D-DAY AND WINNING THE LOGISTICS

lo-gist-ics  noun plural but singular or plural in construction

\lō-ˈjis-tiks, lə-\

: the things that must be done to plan and organize a complicated activity or event that involves many people

: the aspect of military science dealing with the procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military matériel, facilities, and personnel

: the handling of the details of an operation

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“You will not find it difficult to prove that battles, campaigns, and even wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.”

GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

 

Successful tradeshows, meetings, and conferences  do not happen without effective and well coordinated logistics. Logistics are the bedrock and foundation of the events industry.

People, freight, decorating, electronic communications, audio visual, lighting, marketing … and many other elements … must be transported and brought together and synchronized precisely and on time and on budget.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibit installation & dismantle, event general contracting, event production and management, retail and museum installations, advanced sales lead capture, and audiovisual production and installation.

A project or event for which Willwork is engaged may involve only one area of our suite of services – or all, or any other combination and number, of our services.

No matter what is required, and for what Willwork is called upon, logistics are at a premium and of the highest priority.

Landing on D-Day

Landing on D-Day

On this day, June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Willwork Exhibit & Event Services looks back to that epic event in world history, and highlights the sacrifice – and logistics – that were necessary to successfully execute what was at the time the largest and most complex amphibious invasion in history.

D-Day was the commencement, from the north, of the Allied invasion of German-held fortress Europe. This Allied force moved southward – as Allied armies (which had landed in Italy three months prior) moved northward, and Allied Soviet armies moved from their homeland eastward, creating an ever-tightening three-sided vice that would eventually crush the Third Reich.

“Operation Overlord” was the codename for the invasion of France; “Operation Neptune” was the codeword for the assault phase of the operation.

On D-Day, Allied forces, spearheaded by American, British, and Canadian troops, transported 160,000 men across the English channel toward beaches along the coast of Normandy in northwest France. By the end of the day, all five beaches (Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword, and Utah) in northern France had been secured – at a terrible cost to Allies: 4,414 dead, and a total of at least 12,000 casualties.

Over the course of June 1944, 875,000 Allied soldiers – representing the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Greece, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland – landed in France.

First and foremost, D-Day was successful because of heroism, unshakable belief in the mission, and love for fellow comrades in arms. Yet, for sure, had the Allied logistics not been so precise and well orchestrated, the invasion could have been a disastrous failure.

Consider the following sampling of D-Day logistics statistics:

Excerpt below from a story, titled, “D-Day 60th Anniversary: Training, Logistics, Build-Up, Deception,” that ran 10 years ago at Culture24, a British website:

…. The first US military formation (4,500 men from the 34th Division) arrived in Northern Ireland in mid-January 1942. Under a programme codenamed Bolero, within two and half years more than 1.5 million US military personnel had arrived in the UK – around 700,000 between January-June 1944 alone – and were scattered in thousands of camps and air bases across the country.

On 6th June 1944 more than 5 per cent of this total landed in France. Within the next six months almost all US ground troops had left Britain for mainland Europe.

The British Army over the same period doubled from its 1940 strength of 1.5 million men. In addition more than 250,000 Canadian troops were in Britain, as were many thousands of French, Polish, Dutch, Belgian and Czech personnel deployed in national contingents.

The amount of supplies required to sustain, arm and equip this huge number of troops was immense. Much of what was needed to outfit, feed, and arm millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen was shipped across the Atlantic.

The invasion and follow-on forces required 16 million tonnes of supplies, 4,200 tanks and other tracked vehicles, 3,500 artillery pieces, 140,000 transport vehicles and 12,000 aircraft ….

Please click here to be taken to the full story.

Excerpt from, “The Logistics of Invasion,” by Major Frederick V. Godfrey:

Preparations for the World War II invasion of France began 2 years before the actual operation. From January 1942 to June 1944, the United States shipped over 17 million tons of cargo to the United Kingdom. Included in the shipments was everything from general supplies and equipment to 800,000 pints of blood plasma, 125 million maps, prefabricated harbors (known as Mulberries), a replacement rail network, cigarettes, and toothbrushes.

Please click here to read the full story.

On the importance of encryption and deception; here are excerpts from a story, titled, “70 Years On: the facts you may not know about D-Day,” that ran in euronews:

… early on D-Day morning “Ruperts” – dummies dressed in paratrooper uniforms complete with boots and helmets – were dropped in Normandy and the Pas-de-Calais. The dummies were equipped with recordings of gunfire, while the real troops supplied additional sound effects to create the illusion of a large scale airborne attack. This operation, code-named “Titanic,” was designed to distract the German military while the main forces landed further to the west ….

…. The ENIGMA machine was an encrypting device that the Germans had used since the 1920s. The ingenious machine has more than 200 trillion possible letter combinations and was t hought to be unbreakable. However, in the lead up to D-Day, unbeknown to the German Wehrmacht, the Allies had cracked the code with the help of Polish cryptologists. The breakthrough proved invaluable to the D-Day plans because the Allies were able to gather significant intelligence from the decrypted messages. It also allowed them to see if the Germans were buying the deception operations ….

Please click here to read the full story.

The Mulberry Harbour, brilliant – and so critical to D-Day success. Here is an excerpt from the History Learning Site about the Mulberry Harbour:

The Mulberry Harbour was actually two artificial harbours, which were towed across the English Channel and put together off the coast of Normandy. One, known as Mulberry A, was constructed at Omaha Beach and the other, known as Mulberry B (though nicknamed ‘Port Winston’), was constructed off Arromanches at Gold Beach. Put together like a vast jigsaw puzzle, when both were fully operational, they were capable of moving 7,000 tons of vehicles and goods each day.

Each of the two artificial harbours was made up of about 6 miles of flexible steel roadways that floated on steel or concrete pontoons. The roadways were codenamed “Whales” and the pontoons “Beetles”. The ‘Whales’ ended at giant pier heads that had ‘legs’ that rested on the seabed. The whole structure was protected from the force of the sea by scuttled ships, sunken caissons and a line of floating breakwaters. The material requirements for any part of either Mulberry A or B were huge – 144,000 tons of concrete, 85,000 tons of ballast and 105,000 tons of steel.

Please click here to read the full story.

D-Day

D-Day Letter from Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to Members of the Allied Expeditionary Force

In 1946, after the Allies won the war, the Axis were defeated, and the most devastating conflict in history had ended, U.S. Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King wrote in a report to U.S. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, “The war has been variously termed a war of productions and a war of machines. Whatever else it is, so far as the United States is concerned, it is a war of logistics.”

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services says thank you and honors all those who participated in and suffered and sacrificed – some giving the ultimate sacrifice – in taking those beaches 70 years ago, and securing a foothold to take back a continent and save the world.

For more information on D-Day, including multimedia education on the invasion, please click here to be taken to the website of the National D-Day Museum.