The Liberation of Europe

75 years ago today, June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied troops made their way across the English Channel, landing along a 50 mile stretch of beach to begin the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.

Thousands of ships and aircraft would support the troops who landed on the beaches that day, thousands of whom would be killed or wounded.  In the end, Nazi Germany was defeated and Europe liberated.

Michael Hubiack was one of the thousands of U.S. troops who took part in what was code named Operation Overlord.  Very early in the morning the troops climbed down rope ladders to landing crafts.  As the morning haze lifted, they could see a beautiful beach that was littered with large metal obstacles.  It was low tide when Michael and G Company landed on Omaha Beach as the 1st wave of Operation Overlord (D-Day).   Once the ramp of the landing craft was dropped, they ran up the beach and passed the obstacles.  As they got further into the beach, the German machine guns opened up on the troops. G Company went as far as they could into a rocky area and set up the 60 mm mortar.

Michael was the Assistant Gunner on the 60mm mortar.  The Gunner would adjust the range and they began to fire on the German location.  The beach started to take German artillery fire and Michael’s mortar location was hit and everyone in the area was wounded. Michael had shrapnel wounds to his head, hand and back.  He laid in the rocks until the heavy fighting had passed.   A Navy medic cared for Michael and carried him to a transport ship and the wounded from Omaha Beach returned to England.

Michael spent 3 months in a hospital in Totten, England before being loaded onto a C47 aircraft for the flight back to the United States.  Michael and other wounded men would recuperate at the famed resort, The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. After Michael recovered from his wounds, he was discharged from the Army.

Today we remember those brave troops who willingly put themselves in harms way and those who never came home to defeat tyranny and bring freedom back to millions across Europe.

 

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