Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.
My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. 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.
— July 5
Note by General Eisenhower (misdated) on the eve of the (successful) Normandy Landings June 5, 1944.
There are an infinity of possibilities in any human endeavour. What if the Airborne drops had gone according to plan and concentrated American units ran into concentrated German opposition – instead of the mass confusion misdrops caused? What if the Omaha landings had been aborted and the troops withdrawn? What if the Utah landings had gone in at the right spot? What if the guns at Pointe du Hoc had still been operational?
A myriad of possibilities. None of them came to pass. And less than 200,000 men – British, Canadian, American, French and God knows what else – performed an impossible task admirably and thereby contributed materially to the liberation of the world. Let there be no doubt – it was an impossible task. I’ve been there – a year ago today – it was flat-out impossible. And yet they did it while the world watched. And waited.
ALLIES LAND ON NORTHERN COAST OF FRANCE UNDER STRONG AIR COVER . . .