from the 8th Infantry Regiment.
2nd 06:32 H + 00:02 32 LCVPs, each with a 30-man assault team. This included some combat engineers and eight naval demolition teams to clear away underwater obstacles.
3rd 06:15 H + 00:15 8 LCVPs, with tanks bearing bulldozer blades.
4th 06:17 H + 00:17 Mostly detachments of the 237th and 299th Engineer Combat Battalions, to clear the obstacles between the low-water and high-water lines.

By early afternoon, elements of the 4th Infantry Division had moved inland and linked up with elements of the 101st Airborne Division. By the end of D-Day, 23,250 troops and 1,700 vehicles had been safely landed on Utah Beach. Casualties were relatively light on Utah Beach. However, this was due in part to the inland actions of the 13,000 Airborne troops who suffered heavy losses. The 101st Airborne Division lost about 40% of its forces on D-Day.

The above table was found at someone’s personal travel website, https://cromwell-intl.com/travel/france/normandy/utah-beach.html

And here is a portion of the rubber map superimposed over a Google map of the same area. Note that just beyond the top of the rubber map is found the location of Brecourt Manner, where elements of the U.S. 101st Airborne destroyed a battery of four 105mm cannon that were firing on the troops at Utah Beach, as made famous in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. This shows just how accurate and detailed the rubber map is and how invaluable it must have been to the success of operations on and around Utah Beach on D-Day and afterwards.

click to enlarge

And that is one man’s word on…

The Amazing Rubber Map of Utah Beach

Aerial photos from that “day of days.”

Further Reading

Library of Congress conversation with Charles Lee Burwell

The American Memorial at Utah Beach

 

Arlington National Cemetery – Monday Map

Memorial Day 2021

Arlington National Cemetery is reserved for members of the armed forces, their families, and other special dignitaries

Arlington_National_Cemetary_Map_Memorial_Day_onemanz.com

Lest We Forget

Memorial Day is set aside to commemorate all members of the armed forces who died in the service of their country. Many of those whose remains are interred at Arlington gave their lives in such a manner. Other war dead are buried in private cemeteries, and in military cemeteries around the globe, in the foreign lands and U.S. territories where they fell.

Others who lived beyond their time in the service may find a final resting place at Arlington as well. But the space is limited, so such an honor has required a particular application process since the 1990s.

In the darkest days of the American Civil War, the military cemetery near the nation’s capital was nearly full. The former estate of Robert E. Lee and the ancestral home of his wife Mary Custis  was chosen as the first burial ground exclusively used for federal soldiers killed in battle during recent fighting.

This was done partly because the location on a hilltop in Virginia was visible from the Mall in Washington D.C. and partly to insure that the leader of the most high-profile army fighting in rebellion against the U.S.A. could never again live there. The officer in charge made sure to put burials as close to the Custis mansion as possible, including the grave of his own son.

Some twenty years after the war, the cemetery started to gain a special aura as a national shrine, as revered generals and other famous heroes of the conflict began to pass away. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was installed in 1921, and eventually remains from service personnel who perished in every major conflict going back to the American Revolution have been interred in grounds of the cemetery.

Among the few buried there who did not serve in the Armed Forces or were not one of their dependents is William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the only person to have held both offices.

A Day to Remember

Memorial Day has its roots in local commemorations for Civil War dead, often referred to as Decoration Day, when citizens would decorate local graves with spring flowers. After the First World War the idea was expanded to include graves from any conflict and ultimately included those who died while on duty, whether that was related to warfare or not. It was observed on a national level on May 30, beginning in 1868. It became a federal holiday in 1971, officially taking place on the last Monday in May.

Schoolchildren and other less-informed people often confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. The latter was once called Armistice Day, and still is in other nations, as it was originally its own Memorial Day, honoring those who lost their lives in the First World War. In America, that practice was transferred to Memorial Day, and Veterans Day became a time to salute and pay homage to all who have put on the uniforms of the Armed Forces defending the United States from foreign foes.

Now that so many veterans of World War Two, Korea, and Viet Nam are passing away years after they left the service, the lines between the two days are beginning to blur. But officially, Memorial Day is for those who died while in the service of their country. Veterans Day is for those living or dead who did not give their lives for their country but still served their country with honor.

Here is a link to a PDF to the Arlington National Cemetery Burial Eligibility Act of 1998 that states the specifics of who is allowed to be considered for internment, as well as some historical perspective.

May 10, 1871 – Transcontinental Railroad – Monday Map

Transcontinental Railway Map 1871 onemanz
Circa 1871 (Click to Enlarge)

The Railroad that Helped make the USA One Place

One-hundred and fifty-two years ago today

The “Last Spike” connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads took place on May 10, 1869. It took seven years from the time Congress approved the creation of a Transcontinental Railway in 1862. But it was being planned and discussed for decades beforehand.

Construction began in 1863, as the horrendous Civil War tearing the nation apart. But just as the war changed the USA from being a bunch of separate states into nation indivisible, the transcontinental railway unified the nation geographically. According to one university history site, before the railroad’s completion, it cost approximately $20,000 in 2021 money to travel from St. Louis to San Francisco by stagecoach. Afterwards the price was a fraction of that cost, and continued to drop as more rail lines were completed off of the original route.

Talk of such a project goes back at least to 1830, when the first steam engine locomotive arrived on this side of the Atlantic. In 1845, the adventurer and businessman Asa Whitney petitionedCongress to provide land grants necessary to create a railway across the northern swath of America, to Oregon Territory, where he had already made a fortune trading with the Far East. Evoking the spirit Lewis and Clark, Whitney commissioned this map to entice investment in his grand scheme.

1845 transcontinental railroad northen route map
(Click to Enlarge)

 

Thirty years later, it was other entrepreneurs who realized this long outstanding dream. But there were many competing propositions as to where exactly the route should end up, as seen in this map from the early 1850s.

Transc railroad proposed routes 1853
(Click to Enlarge)

Underway at Last

Even after the two companies received the go-ahead, work was nearly completed and the eastern Union Pacific Railroad Company and the western Central Pacific Railroad Company still could not agree on where the their routes should meet. Maps from the time show all proposed routes running south of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Eventually the government under President Grant threatened to withhold further funding until the two companies came to terms as to exactly where they would join together to create the single route from east coast to west. And it ended up being Promontory Summit, Utah, north of the lake.

Promontory Summit photo transcontinental railroad completion onemanz
(Click to Enlarge)

Despite the Central Pacific having to cut their way through the mountains, and the harsh working conditions of their laborers, including many Chinese immigrants, it was the Union Pacific that suffered the greatest loss of life. Many hundreds died on both sides, from accidents, exposure, disease, and attacks from Native American tribes, who couldn’t quell the tied of westward expansion that ultimately led to formation of the lower 48 states as we know them today.

Here is another map, from 1882, of a proposed southern route that didn’t end up being created as envisioned.

Transcontinental railroad actual route 1883 onemanz
(Click to Enlarge)

And that is one man’s word on…

The Transcontinental Railroad

Happy 76th VE Day

Victory in Europe Began a New World

Nazi German Formally Surrender on May 8, 1945

Lest we forget, millions upon millions lost their lives the world over because Fascism was allowed to take over the governments of multiple nations and then was not stopped before it was too late. While many people remember how and why Nazi German and Fascist Italy were ultimately confronted and defeated, it is often forgotten hat authoritarian governments continue to this day.

Netherlands-American-Cemetery_onemanz
One of countless WWII cemeteries the world over

The man credited with inventing the term Fascism was an early intellectual architect of what ultimately led to the rise of Mussolini in Italy. He defined Fascism as the marriage of the Corporation and the State. And the hallmarks of Fascism include the government protecting corporate power while eliminating protections for labor and individual citizen, a fervent nationalism and squelching of political decent, a zealous investment in the industrial-military complex bolstered by overblown rhetoric of “national security” against undefined foreign threats, along with a militarized police force and expanded powers of the security services to spy on the citizenry.

Human evils like racism and antisemitism are not necessarily facets of  Fascism, but the extremist nationalism that is at the heart of Fascism always seems to include an elitist us vs. them strategy on its way to taking root and then taking over a society. And it attracts those who require someone else to look down on to feel worthwhile or powerful, and gives them moral permission to exercise their bigotry, while distracting them from the fact those they support politically are actually reducing their personal power and freedoms.

Therefore,  Nazism is not the same thing as Fascism. Rather, Nazism can be viewed as a form of Fascism. This is an important point; as assuming one must be a “nazi” to be a fascist has allowed genuine fascist elements to legitimize themselves in the eyes of their countrymen, including right here in the so-called Bastian of Democracy, the USA. This was never more clear than over the previous six years and in the continued efforts of those trying to disenfranchise the will of the majority of the people by the lies spread to sow distrust in the electoral process that endangers their grip on political and economic power.

This blog rarely deals with political thought or opinion. But on this day, VE Day, when fewer and fewer people are around to bare witness to the atrocious misery inflicted on so many innocent people by Fascism and the great loss of life and treasure required to defeat it in the 1940s, it is important to speak up and out about the fact that Democracy is once again under assault. And this time it is under assault in America, by those who would cripple the democratic process because the last thing they want is for the will of all Americans to have an equal voice in deciding who is running their government, and that those who are sent to Washington D.C. and to statehouses across the USA are elected to be the SERVANTS of the people, not their “leaders” or their dictators.

And so, we have posted below the recent public statement made by a sitting member of Congress, who we do not in anyway endorse politically, but who is herself currently under a propaganda assault by those in her own party who continue to undermine the will of the American people.

 

 

 

Remember this day!

Pancho Villa and others at the very first Fiesta de la tarro vacía

Rare photo recently discovered

Sinko de Mayo

A contemplative Villa (left) and a glum Zapata (2nd from right) face an uncertain future

In Mexico during the time of the Revolution, mayonnaise was a national obsession. More of the condiment was consumed there than anywhere else on earth, with Hong Kong a distant second.

In fact, leaders on both sides of the conflict were crazy for the stuff. But it was Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata who spread the spread among the common people, as it were, so that its popularity soared, circa 1910.

In those days, England was the mayonnaise capital of the world, with Cross & Blackwell’s, and Hellmann’s as the most popular brands, and the largest shipment of all time, some tens of thousands of jars, set out from Southampton by steamship on April 10, 1912, bound for Vera Cruz, by way of Cherbourg, New York, Charleston, and Havana.

But as history showed, the vessel was none other than the ill-fated H.M.S. Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on April 15th. When news arrived in Mexico twenty days later, the war-torn people were devastated.

Their anguish was so great across the nation that a truce was declared between the Federales and the rebel factions, for one day of mourning. And thus was held the very first Fiesta de la tarro vacía (Feast of the Empty Jar.)

feast2

(photo: Museos de México)

It has been observed ever since, on this very day, now known colloquially as Sinko de Mayo.

Thank you, I’m here all week … try the guacamole.

 

Words Worth Remembering

Once common words and phrases now out of use

As you can immediately see, still hold meaning today

Betrump: To deceive, cheat; to elude, slip from
 
Coney-catch: To swindle, cheat; to trick, dupe, deceive
 
Slug-a-bed: One who lies long in bed through laziness
 
Momist: A person who habitually finds fault; a harsh critic
Snout-fair: Having a fair countenance; fair-faced, comely, handsome
 
Ear-rent: The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk
 
Peacockize: To behave like a peacock; esp. to pose or strut ostentatiously
 
Sillytonian: A silly or gullible person, esp. one considered as belonging to a notional sect of such people
 
Merry-go-sorry: A mixture of joy and sorrow
 
Teen: To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage / To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm
 
Wasteheart: Used to express grief, pity, regret, disappointment, or concern: “alas!” “woe is me!” Also wasteheart-a-day, wasteheart of me
 
Dowsabel: Applied generically to a sweetheart, “lady-love”
 

Many more such words, compiled by York University, can be found HERE.

 
 

Sir Bobby Moore, the Golden Boy of Soccer, on his 80th birthday

“Hero is a word that is often overused, but an understatement when describing Bobby Moore”

Born April 14, 1941, he would been 80 years old today

Bobby Moore World Cup onemanzMoore’s death from colon cancer at age 51 sent much of the world into mourning for the unassuming man from London’s working-class East End who was knighted for restoring pride in the English people during the post war years of dearth and derision, as a larger than life champion in sport and as a role model in society throughout the turbulent Sixties and Seventies, due to his generous good heart and “perfect gentleman” personality. And for never losing touch with his humble origins, despite partying with the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who, while having movie star babysitters like Michael Caine.

While the Babe Ruth of soccer was certainly Bobby Charleton of Manchester United, its Lou Gehrig was Bobby Moore, the man Pelé called the best defender in history, and Charleton named the greatest footballer England ever produced.

With movie star looks of curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes, Moore arose from the rough and tumble streets of Barking, “like a shining light,” at a time when England was in serious economic and social depression after WWII. He was 14 when the local pro team recruited him, but his mother wouldn’t let him go until he was 16 and had completed his “O levels,” the British equivalent of  high school graduation. Moore was still in his early twenties when he led the perennial also-ran West Ham United to winning the 1964 FA Cup (the tournament of all the English football leagues) and the 1965 European Cup (the tournament of all the cup winners from European nations,) before captaining the 1966 national team that won England’s only World Cup and restored them to the heights of international soccer after years of obscurity.

Moore was the subject of two recent documentaries, the sentimental Hero (2002) and Bo66y (2016) that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Cup victory. Neither of those is readily available. But this one made by a TV News department just after his death is pretty great.

Baseball Rule Change for 2021 Will Have Lasting Impact

The New Mid-Fielder Changes Major League Baseball Forever

“Tenth player adds exciting wrinkle to America’s favorite pastime.” – MLB Commissioner Rob Mandfred

Major League Baseball hoping the ‘Rover’ position, called a Short-Outfileder by some, will revive interest after COVID-19 threatens revenues.

Official MLB fielding positions 2021 onemanz.com

It is by no means hyperbole to state in no unequivocal terms that the player’s union agreeing with the MLB commissioner and owners to institute this revolutionary addition of a the tenth fielder is nothing less than, to quote MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, “April Fools!”

Thank you. I’m here all season. Try the hotdogs.