Ken Hammontree • Living History Productions
Tonight is the evening of July 6, 1944. General Eisenhower is addressing the international press corps that has been flown across the English Channel for this exclusive press conference. These are Eisenhower’s first public comments on the D-Day invasion (Operation Overlord) and its success.
Operation Overlord was the greatest amphibious operation the world has ever seen – a truly staggering feat of logistics that involved putting ashore on the Normandy beaches a total of 176,475 men, 3000 artillery pieces, 1500 tanks and 15,000 assorted vehicles. Close to 8000 fighting ships, merchant ships, and assault crafts were committed to the entire invasion force along with 10,500 air sorties.
Allied commanders secretly predicted to Eisenhower that as many as 10,000 men could be killed in the first 24 hours of the landings (The Longest Day) and that the invasion could be pushed back into the sea. Thankfully, they were overly pessimistic. Fewer than 4500 Allied soldiers were killed on D-Day, and the total casualties were 8422.
This was in part due to the highly intricate Allied deception plans and the breaking of the Enigma Code that led Hitler and his military staff to believe the invasion would be at Pas-De-Calais, the narrowest point between England and France. The D-Day landings were the beginning of the end of Hitler’s Third Reich.
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About the Show
Call him General Dwight David Eisenhower or General George Patton. Or call him Tecumseh, legendary Shawnee leader. How about Daniel Boone? Or better yet, just call him Ken Hammontree. No, he’s not identity-challenged. He is Mr. Ohio History and a walking historical library.
After college, Ken began teaching American and Ohio history. He was surprised to learn that many of his students did not harbor the same excitement about history that he did. Realizing the students had a difficult time relating to history, Ken came up with an unusual plan. He would occasionally teach the class in first-person, impersonating a historical figure. His first performance was Johnny Appleseed.