by Martin K A Morgan
For more than 72 years now, the Normandy invasion has consistently interested history enthusiasts from around the world. Within this topic, the history of airborne operations on D-Day has remained especially popular and inspirational.
When we remember the paratroopers and glider infantrymen who contributed so significantly to the hard-won success of June 6th, we tend to remember the stories that leave us with something to admire. Extreme heroism, decisive leadership, and noble self-sacrifice give us reasons to believe in the greatness of a generation who went to France that summer to be a part of its liberation.
While the tendency to celebrate courage and intrepidity is certainly understandable, it is also important to remember that the battle in Normandy could be brutal – that lives could be brought to an end by the kind of ferocity that is usually not associated with the war in northern Europe. For some U.S. paratroopers, the bitter end was neither glorious nor redemptive. For some, June 6th, 1944 brought a violent end in an action that few have ever heard of. Just over 13,000 U.S. sky soldiers came to occupied France during the pre-dawn hours of D-Day.
It is a story that is so big that the individual often gets lost in it. The story that you are about to watch relates to what happened to eight U.S. paratroopers on June 6th. This is the story of eight men who only lived through the opening hours of France’s liberation. What happened to them simply slipped into obscurity.
This is the story of the massacre at Hémevez.