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Classroom Time

Oh, this certainly was made for an economics teacher.
A big part of the Institute is some classroom learning that we do while at University of Maryland. We spent the bulk of the morning in a conference room on our dorm's ground floor hearing from two speakers.

My workstation. 

Our classroom. 
The second of them, a professor from Mary Washington College, gave a presentation about the home front. Her presentation leaned heavily on sharing visuals from the war era, especially propaganda posters urging for women's participation in the war effort. There were a few posters, in particular that caught my eye.

There's so much punnery happening here. I love it. 

Simply a fascinating example of how to market war contributions to women. 
The second presentation certainly gave me ideas for artifacts I could use when next teaching World War II. However, the first presentation made me giddy. Our speaker was the historian secretariat for the U.S. Navy, and he offered an analysis of the Allied planning that made D-Day possible. It was the first dedicated history lecture for which I was in a student role since, oh, I don't know, 2003. There were a few really big takeaways from the lecture. The first of them was the central logistical problem of an army on the advance: fuel. It takes about 80 lbs. of gasoline per day per soldier to support an advancing army. Meanwhile, the central logistical challenge of defense was ammunition. I appreciate the chance to put a logistical challenge in such stark and straight forward terms.

The second big takeaway was the historian's generally positive appraisal of the job the navy and air force did supporting the invasion. Despite the horrific losses at Omaha, the beach where our soldier was killed, the losses for the Allies overall were less than projected. And the Allies were able to build up their forces on the beach head much more quickly than the Germans in those opening weeks. That speaks to the effectiveness of the air and naval support for the invasion.

There's a third takeaway about landing craft and how they were a prized asset that might be too nerdy to get into in this spot. But ask me sometime about the wedding metaphor our professor shared.

Still, a bitter pill for Lauren and I to swallow. Our soldier happened to be on the beach where casualties were about what they projected them to be. It was the beach where the preliminary bombardments didn't work well, where the landing craft were launched too far from shore, where the contingency of the contingency was necessary for victory.


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