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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On this Day: January 27th

Hello All!

Just a few friendly reminders… 

Author, John Ross
If you will be in the Bedford area this coming Thursday, January 29th, then you must join the Memorial for the first installment of our Lecture Series:  “The Forecast for D-Day” with author John Ross! The lecture will add depth and insight into the overall experience and history of the D-Day Invasion. And it will prove how human interaction is not the only force that can change the course of history, but also the will or force of nature. Join us at the Bedford Welcome Center Community Room, 12 PM to 1 PM. Free admission

The D-Day Foundation has only 9 tickets left for the GI Jive event on Valentine’s Day, so make sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible if you wish to attend!!! You won’t want to miss out on a fabulous dinner, fancy footwork, wonderful music, and warm company. It will be a night for you and your Valentine to remember. Tickets are $75 per individual and $150 per couple. Call us at (540) 586-3329 to purchase your tickets today!


8th Air Force bombing Wilhelmshaven Port, 1943
On this day, January 27, in 1943, the US deployed it first bombing raid against Germany. The 8th Air Force bombers flew out from England, under the command of Brig. General Newton Longfellow, with orders to target the Wilhelmshaven Port. Fifty-three of sixty-four plans reached their targets, mostly warehouses and factories producing war materials, while simultaneously taking down twenty-two enemy planes in the process. Only three US planes were lost on the return flight. Overall, the mission was a successful first attack against Germany.

The 'Memphis Bell' B-17 Bomber and crew.
Heavy bombing raids were new to warfare during World War II. In fact, the 8th Air Force had only been activated just one year before, in January 1942. Within months, the US Army Air Force was able to establish three separate command units: the VIII Bomber Command, 19 January 1942, who used strategic bombardment with four engine planes; the VIII Fighter Command, who provided fighter planes alongside the bombers; and the VIII Air Support Command, 24 April 1942, who supplied scouting, transportation, and tactical bombing with two-engine planes. For the first mission, the 8th Air Force used the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberators as their bombers of choice. Both planes could withstand heavy artillery and were equipped with long-range bombers, perfect for precise attacks. ‘Memphis Belle’ is probably the most well known B-17 Flying Fortress bomber because her crew was the first to complete 25 successful missions over the course of the war.

Take Care,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge

Hello All,

US Soldier on watch during the Battle of the Bulge.
Here at the Memorial, our primary focus is to educate the public about the importance and impact of the Normandy Invasion. However, we also want to educate the public about the impact of World War II and how the success of the D-Day landings made possible for all other advances made during the war. Another crucial battle to take place just months after the Invasion was the Battle of the Bulge.

Soldiers in line for a hot meal.
January 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Bulge, the last major attempt by Adolph Hitler to push back the Allied Forces and keep them out of Germany. The battle actually began December 16, 1944, but the battle was not officially over until January 25, 1945.

By this point in the war, the Allied Forces were gaining the advantage quickly in Europe. From June 6th to December 16th, they had reached the eastern side of France, stretching their forces from the North to the South, rapidly encroaching on the German border. As mentioned previously, Hitler launched the German Army Ardennes offensive between Aachen and Bastogne on December 16, 1945, gathering together as many able bodied men as possible, about 200,000 across the line.

The American’s were taken aback by the sheer magnitude of the German bombardment, with the German’s firing everything they had at the Allies, forcing the Allies back. However, the US 2nd and 99th Divisions were able to hold ground at Elsenborn and Malmedy. Because of bad winter weather conditions, the Allies were not able to receive the air support they needed to regain ground, so the Germans took the advantage. Any prisoner taken was executed by direct orders from the German Colonel Joachim Peiper. This atrocity only fueled the Allied forces to fight harder and beat the Germans. Some days later, the US 101st Airborne Division and US 10th and 19th Armored Divisions were completely encircled by German forces, but continued to fight.
Close to Christmas, German supply lines were running low causing a need to halt the advance in order to regroup; however, Hitler refused to stop and ordered his forces to continue. Once the bad weather finally broke, the allied air support was able to regain some ground with 2,000 air sorties being launched, bringing in supplies to the front lines. With supplies replenished, Allied forces were able to counter attack and destroy German ground vehicles and were able to occupy 60 miles of territory by Christmas. On December 25, 1945, the British 29th Armored Brigade and American 2nd Armored Division were able to take down the 2nd Panzer Division. German losses for the day included 3,500 infantry men, 400 vehicles, and 81 tanks. This defeat, and the additional aid for the 101st Airborne forces in Bastogne, forced Hitler to halt the advance.

US Tanks in Belgium, January 1945.
By New Year’s Day, the German forces launched two new attacks on the Allied air fields and were only able to gain back some ground. However, ultimately the Germans were all but defeated, destroyed, or taken prisoner by the end of January. The rest of the month consisted of Allied Forces establishing their newly gained territory just miles away from the German border. By the end, the Battle of the Bulge became the bloodiest battle of World War II with over 100,000 German casualties and between 70,000 to 81,000 American losses. The Germans lost their reserve units, Luftwaffe was destroyed, and what remained of the regular army in the west was pushed back to the Siegfried Line in Germany.

While the loss is unbelievably staggering, winning the battle was pivotal to the Allied forces ultimately winning the war.

Aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge
Take Care,

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

D-day Memorial's GI Jive Event

Hello Everyone,

Now that it is the New Year, we can start looking forward to the next big fundraising event held by the National D-day Memorial, the GI Jive! If you have attended the Jive in the past then you know how much fun the event can be with all the laughing, dancing, and eating! It is one of the highlights of the year! This year the event falls on Valentine’s Day, Saturday February 14, 2015. What better way to say ‘I love you’ than a night of 1940’s romance and dance. Spend the evening in the beautiful Trivium Estate, enjoying delicious food, sounds of the 1940s by Karen Nichols Quartet, a silent auction, and an exciting dance competition with prizes! Doors open at 6:00 o’ clock in the evening and the fun does not stop until 10:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased through the Foundation’s office; our phone number is (540) 586-3329. Tickets are $75 for individuals and $150 per couple. REMEMBER, space is limited and tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis so don’t miss out on a night of elegance and romance! It is truly a beautiful and memorable evening.
Did you know?

Jitterbug Magazine, 1940s
The Savoy Ballroom in New York City opened in 1926, launching Swinging Jazz into stardom, creating the music that truly symbolizes the 1930s and 1940s decades. The Lindy Hop is one of the most popular, and original, swing dances of the 1940s, evolving from the Charleston of the late 1920s. When the 'age of jazz' was emerging and growing into a completely new genre, the dance styles evolved alongside it. Swing had a jovial decade long run until the 1950s rock n’ roll era took its place.

The Lindy Hop originated in 1927 when George “Shorty” Snowden, an enthusiastic dancer, was asked to name the new moves by a reporter. Gaining inspiration from a newspaper headline “Lindy Hops the Atlantic”, after famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh, the pilot who completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic that same year. Others refer to the dance as the “Jitterbug”, a six beat variation dubbed by Cab Calloway. The 1930s saw a major growth of admiration for swing and the Lindy Hop dance, but it was not until the 1940s, when US servicemen really took the dance by storm and popularized the moves across the world.

The dance has many variations depending on the tempo of the music. Dancers can choose to go slow and smooth, the very meaning of elegance, or they can dance fast and wild, using stunning footwork that seems to make them fly across the dance floor.
Faye McKenzie dancing with a service member at the Hollywood Canteen.

Herbert White created a Lindy Hop dance troupe, called the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, out of the Savory Ballroom. The troupe was showcased in various films, including “Hellzapoppin” (1941), “Sugar Hill Masquerade” (1942), and “Killer Diller” (1948).

As with any new pop culture phenomena, swing dance received some negative reviews. In 1936, Philip Nutl, the President of the American Society of Teachers of Dancing, said swing would not last through the winter. However, by 1942, the craze could not be ignored and swing was ceremoniously accepted by all. The wave of popularity lasted until the mid 1950s but was replaced by new moves by younger generations. However, swing did see a revival in the 1990s, with grandparents influencing their grandchildren in the ways of the past.

There are fifteen different swing variations that have developed over the decades.
1. Ballroom West Coast Swing: Popular in ballroom dance schools.
2. Cajun Swing: Born in the bayous of Louisiana.
3. Carolina Shag: Popular in the Carolinas and pays particular attention to the leader’s nimble feet.
4. Country Western Swing: A style of the Jitterbug popularized in the 1980s and usually danced to Country Western music.
Swing dancers at the Trocadero in L.A, CA, 1940s
5. DC Hand Dancing: Washington D.C.’s version of the Lindy.
6. East Coast Swing: Six count style of the Lindy, poplar in dance organizations.
7. Imperial Swing: popular in St. Louis, Missouri.
8. Jive: International style of swing usually danced in world competitions.
9. Lindy: smooth style swing dance
10. Pony Swing: Country Western style of the Cajun swing.
11. Push Swing: Popular in Dallas, Texas, the dance involves spinning the follower between dance positions with a rock rhythm break.
12. Savoy Swing: a style of swing particularly popular in the New York Savoy Ballroom, 1930s and 1940s. This style is very fast, jumpy, and casual-looking.
13. Supreme Swing: style dance popular in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
14. West Coast Swing: Popular in California night clubs, 1930s and 1940s, the use of nimble feet is required to do this dance justice.
15. Whip: Houston, Texas created the Whip which is similar to the Push Swing dance but with a wave rhythm break.

I hope you are inspired to dance out our own Jive this year!
Take Care,