June 6, 1944 saw the launch of one of the most audacious actions in military history. The pinnacle of Operation Overlord, the Normandy Invasion -- also known as D-Day -- was an made by Allied forces to strike back against Hitler and retake Western Europe. Meticulous planning led to victory, but not without the cost of lives. While numerous servicemen gave their lives, one ship was the tip of the spear: USS Corry.
The Allies faced a well-prepared German front. The Atlantic Wall had been created as a fortification against any such attack, and following France's defeat in 1940 the Germans erected massive fortifications using reinforced concrete reinforced to resists shore and aerial bombardments.
When Operation Neptune (the cross-channel and naval support phase of Overlord) proceeded, it was with the knowledge that the operation was vital to the success of the war effort. In his order of the day, General Eisenhower stated, "You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you." It was with the lead ship, Corry, that the invasion by sea commenced.
Well Decorated: Corry received four battle stars for her service during World War II.
Corry was a Bristol-class destroyer., commissioned on December 18, 1941. She had an impressive service history, escorting the SS Queen Elizabeth into New York Harbor in May of 1942 and then acting in numerous support roles for various operations, including the invasion of North Africa. She also assisted in anti-submarine duties. Finally, she was recalled to Great Britain for Operation Neptune.
Taking her position at the front line in support of the landing, Corry was to provide direct fire support. Her crew expected aerial smoke deployment to help hide her from German shore batteries, but the plane tasked with delivering smoke was shot down. Therefore, Corry was left out in the open at nearly point-blank range against German artillery.
While reports suggest that it was not the German artillery, but rather an underwater mine she hit that caused the massive damage, it remains that the Corry was horribly injured. In acts of bravery, her crew attempted to keep her afloat and fighting, but in the end she broke in two and sank in the shallow waters off the coast of Normandy. Her crew then faced surviving in extremely cold water while bombarded by German fire, it took over two hours for them to be rescued.
USS Corry split in two by damage
A Pivotal Sacrifice: Corry was the only US Destroyer sunk on D-Day.
Corry's actions are just one of many remarkable tales of the hellish day of the invasion. At the end of the invasion the Allied forces had taken the beaches and began the breakout into France. Although the cost was great, the war effort continued. Today, Wargaming salutes those who valiantly gave their lives so others could have the freedoms we share.
Kansas native Tim St. Arnold studied History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with minors in Anthropology and Political Science. At Wargaming, he's able to put his passions for military history and gaming to work as a researcher. Look for him on the seas of World of Warships as WG_Admiralty!