|Didn't you know that America won the war?|
Because most of the programs center on American troops there is a pervasive attitude among modern Americans born after 1945 that we won World War II almost by ourselves and were thus crowned the Super-Power Leader of all the free world.
Oh Americans are vaguely aware that there were some British and Russians involved somewhere doing something. But Hollywood spends little time on these allied troops. In the eyes of Hollywood and the fans it was Gregory Peck, Lee Marvin and Tom Hanks who won the war. That slanted Hollywood viewpoint of a Super America has encouraged an aggressive almost go it alone foreign policy in places like the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American view becomes that the USA is all-powerful and can do anything.
|Indian Army at Monte Cassino, Italy|
U.S. had a smaller role in Italy
The Germans in Italy would have had no problem repelling an invasion by American forces only.
Any review of the troops on the front line tells a different story of the war. (see link at the bottom) The troops from the British Empire alone outnumbered the Americans.
British Empire: In Italy the British had huge numbers of divisions and brigades from all over the Empire. Along with the British units there were many divisions from India, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
|The Jewish Brigade fought the|
Germans in Italy
Polish Corps: The Poles were major players in Italy with two infantry divisions, an armored brigade and an artillery unit.
French Expeditionary Corp: The French Empire was in Italy in full force. Multiple colonial divisions were on the front line from Algeria, Morroco and the Free French.
|Polish Soldiers at Monte Cassino|
Other Allies: The Allied Armies in Italy also included a division from Brazil, five Royalist Italian divisions, the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade and the Jewish Brigade.
D-Day in Normandy
It is much the same story in the invasion of France. The majority of the D-Day troops were from the British Empire.
53% - United Kingdom and Canada
47% - United States
Overall, the British 2nd Army contingent consisted of 83,115 troops (61,715 of them British). In addition to the British and Canadian combat units, eight Australian officers were attached to the British forces as observers. The nominally British air and naval support units included a large number of crew from Allied nations, including several RAF squadrons manned almost exclusively by foreign air-crew.
|D-Day in Normandy|
Canadian troops moving towards Juno Beach
The Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach faced 2 heavy batteries of 155 mm guns and 9 medium batteries of 75 mm guns, as well as machine-gun nests, pillboxes, other concrete fortifications, and a seawall twice the height of the one at Omaha Beach. The first wave suffered 50% casualties, the second highest of the five D-Day beachheads. The use of armor was successful at Juno, in some instances actually landing ahead of the infantry as intended and helping clear a path inland.
The American First Army contingent totaled approximately 73,000 men, including 15,600 from the airborne divisions.
|German General Otto Fretter-Pico, Commander of the |
148th Infantry Division, and General Mario Carloni
surrendering to Brazilian FEB - Italy, 1945.
Of the 16 tanks that landed upon the shores of Omaha Beach only 2 survived the landing. The official record stated that "within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, [the leading] company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action. Every officer and sergeant had been killed or wounded [...] It had become a struggle for survival and rescue".
Future Hollywood Movies: Will Hollywood any time soon release a film featuring the major sacrifices of the Polish Corps in Italy? or the Canadians at Normandy? or the Indian Divisions in Italy? I doubt it and that means future generations who get their history from a TV screen will have a slanted one-sided view of the world.
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