, 18 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter

75 years ago today, one day before #DDay, Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower gave the final order for Operation Overlord to commence the next day.

“O.K., let’s go,” he said.

“The time was then 4:15 a.m., June 5,” Ike later wrote.
2/ Beyond considerations of weather, moon, tide and time of sunrise, Operation Overlord had detractors. Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, a senior commander in the Royal Air Force, had thought the airborne operation would cause a “futile slaughter” of two divisions.
3/ “He believed that the combination of unsuitable landing grounds and anticipated resistance was to great a hazard to overcome,” Ike later recalled in CRUSADE IN EUROPE.

Ike went to his tent “and sat down to think.” He then “telephoned him that the attack would go as planned.”
4/ Was Leigh-Mallory right? Would it fail?

As Stephen Ambrose wrote: “A minute earlier (Ike) had been the most powerful man in the world. ...The moment he uttered the word, however, he was powerless.”

It was now all out of his control.
5/ That afternoon, Eisenhower sat at a portable table and on a pad of paper composed a letter in case of disaster:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops...
6/ “My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available,” he wrote. “The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”
7/ As @nprscottsimon once wrote: “It's telling to see today where Eisenhower made changes in his note. He crossed out ‘This particular operation’ to write ‘My decision to attack,’ which is emphatic and personal. And he drew a long, strong line under ‘mine alone.’”
8/ But that note went into his wallet.

What servicemembers saw was this:

“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months...
9/ “...The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine,...
10/ “... the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely....
11/ “... But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man...
12/ “...Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men...
13/ “... The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!...
14/ “... Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

“—Dwight D. Eisenhower”
15/ He drove that night to the men of the 101st Airborne. They were preparing to fly to Normandy in just hours.

This was “one of the units whose participation had been so severely questioned by the air commander,” Ike recalled.

Leigh-Mallory had predicted 70% casualties.
16/ “We saw hundreds of paratroopers…packing up for the big hop and jump. Ike wandered through them, stepping over packs, guns, and a variety of equipment such as only paratrooper people can devise, chinning with this and that one,” Ike’s aide recalled. “All were put at ease.”
17/ Ambrose: “As the last plane roared into the sky Eisenhower turned to his driver with a visible sagging in his shoulders. A reporter thought he saw tears in the Supreme Commander‘s eyes. He begin to walk slowly toward his car. ‘Well,’ he said quietly, ‘it’s on.’”

* apologies for the typos in there
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Jake Tapper
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!