The Invasion

Normandy, France

Jack was classified as an observer for the invasion (Jack Nemerov, We Remember History Oral Interview). His duty was to observe the value of waterproofing and getting equipment through the water upon the shore. He was put in a command position, making him responsible for a group of 12 G.I. Officers (Jack Nemerov, WWII Memoir).

On June 5th, 1944, Jack stepped onto a landing craft with his G.I.'s, a jeep, and a small tractor which was to be used to pull equipment that had stalled in the water to the shore (Jack Nemerov, WWII Memoir). They were headed for the invasion of Omaha Beach.

Jack’s landing craft arrived on June 6th at around 6:30 am (Jack Nemerov, WWII Memoir). He had gone in on the first wave with elements of the 29th Infantry Division on the eastern shore of Omaha Beach (Jack Nemerov, We Remember History Oral Interview). The driver of Jack’s landing craft had dropped them in waters up to their chests which immediately proposed an issue to Jack. The soldiers were given the order to return to their landing crafts in the situation that they were unable to hold the beach. At the distance that many of the landing crafts had dropped off their soldiers, getting back to them would have been physically impossible (Jack Nemerov, We Remember History Oral Interview).

As Jack made his way to the shore, he could see the sandy cliff, Pointe du Hoc straight ahead. The German defenses were stationed upon the cliffs on pockets of 88's and machine-gun nests (Jack Nemerov, WWII Memoir). The heavy fire they were producing was very intense.

Not a single tank had made it to shore and their firepower was desperately needed. Jack’s original orders were to prioritize the tanks, but with their engine’s dead in the water, he decided not to waste his time. Instead, he went after the 6x6's which were loaded with guns, ammunition, and medical supplies (Jack Nemerov, WWII Memoir). Within the first 15 minutes of the invasion, there were 5,000 casualties, the majority of which resulted from drowning.

Hours passed before the second wave arrived, and Allied Forces did not begin to penetrate any of the German units until about 12:30 pm. In total, it took around 6 hours of intense fighting on the beach for it to be secured. Around 75% of the men died within this battle.

Jack was on the beach for about two days before he was called back to Bournemouth for debriefing (Jack Nemerov, We Remember History Oral Interview). During this time, he brought up the issue of who was to be in charge of a landing craft. Jack felt that the senior officer or noncommissioned officer on each landing craft should be in charge, not the driver. He believed if he had been in charge of the landing craft he rode in, as he was the Senior Officer on board, he would have forced the driver to take them in as close into shore as the landing crafts had been designed to do (Jack Nemerov, We Remember History Oral Interview). A week later, Jack was ordered back to his outfit in Salisbury Plain.