The Tragedy of Exercise Tiger
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Panoramic photo by Robert Bilsland EXPERT Taken 08:53, 08/08/2008 - Views loading...

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The Tragedy of Exercise Tiger

The World > Europe > UK > England

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During the early hours of the April 28, 1944, eight Landing Ship Tanks full of American servicemen were taking part in Exercise Tiger, a full-scale rehearsal for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. That same evening a group of nine German E-boats set out on a normal reconnaissance mission from their base in Cherbourg, France, into the Lyme Bay area of the English coast.

As the ships were approaching Lyme Bay, the E-boats made contact with them and hit three of the eight with torpedoes. Of the three hit, the first burst into flames and after 45 minutes of attempting to fight the fire, those still alive were ordered to abandon ship. The second also burst into flames but rolled over and sank within six minutes. The third was able to limp back to port but unfortunately with casualties. Many servicemen died that night; being killed in the initial attacks, in the subsequent fires, being trapped inside the sinking ships or attempting to get back to dry land. By the end of the incident over 700 people had died.

As a result of official embarrassment and concerns over possible leaks just prior to the real invasion, all survivors were sworn to secrecy, so much so that the truth of what happened wasn't officially acknowledged by the US and British armies until 40 years later.

What you see here is the memorial to all those who lost their lives that night, the main feature being a recovered Sherman tank. As you can see, the time at the bottom of the sea hasn't been kind to the tank and even though it has been given a fresh coat of black paint, the the metalwork is heavily pitted.

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This panorama was taken in England, Europe

This is an overview of Europe

Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.

The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.

Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".

Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.

Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.

In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. 

Text by Steve Smith.

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