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On this date 75 years ago, 749 American servicemen perished during Exercise Tiger, one in a series of dress rehearsals for the up coming D-Day landings. Let us remember them today for their service and sacrifice.




Exercise Tiger: Bootprints mark D-Day disaster 75th anniversary

Slaptpn Sands memorialImage copyrightPA Image captionBootprints have been laid in the sand in honour of the 749 servicemen who died on 28 April 1944

Hundreds of US servicemen who died in a World War Two disaster while rehearsing the D-Day landings are being remembered in an art installation.

Bootprints of 749 troops have been laid out on Slapton Sands, Devon, to mark the 75th anniversary of Exercise Tiger.

The men died when convoys training for the Normandy Landings were attacked by German E-Boats off the Devon coast.

Artist Martin Barraud hopes the artwork will help raise money for employment projects for veterans.

Mr Barraud also designed last year's There But Not There campaign, which placed silhouettes of "Tommy" troops across the UK, to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

"Our Tommy campaign captured the hearts of the nation, whilst giving a substantial boost to the mental health and wellbeing of veterans," he said.

"We're hoping the public will get behind our D-Day 75 campaign by purchasing their own bootprints to mark the great sacrifice of our WW2 heroes, in particular those who helped kick-start the liberation of Europe with the invasion of Normandy on D-Day."

Slapton SandsImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES Image captionSlapton Sands was used by US forces rehearsing for the D-Day landing at Utah Beach because of its similar geography

On 28 April 1944, eight tank landing ships, full of US servicemen and military equipment, converged in Lyme Bay heading for Slapton Sands for the rehearsal.

But a group of E-boats from the Kriegsmarine were alerted to heavy radio traffic and intercepted the slow-moving convoy.

A series of tragic misfortunes, including communication problems which led to deaths from live Allied fire, compounded the toll.

The Exercise Tiger incident was only nominally reported afterwards because of the strict secrecy of the D-Day landings.

Pam Wills, 85, from Devon, was just 10 when Exercise Tiger took place near her home, and her family was evacuated before the exercise began.

She said: "The US soldiers came over and talked to us, they gave us sweets and comics, but they then suddenly disappeared.

"We didn't know Exercise Tiger had taken place, but my father, who was in the Royal Observer Corps watching for enemy aircraft, saw ambulances going to and from Slapton Sands, so we knew something was wrong."

Slapton Sands Sherman tank Image captionA Sherman tank raised from the seabed in 1984 has served a permanent memorial to the dead ever since

Commemorative bootprints and special plaques made by veterans to represent each of the 22,763 British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who were killed on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944 will go on sale.

Mr Barraud said: "Our enduring hope is that every one of the US, British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives will have a bootprint purchased in their memory."



Thank you


The U.S. government early on set the number of American Army and Navy servicemen killed and missing from Exercise Tiger at 749 total, and still maintains this figure today. The accuracy of the 749 number has been debated since the beginning. Many arguing that the real total is much higher and in some cases that the 749 figure is slightly inflated. No matter who's figure you go by the loss of life was tremendous, and the impact from this event was felt nowhere greater than by the State of Missouri. In the aftermath of this tragic event, 196 of Missouri's native sons were among the dead and missing. This is some 26% of the U.S. reported total figure of 749, far more than any other state. Why so many from one particular state? Most of the answer to this question can be found in the 3206th Quartermaster Service Company. The 3206th was nearly an all Missouri unit, comprising approximately 80% -85% of the company's 250 total enlisted men and officers. The 3206th suffered the second highest amount of casualties among the various units of Exercise Tiger, losing 201 of her 250 men that April night so long ago. The 3206th ceased to exist after this incident, no time to rebuild her ranks before the fast approaching D-Day landings, the survivors were simply folded into the 3207th QSC.


Better late than never, as the old saying goes. In 1997 the State of Missouri finally decided it was time to place a memorial for her fallen sons lost to Exercise Tiger. The site chosen was the Audrain County Courthouse grounds of my hometown of Mexico, Missouri.. We had lost 8 men from the Audrain County area to Exercise Tiger, most in state, it was for this reason Mexico had been chosen as the site for the new memorial. Here are a few pics of the memorial:,_Missouri,_Missouri


Execise Tiger Memorial Granite Bricks

This is a photo of the Exercise Tiger Memorial in it's original compact setting on the northwest corner of the Audrain County Courthouse





This is how it appears today. A few years ago it was decided to move the memorial to the northeast corner in a more prominent  and much more attractive setting. The Exercise Tiger memorial is on the left, a Veteran's memorial to all Audrain County men lost in WWI,WWII,Korea and Vietnam is on the right, and in the middle is a real anchor from an LST on permanent loan from the U. S. Navy.



All the names of the 196 Missouri men lost are in inscribed, with the 8 local men in larger type in the center.




Plaque at the base of the memorial.




A 75th anniversary commemorative service was held at the memorial Sunday. I will try and post more about that soon.



I appreciate you posting both of those. The images are very moving, especially the footprints in the sand.  :tearyeyed: