D-Day: Leap into History 2004
Distributed by Human Relations Media, 41 Kensico Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549; 800-431-2050
Produced by NBC News Productions, Inc.
VHS, color, 88 min.
Jr. High - Adult
World War II, History
Date Entered: 06/07/2005Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA
This is a very personal, and heroic, tale of the Normandy landings in June 1944. Many of the paratroopers in the airdrop in the early morning hours of June 6th found themselves separated from their units and comrades, miles away from their intended targets. Such was the case of some 160 men of the 507th parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division who found themselves near the village of Graignes. None of them had ever heard of the village and it was not even on their maps. However, like American soldiers have done in every war they improvised and set out to deter any German troops from getting past them, either heading into the beachhead or away from the beaches. Over the next five days the Americans held out against some 2000 SS troops inflicting heavy casualties and destroying an important bridge across the local marshes. The Americans eventually ran out of ammunition and had to retreat. The enraged Germans murdered the wounded Americans that they captured as well as the town’s priests and a number of townspeople who assisted the Americans. This production from NBC News Dateline follows three American veterans of this battle as they travel back to Graignes and visit the town and the people who gave them such invaluable. Tom Brokaw does a fine job as the narrator and guide in this production. The story is very touching and moving. If it was not a true story folks would say that it was made up. The accompanying Teacher’s Guide is informative and a good resource for teaching about the battle and the Normandy invasion.