Introduction by Colonel Pierre BRUYERE
Translate into English by Mrs Francisca SPOOK of
80th Area Support Group United States Army CHIEVRES - Belgium
The Name
Overlord was the code chosen by the Allies for the
D-Day operation on the French west coast. The soviets would call it "the opening of a second front"
and the Germans as "the 6 June 1944 invasion".
German Field-Marshal Rommel referred to it as "the longest day..."
Origins and Preparations    

On October 5th , 1940 during the Battle of Britain, Churchill proposed a possible landing on the French west coast. From that moment on, the idea and the huge effort necessary to achieve it were worked on. The combined military efforts of Great Britain, Canada and United States, facilitated by the use of the same language and excellent teamwork, would prove successful for the ultimate victory.

The gathering and analyzing of intelligence regarding enemy forces, the lay of the land, and weather conditions expected was critical. More had to be done so as not to repeat the failed Canadian raid on Dieppe August 19, 1942. This involved gathering detailed information from all Resistance organizations in the occupied countries as well as other sources. Many lives were lost but their sacrifices saved many lives during D-Day.

Preserving the D-Day Secrets also required imposing means. All of these efforts allowed the employment of large troops with specialized armored equipment, landing barges of all kinds, a pipe-line under the Canal, two artificial ports….which led to the success of the Crusade for Europe.

The Execution    

The initial project dates from 1943 but Montgomery, 21st Armed Group Command, tasked by Eisenhower to conduct the initial land operations, required additional means for a more complex operation. Eisenhower made the hard decision based on weather conditions, Overlord started during the night of 5 to 6 June 1944.

Three Airborne Divisions - the 82nd and 101st and the British 6th landed in Normandy during the night. At dawn on June 6th, six divisions invaded the Normandy beaches, three Americans at UTAH (4th), at OMAHA (29th and 1st); three British at GOLD (50th), at JUNO (3rd Canadian) and at SWORD (3rd). By the evening of June 6, 1944, the British and American lost 11,000 men among which 2,500 killed in action

American Troops in Belgium

The Allied troops arrive at the Belgian border on 1 September 1944. That is when the U.S. Army gets into the battle in the Mons area, during which 30,000 Germans are captured. After combats in the Meuse river area, the American units reached the Belgian-French border between September 10 and 11, 1944. These operations didn't encounter major difficulties thanks to the help of the SAS units and the Maquis in the Ardennes. Unfortunately on December 16th, 1944 the Battle of the Bulge started and the American units had to face it and resist the German attack.

In the Northern part, they defend the area Montjoie, Elsenborn, Rocherath, Krinkelt, Butgenbach with the 2nd and 99th Division. In the Southern part, the 4th Division controls the area of Echternach; whereas the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Armored Division Combat Command B are in the Bastogne area. The Saint Vith area is mainly defended by the 7th Armored Division and according to the statement of a German Command, "Major General R.W. Hasbrouck and Brigadier General Bruce C. Clark's men were at the origin of the turn out of this winter campaign". By December 23rd, the 5th Division clears the area from Diekirch to Echternach, the 80th Division attacks West of Diekirch, the 26th Division attacks East of Martelange, the 4th Armored Division progresses on the road Arlon to Bastogne and, despite fierce resistance, its Combat Command R enters Bastogne on December 26th, 1944 at 4:45 p.m.

On December 27th, the 2nd Armored Division and the British 29th Armored Brigade circle and destroy part of the German 2nd Panzer in the area of Celles, Foy-Notre-Dame. The German forward movement is finally blocked at 6 kilometers from Dinant. On January 1st, 1945, General Patton's 3rd Army reaches the line Saint-Hubert, Moirey, Longchamps.

The Battle of the Bulge is over by late January and the Germans are withdrawing beyond the border.

"…the real victors of this battle of a particular kind especially in its first days, are the American infantrymen: soldier, enlisted, officer and battalion commander. Despite the fact that they were dispersed over a very large front, had to endure enemy fire, were isolated and constantly had to take upon them, they were able to hold. These soldiers' desperate fights counteracted the Command's initial slow reaction and allowed the execution of countermeasures.
Being experienced or inexperienced in decentralized operations, the divisions proved their quality of individualism such as first revealed at Bataan and Corregidor.
As mighty as the number of sacrifices, the U.S. Infantry deserves the inscription on the Bastogne Memorial, unfading as the memory of the "dark December" men: Liberatoribus Americanis Populus Belgicus Memor".
A lot of friendly people helped us to prepare and achieve the Overlord Returns project. However, to avoid omitting any of the "key players" we have thought it might be better not to identify persons responsible for the successful organization. This story of "Overlord Returns" is also a way to say "Thank you" to all our friends in the States.
Overlord Returns…How Marvelous
those Crazy Belgian People were
By Prof. Pierre A.G. DEPREZ
(with the friendly help of Francisca SPOOK and Tom CAMPBELL, MVPA Dixie Division)

Life would be rather dull if from time to time we didn't decide to achieve something a little both crazy and wonderful. It is what 62 Marvelous Crazy Belgian People, as our many American friends call us, realized in June and July 2000. Our project: go and thank the American People for helping liberate Belgium in 1944. ..But we wanted to find a very original way: in WWII American uniforms and with the very same vehicles who brought Liberty back here in September 1944. We formed a "Liberty Convoy" of 17 vintage vehicles to cross the United States from Washington, D.C. to Brewton, Alabama.

The origin of a project
The liberation of Europe by the Allied Powers, and particularly the U.S. Army, has left a deep feeling of appreciation among the citizens of our countries. Not only for those who lived this unique event of our history, but also for the young people who, more than 50 years later, discover those events much like a legend. Each year, associations organize the historical re-enactment of the liberation and the arrival of the G.I.. In many places, "Convoys of Liberty" commemorate those days of September 1944 in Europe. A tradition is born.
Two examples among others…    
The City of Mons, Belgium, welcomed Major John Randolph Tucker and US veterans for the 50th anniversary of its liberation. In 1994, Major Tucker entered the City of Mons in a tank of his battalion which was the first to enter the city on September 2nd 1944. That Stuart tank (n° 3047787) was later offered to the City of Mons by the US Army (3rd Armored Division). This year, on the 26th and 27th of August, more than 150 WWII vehicles, including 20 tanks, relived the Liberation of Mons.
Since 1995, the little City of Péruwelz has welcomed its "First American" James W. Carroll. The "First G.I." was found in March 1995, while the citizens of Péruwelz thought he had been killed during the Battle of the Bulge. Articles in papers (e.g. The Wall Street Journal) and magazines (e.g. People), and also TV programs are dedicated to the old veteran and his Belgian friends each year, in Belgium, France and the United States. A movie producer from Hollywood is even preparing a film.
When collectors meet mayors and representatives of patriotic associations, projects are developed…
Overlord Returns
The idea of a "come back to the States" rose after these events and meetings. The project was to go with our WWII vehicles to the USA and say "Thank You" to those who, twice in this century, helped Europe to be free again. Saying "Thank you" and show, more than 50 years later, that we are still thankful to those who suffered and even offered their lives for us.
The young G.I., who were 20 in 1944, are now old veterans. Coming back to Europe becomes more and more difficult for them. That is why we all thought that going back to the United States with our WWII vehicles would be a wonderful way to say "Thank You".
To achieve this project, we worked with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels and were officially invited to the Independence Day Parade of July 4th in Washington, D.C.. WWII vehicles collectors mostly from Belgium and France were involved in the project. The President of the French Community Parliament of Belgium accompanied us in Richmond and Washington, D.C.. The Walloon Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs helped us to finance the shipping of our vintage vehicles.
American Veteran Associations, the American Legion, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association helped us to help us organizing our commemorative trip through the United States. That trip started in Richmond and led us to Orlando. It was a very long trip of more than 3,000 km. U.S. Newspapers, magazines and TV channels were also involved in our project-people from Europe coming to the United States to say "Thank You" to the American people.
The Liberty Convoy
The Liberty Convoy was the accurate reconstitution of what a U.S. Army convoy used to be in 1944. There were different types of vehicles, with of course Jeeps, that vehicle being for most people the symbol of Liberty in 1944. The Harleys will also be honored, as it is very often on a Harley that the US Army scouts who were the first to enter our towns.
These vehicles belong to collectors who spend time and money to keep them "alive". For the collectors, it was an honor to take part in this project. Only WWII US vehicles were involved in the convoy. The Stuart tank belongs to the City of Mons and the Sherman tank to the Tank Museum (Belgian Army, Brussels). All the other vintage vehicles were privately owned.
Types of vehicles
Types of vehicle
Truck GMC
Tank Sherman
Tank Stuart
Ward la France