Fred Vogels, founder and composer of Back to Normandy has the honour to work on the music of a new docu/film by Tim Gray: The 29th Division Makes a Final Landing in Normandy. His passion and skills for filmmusic and his efforts, to keep up the memory for those who liberated Western Europe (by the music and website of Back to Normandy) will be combined in this special project. Fred Vogels: "my most honorable assignment ever for a group of veterans I follow for 10 years now in Normandy".
The World War II Foundation, www.wwiifoundation.org is the worldwide leading filmcompany that produces educational films and create initiatives recognizing the bravery and enormous contributions made by the men and women of the United States military during World War II. Many docu/films of this foundation are produced by (2x Emmy Award Winner) Tim Gray Media (http://www.timgraymedia.com)
The outline of this project
What happened on D-Day
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the green 29th Infantry Division faced some of the most brutal fighting on Omaha Beach. Perhaps the worst area on the beach was Dog Green, directly in front of strong points guarding the Vierville draw and under heavy flanking fire from emplacements to the west, near Pointe de la Percee. Company A of the 116th [29th Division] was due to land on this sector with Company C of the 2nd Rangers on its right flank, and both units came in on their targets. One of the six LCA’s carrying Company A [116th Regiment,29th Division] foundered about a thousand yards of shore, and passing Rangers saw men jumping overboard and being dragged down by their loads.
At H+6 minutes the remaining craft grounded in water 4 to 6 feet deep, about 30 yards short of the outward band of obstacles. Starting off the craft in three files, center file first and the flank files peeling right and left, the men were enveloped in accurate and intense fire from automatic weapons. Order was quickly lost as the troops attempted to dive under water or dropped over the sides into surf over their heads. Mortar fire scored four direct hits on one LCA, which “disintegrated.” Casualties were suffered all the way to the sand, but when the survivors got there, some found they could not hold and came back into the water for cover, while others took refuge behind the nearest obstacles.
Remnants of one boat team on the right flank organized a small firing line on the first yards of sand, in full exposure to the enemy. In short order every officer of the company, including Captain Taylor N. Fellers, was a casualty, and most of the sergeants were killed or wounded. The leaderless men gave up any attempt to move forward and confined their efforts to saving the wounded, many of whom drowned in the rising tide.
Some troops were later able to make the sea wall by staying in the edge of the water and going up the beach with the tide. Fifteen minutes after landing, Company A was out of action for the day. Estimates of its casualties range as high as two thirds…(courtesy 29th ID Assoc.)
The last journey
In May of 2014, a handful of remaining members of the 29th Infantry Division made a final trip back to Normandy to recognize the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The World War II Foundation will be along as these veterans share their stories and look over the bluffs of Omaha Beach one last time. The 29th vets has also visited the Normandy-American cemetery to say their final goodbyes to their friends in the division who never left Omaha Beach alive on June 6, 1944.