9th Air Force Insignia Orv Iverson

Normandy Invasion

This page of this site tells the story of the WWII Invasion of Normandy from Orv Iverson's perspective.

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Orv's story - Normandy

Normandy group
Bill Churhan Gordon S. Brown
Wyatt Kirk Orv Iverson Roy Vanderpolder

Group at Normandy (left to right)

CG, 9th Air Force Normandy Historical Data from Archives, Washington D.C.

I asked about the dates for some of the pictures included on this site. The following quote from Orv may explain why some details may have been lost:

About your question regarding the exact dates when those pictures were taken. First, Roy VanderPolder was my buddy on the cannon (howitzer). but just "Roy" is ok.

I am afraid I can't be very exact about dates. All hell was breaking around us and we kept going 16 hours a day or more. It was hard to sleep with the navy firing those shells over our heads. We could hear the guns when they were fired, then the "whoosh" when the shells passed over us, then an explosion when they hit. Then the enemy was popping flares via shell, so sometimes it was like daylight at night. We ran out of rations, so Col. Hopkins and I were going down to the beach (Omaha) to get some K-rations. Unfortunately, he was going to have me take a short cut. Well, it got us into an ambush so we had to plow through two hedgerows to escape. The steering in my truck was damaged so we had to make a run for it, and we hitched a ride to the beach.

I didn't mean to turn this into a big story, but I just wanted to point out in all this confusion I have lost track of the sequence of events. I became terribly fatigued, and to top it off we didn't have water to drink. To make matters worse, I was a 100% teetotaler, but some of the guys had gotten some champaign that the Germans had "liberated" from the French, so thinking this would quench my thirst like soda pop I drank a canteen cup. That was a definite a "no no" for me. However, I really slept that night. A big bomb had blown a ten by ten hole only about 50 feet away and I didn't' wake up. (Roy by crater 40kb)

The above quote and intervening years are sufficient explanation for me! And I hope more of Orv's memories will show up on this site!

Normandy Pictures

(Click to enlarge, "back" on your browser to return)

Normandy Canon 31kb Normandy Landing Craft 40kb Normandy Traffic 35kb Easy Red 30kb
Roy V. and Orv Iverson Normandy Landing Craft Normandy traffic Easy Red, June 8

Photos by Orv Iverson (and some archive shots)

Rangers Pt. du Hoc Cliffs, Normandy  29kb
Edward R. Antonitis(top left)
Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Rudder and
D-Day, Spearhead of Invasion by: H W Thompson

Orv was originally going to be driving his radio equipment off the Landing Craft on D-Day in his Half-track truck (43kb), but the FM1498 Radio Carriers required a him to use a larger 6x6 truck (38kb).

The half-track I was originally assigned to transport the FM 1498 into Omaha Beach on D-1 was a last minute decision, complicated by the sinking of a ship that had the original one sent from USA earlier in the spring of '44. I had taken it down to Bournemouth, England to do a water proofing on it for the invasion We had to do our own water proofing with a tacky,green putty, which was placed over the spark plugs, around the carburetor where a hose ran up into the cab.

Now, keep in mind, I had never driven any truck, let alone an armored vehicle, without any instruction, I was given a half track to be driven on the left side on narrow English roads. I found it a big thrill. It had electric brakes that I dialed to fullest strength. When I slammed on the brakes it nearly threw me through the windshield. Anyway, after going to the trouble of getting the vehicle ready for the invasion, it was discovered the FM 1498 carriers would not fit under the low profile hoops of the half tracks. Consequently, I had to trade the half-track for a two & half ton, six by six truck which I subsequently lost in a Normandy ambush.

Orv was in many ways the young, All-American, farm boy off on his first Big Adventure, away from the farm, certainly joining all the others that suddenly found themselves in over their heads on their Great Adventure. But in this picture of Orv holding a German lantern and live grenade in front of a bunker at Normandy (17kb), exemplifying that young and foolish streak that kept them all going.

In regards to the Normandy bunker picture, with me holding flashlight and a Jerry hand grenade. You're right, it was a case of being young and foolish. The idea of the flashlight was to look for thin, red wires which was used to set up booby traps that would set off grenades. I have a hard time explaining why we took these risks. I guess we were curious to see what the inside of the German bunkers looked like. This came later after the pressures eased.

Orv's official Normandy Invasion Assignment

..... Here the tactical air commander can and must lend his aid by ensuring the most judicious employment, through joint use, of each item of transportation allocated to the various and sundry units regardless of relation of function. To cite one instance a vehicle allotted to an MP detachment scheduled for D plus 2, that otherwise might have transported miscellaneous company supplies, was filled with vitally needed FM radio equipment for initial trans-channel communications and a plow for burying, spiral-four cable, among other much needed signal items. But it is posed, will this relatively disinterested unit seek out those requiring this equipment? No, not unless a signal or communications man is sent with it and directly charged with the responsibility of getting it to an appointed place. This was done in this case and proved indeed wise.....

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If you are interested in discussing topics related to World War II and/or the Ninth Air Force, or Ninth Air Force Association, or if you know of good links associated with these subjects, please e-mail me, Orv Iverson, by clicking on "Email" icon below.

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