It was three minutes past two on the morning of April 28, 1944. A flotilla of American warships was approaching Slapton Sands on the Devon coast in south west England, a crucial practice exercise in advance of the D-Day landings. Exercise Tiger was a 300-vessel, 30,000-men dress rehearsal for the biggest amphibious landing in history. It would enable Allied commanders to fine-tune their Normandy battle plan.
Angelo Crapanzano was one of those involved in the operation. He was in the engine room of his vessel, named LST 507, when it was suddenly rocked by a tremendous explosion. ‘I got this sensation of flying up, back, and when I came down I must have bumped my head someplace and must have been out for a few seconds, because I felt cold on my legs,’ he later recalled. As he recovered consciousness, he realized that the ship must have been hit by a torpedo. This was indeed the case. A German naval squadron had encountered the the Allied flotilla by chance and immediately opened fire.
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This post is roughly excerpted from When Churchill Slaughtered Sheep and Stalin Robbed a Bank. You can preorder a copy of the book, due out in November 2016, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Books-a-Million, and Apple.