×
FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The World at War

The Road to D-Day

Behind the Battle That Won the War

Allied forces Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with U.S. Army paratroopers of Easy Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (Strike) of the 101st Airborne Division, at Greenham Common Airfield in England June 5, 1944. REUTERS

A killing frost struck the United Kingdom in the middle of May 1944, stunting the plum trees and the berry crops. Stranger still was a persistent drought. Hotels posted admonitions above their bathtubs: “The Eighth Army crossed the desert on a pint a day. Three inches only, please.” British newspapers reported that even King George VI kept “quite clean with one bath a week in a tub filled only to a line which he had painted on it.” Gale winds from the north grounded most Allied bombers flying from East Anglia and the Midlands, although occasional fleets of Boeing Flying Fortresses could still be seen sweeping toward the continent, their contrails spreading like ostrich plumes.

Nearly five years of war had left British cities as “bedraggled, unkempt and neglected as rotten teeth,” according to one visitor from the United States, who found that “people referred to ‘before the war’ as if

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue