Despite all the excitement and new experiences the past few days, the reality is captured best by the introduction of a commemorative edition I bought at Cherbourg airport, adapted by myself as required.

From June the 5th (when preliminary bombardment started) till August the 28th (when the final German resistance was broken) the area of roughly 120 km by 70 km (size of Gauteng Province, roughly, but mostly rural) would see in approximately 100 days, the loss of 100 000 human lives, 20 000 of them local civilians. Some villages were captured by either side as often as 20 times, that means 39 successful attacks and counter attacks to conclude the matter.

Having read extensively on the subject previously, nothing quite expresses the horror and reality of war as well as the cold facts stated above.

May we and our children be able to learn from the folly of our ancestors.