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The 40 year cover up of the deaths of 749 US Servicemen who died at Slapton Sands, Devon, England

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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 07:49 AM
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Originally posted by Res Ipsa
Where is the conspiracy here? German subs did it.


I don't think that is correct at all - if you read the story you can see that many locals claim there were American servicemen killed in friendly fire - yes undoubtedly, the germans probably did sink the boat in Dorset a few miles along the coast.

That does not explain all the stories as told by the locals and their enduring nature.

You have to understand that at the time very close to D Day all the locals were evacuated, the MOD commandeered the whole area, no civilians were meant to be within 25 sq miles. See this map where the locals were emptied from the area

The question is was the mass grave theory correct and true ? Were servicemen killed in a friendly fire incident ?



The author Ken Small always dismissed the mass grave theory apparently [ according to the Guardian article quoted above in OP and below by Mark Townsend] until before his death where:




Local author Ken Small, whose book The Forgotten Dead broke the story of the E-boat attack, dismissed the rumours until just before he died last March. He told the historian Williams that Seekings had been right. 'I was stunned,' said Williams


The friendly fire was not just small arms it was something to do with a rocket launcher

The stories are confusing and contradictory and the Americans did not tell the American servicemen's families the true story about their loved ones death, allegedly, until the 1980s, when their hand was forced.

Apparently a detailed and unclassified account of the tragedy was always available in the National Archives. It had been prepared and written by the European Theater Historical Section, after the war.

It is true that Eisenhower did order a cover up after the sinking because of the sensitive nature of the information and because of the propaganda value to the germans, so close to D Day.

However - some say it was just forgotten and there was no official cover up after the war and that indeed the American Battle Monuments Commission had ordered and placed a memorial in Cambridge with the names of all those who died during this incident [ immediately post war].

I just find it all mysterious - maybe I should not.


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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 08:47 AM
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This was covered up because the Allies were scared to death to reveal anything about the upcoming D-Day landings. Slapton Sands was chosen because of the likeness to the beaches of Normandy (soil as well as topography wise). It was one of the biggest landing exercises prior to the landings. I don't believe that the Allies slaughtered so many soldiers. The exercise was discovered by German Schnellboote, and they did massive damage. More people died at Slapton Sands than at Utah Beach.

The Allies had set up a giant cover story for the Germans, called Operation Fortitude (divided in North and South). The goal of this operation was to make the Germans believe the landings could happen anywhere but Normandy. It was a complete success, since on June 6th the German High Command believed the landings would take place at Calais. So when the German Schnellboote stumbled upon the exercise they had enough information to find out the landings would take place in Normandy. Allied High Command went in full damage control, because if the Germans found out the Allies would be, well, screwed.

This charade continued well after the D-Day landings, because the Germans still believed the Normandy landings were a diversion and that the real landing still had to take place in Calais. Because of this the Germans kept most of their panzer divisions and a lot of infantry stationed at Calais, making it easier for the troops fighting in Normandy.

So I can understand why this was covered up and that the families knew nothing, it was imperative the Germans didn't find out anything, because it could have possibly endangered the biggest military operation of all time.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 01:38 PM
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reply to post by Razziazoid
 


Hi Razziazoid - thank you for that very informative post. I agree with everything you say and as I stated Eisenhower, did order a cover up. The question is why was it still covered up [ allegedly] 40 yrs later.

Despite the archive documentation - and the Cambridge war memorial listing the fallen, how come the families did not know the real story ?

What about the friendly fire ?

What about the allegations of bodies hastily buried ?



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by Res Ipsa
Where is the conspiracy here? German subs did it.


E-boats actually. They chose Slapton Sands because it resembled Utah Beach in Normandy. The friendly fire incident was a tragedy - a British cruiser was firing onto a pre-selected part of the beach in order to give the US soldiers an idea about what actual combat conditions was like, but there was a communications screwup and the soldiers were on the wrong part of the beach at the wrong time.
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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 02:09 PM
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Originally posted by AngryCymraeg

Originally posted by Res Ipsa
Where is the conspiracy here? German subs did it.


E-boats actually. They chose Slapton Sands because it resembled Utah Beach in Normandy. The friendly fire incident was a tragedy - a British cruiser was firing onto a pre-selected part of the beach in order to give the US soldiers an idea about what actual combat conditions was like, but there was a communications sctrewup and the soldiers were on the wrong part of the beach at the wrong time.


thats right they were e boats according to the articles I have read. So can you elaborate ? Is it true that a rocket launcher set with an hours delay killed 100's ? Is it true that the US servicemen were issued with live ammo ? What about the mass graves ?
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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 03:36 PM
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I can't find any reference to a rocket launcher being used - if I recall correctly the live fire all came from HMS Hawkins, which fired on one part of the beach for 30 minutes. There had been a delay, which the cruiser knew about but which the men on the landing craft didn't. The reason why there was a live fire element was that few of the soldiers involved had ever been under fire and certainly had no idea what naval gunfire was like. On D-Day some beachbound soldiers were horrified when they thought that the USS Texas had blown up. It hadn't - the battleship was just firing its main guns, but they'd never seen anything like that before.
As for the mass graves I don't think that anyone has any hard evidence of these. Don't forget that this took place in 1944, at a time when there were a lot of rumours flying around. There might have been temporary graves that ended up being blown up, via Chinese whispers, into secret mass graves.
Oh and the cover-up is a bit of a myth. There was a press release from SHAEF about it, and an article in Stars and Stripes in July 1944. Ironically enough a lot of lessons were learnt form the Slapton Sands debacle, lessons that saved lives on D-Day itself.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by AngryCymraeg
 


Thank you for that information. Yes there were defo temporary burials. However - there seems to have been more burials and according to the Guardian article Ken Small did not initially believe this, it was his life's work to research this subject.

However he acknowledged before his untimely passing that the mass graves secret was in fact true.

If you go to OP and look at the Guardian link - it is about 3 paragraphs from the end.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by WeRpeons
If they can keep this a secret for 40 years, you have to wonder what other secrets they're hiding.
Star for that.I'm STUNNED that I've never even heard a rumor of this tragedy.What else aren't we being told of indeed...



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 07:19 PM
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reply to post by HelenConway
 


The troops knew they would be subjected to live fire artillery from the navy. Eisenhower wanted the soldiers to feel what it's like, so that in a sense they knew what was waiting for them, even if it was a fraction of it.

White tape was used to mark zones where the infantry wasn't allowed to go on the beaches. Those zones were subjected to shelling, but seeing as this was a HUGE training operation some soldiers ignored this, which led to friendly fire incidents.

As I said in my previous post, Allied High Command had sufficient reason to wipe this under the rug. I think, eventually this was overlooked by many in the higher echelons after a year of hard hard fighting. Another reason might be that the Germans couldn't know anything about Operation Fortitude, even after it had served its usefulness. If they were aware such a ruse had been played on them they could have had enough reason to believe that he Allies might do something similar in the fight for Germany. The Russians did the same to the Germans on the Eastern Front (they called it maskirovska)

A big part of Operation Fortitude was the use of turned German agents (every German agent in England had been turned) to supply false information (or half truths) to German High Command. If the Germans suspected something they might start to doubt their "trusty" agents in England.

So in short, a multitude of factors, mainly operational secrecy and generally not caring anymore led to this being covered up for so long. Why tell families how their sons died because of an operational fvck-up? What's 946 soldiers against the tens of thousands that died in battle?

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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by Razziazoid
 


946 and thank you for that information.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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I have to say thank you all for your comments, we know that Slapton sands was used because it was like codename Utah beach in Normandy.

However - the pentagon, although they produced an official report. as did the British - i doubt they told the true story.

Eisenhower ordered the use of live ammunition - he wanted to simulate real conditions.

These quotes are from an article written in the Daily Express by Paul Callan in 2009:

The Link: www.express.co.uk...

This is true - why did it take until the 1980s for even some of the truth to come out and a war memorial 400 miles away in Cambridge does not cut it.



The Pentagon has long suppressed the details yet accounts from those present that day show that, as the GIs swarmed ashore, they were scythed down by other US soldiers who had assumed the role, for the exercise, of German defenders. One observer on a nearby vantage point recalled seeing "infantrymen on the beach fall down and remain motionless".



A British observer from the Royal Engineers watched in horror as soldiers streamed from their landing craft and were "mown down like ninepins". He said: "We later found out it was a mistake. They should have been using dummy ammunition but they just carried on shooting."


Now there were temporary graves but there were also allegedly mass unmarked graves, the people in those graves were not reburied allegedly.



Several local people also reported seeing lorry loads of dead GIs being buried in temporary graves around the village and there was evidence that hundreds of coffin lids were made at a timber yard at that time.


Are there really 450 men still at sea?



Nor was there any marking of any kind to denote the graves. However, the Pentagon claims that some 450 bodies were never recovered and still lie at the bottom of the sea, not far from Slapton Sands. Although 300 were buried in a mass grave, by 1956 the Pentagon insists that all had been removed to official cemeteries.


Why did Ken Small believe the mass grave theory - when he was originally unconvinced, what evidence had he found to substantiate this claim ?

I think there are still answers to be had, from what I have read anyway.
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posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by HelenConway
 


Very interesting. Makes me wonder how many other events from the war are still secret.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by Gazmeister
reply to post by HelenConway
 


Very interesting. Makes me wonder how many other events from the war are still secret.

absolutely like experiments at Porton Down and Gruinard Island in Scotland..
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posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by yourmaker
 



Live rounds that weren't meant to be fired? 700 casualties?

Live rounds are often fired in training exercises. If those were naval guns providing fire support for the landing, they would be very large projectles ... up to and including 16-inch weighing about 2000 pounds each. All that needs to be done to cause this sort of carnage is a failure to shift fire inward for just one salvo.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 12:07 PM
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So they have found bones and skeletons in the sand - they were not all buried.



But despite The Observer’s contentions, the Pentagon, then and now, has never mentioned any bodies being found on Slapton Sands. Nor on first sight does it seem likely that there could be two major tragedies taking place on that same April morning 60-odd years ago now. First, the German E-boat attack resulting in heavy casualties, and then some time later in the same general area a massive snafu of friendly fire resulting again in heavy casualties among the assaulting American infantry. On the face of it, that seems to be stretching the supposed facts a little too far.

Yet, at the same time, The Observer has now produced witnesses who testify to casualties on the beach itself and not out to sea. Detailed records, according to The Observer feature writer, kept by the British station master at the small town of Kingsbridge five miles from Slapton Sands, reveal that three trains were secretly loaded with dead GIs between July and August 1944, under military guard. They had been dug up from mass graves. One can ask where they came from and where they went. Were these (according to the Pentagon) the non-existent beach bodies?

Although in more recent years bones and skulls identified as belonging to GIs have been dug up in the Sands, the Pentagon still refuses to countenance a second tragedy. As the U.S. Center of Military History states: “We don’t know of any official incident other than the German T-4 convoy (the E-boat attack).”



In an article by Charles Whiting 2005 - The Observer is one of the oldest and most respected British newspapers. A credible source.

www.wwiihistorymagazine.com...
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posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by LifeIsPeculiar

reply to post by yourmaker
 



Live rounds that weren't meant to be fired? 700 casualties?

Live rounds are often fired in training exercises. If those were naval guns providing fire support for the landing, they would be very large projectles ... up to and including 16-inch weighing about 2000 pounds each. All that needs to be done to cause this sort of carnage is a failure to shift fire inward for just one salvo.

946 men died - it was covered up it seems and it is not acceptable for this amount of men to die.
Partially the story was told in official accounts but clearly not the truth even today. They were shooting each other on land also,
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posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 03:59 PM
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yea this smells everybody knows live rounds !!!!



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by HelenConway
 


As far as I can discover so far the live firing was confined to the shelling from HMS Hawkins. Which was a cruiser, not a battleship.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 04:42 PM
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I'm not sure why people are so surprised that they didn't plaster this all over the news.... It was wartime, the worst, most horrible war imaginable and wartime propaganda was absolutely vital for maintaining the morale of civilians and troops alike. Announcing this to the public could have had terrible consequences, not least that the enemy propaganda machines would have had a field day with it...

They kept it quiet for good reason. And why for so long then? Well, at what point could they come out and say "btw, we totally lied about this and this is really what happened"? Just after the war? During the cold war? (that would have gone down a treat)... Then, after all that time has passed and most people had forgotten about it or died (including those who were actually involved in the cover up), would it make sense to suddenly announce it? Was there even anyone who knew about it left in the military?

I dunno, it doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world to tell families (at that time and under the circumstances) that their loved ones died serving their country and fighting the good fight, instead of worthlessly in a stupid accident....

I'm not advocating lying and, if this happened now a cover up would be shocking but, let's not forget that this happened at a time when the world was a very different place to the one it is now...

I'm not saying it was fair to those involved but, I think, it was justifiable....
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posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 06:00 PM
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reply to post by HelenConway
 

I would be sceptical of claims that it was covered up for 40 years,it was certainly covered up at the time,both to prevent the Germans putting two and two together and realising this was the invasion preparation exercise and also it was witheld from the majority of allied troops slated to take part in Overlord,however,it was a great tragedy that could have been prevented had the Royal Navy provided more suitable escort vessels(i.e MTB's) as the E Boat threat was well recognised by the Navy at that time.





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