Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004) Movie Script

Let me put this another way.
lf I am not given complete and
unfettered command of this situation...
you can, if I may put it politely, sir...
take this job and put it where you
choose because I damn will quit.
My other generals say it's unwise.
Too much responsibility for one man.
Then find other generals.
Even your own other generals
say the same thing.
Then I'll also find new ones.
I know who we're talking about here,
prime minister.
Your Air Marshal Harris
and my General Jimmy Spaatz.
The RAF and the U.S. 8th Air Force
want to fight their own war.
Win it with strategic bombing.
-They think--
-I know what they think, general.
And it is very seductive.
Continue the saturation bombing
of the Continent...
...until the enemy's lost
his will to fight.
Leave him defeated and dispirited...
...before your invasion force
even sets foot ashore.
lf there's a shore to set foot on.
That kind of bombing would turn
Paris into a soccer field...
...Holland into a swimming pool.
You were an infantry officer,
prime minister.
We both know wars
can only be won on the ground.
America did not send a million
of its finest men to stand by...
...while faceless aircraft destroy the
Europe they're willing to die to save.
And I don't believe you rallied
the British people to fight on, alone...
...all these long years
to bear so much...
...only to see the great cities
of Europe become heaps of rubble.
We have to do more than liberate
Europe. We have to save it.
We're soldiers, you and l.
There can only be one commander.
One conductor of this orchestra.
One supreme commander...
...in the air, on the ground, at sea.
Or face interservice bickering,
clashing egos...
...conflicting operational deployments.
One invasion, one commander.
A sampling of this morning's
editorial contribution:
''As the Allies prepare for
our greatest challenge of the war...
...our leaders must not lose sight...
...of the true measure
of military leadership.
The victories
of General Montgomery...
...at El Alamein, Sicily and
every campaign he has undertaken...
...deserve prime consideration.
His hand is never far from such
forward momentum...
...as we have enjoyed in this war.
No other general
can make that claim.''
I could go on, but they're all
much of a muchness.
I don't deny Monty's achievements
as a field commander.
Whilst you can make no such claim.
Come, come, general. Don't take
offense. We're too close for that.
Monty's not the man for this. We both
know it. Far too in love with his image.
There's no shortage of men who would
like the title ''supreme commander.''
Or even a part of it. And l--
We must identify each man...
...and decide whether or not he is fit.
-Far too oblivious to destruction.
-Certainly not Spaatz.
Too flamboyant. Marshall?
You know F.D.R.
won't let him leave Washington.
And Mountbatten
is commanding in the Pacific.
Then who?
Your own Mr. Roosevelt has his
doubts about a supreme commander.
I leave him to you, sir.
You'll be able to set him straight.
No human in history has ever held
the power for which you now ask.
Not Caesar, not Alexander, no man.
But this is Eisenhower
you're considering.
ls this relatively untried American
the right man for the job?
-Very popular with the men.
Disciplined soldiers
fight at their leader's command...
...whoever that might be.
My victories that brought
us back North Africa...
...weren't won because I was popular
with the ordinary ranks.
No, I dare say. Brandy?
-No, thank you.
-Oh, I forgot your strict scruples.
General, let it not come
as a surprise to you.
The decision is as good as made.
There will be no turning back.
Eisenhower is to be
supreme commander.
That is the consensus of the Allies.
I see. Politics first, is it?
Yes, chief whip?
Time to prepare for the afternoon
question period, prime minister.
One last thought, prime minister.
There's more than one way
to skin this cat.
lf things remain as they are...
...let Eisenhower be
the de facto figurehead.
Just don't formalize it.
Leave some room for the rest of us.
Oh, l'm sure you'll find some way
to maneuver, general.
You know my admiration
for your soldiering skills.
There are two kinds
of problem drinkers, chief whip.
Those who drink too much
and those who drink too little.
I believe it's a religious thing with
the general. Strict Methodist, I think.
Oh, might be an asset.
Way the odds
are on this thing...
...we could use somebody
on close terms with God.
Giving Monty a private audience?
You could call it that.
Man's a pain in the ass.
Kind of megalomaniac who's got his
own ideas how to win this war.
He'll never accept you.
I admire Churchill much as any man...
...but not even he could sell that
without some sticking in the craw.
Churchill's not there to sell.
His job is making decisions.
Mine is to make them work.
Yeah, well, you're tough enough
to make it happen.
Even with the generals
and admirals he offended.
l'm glad you feel that way
because if we foul up...
...we'll end up sharing
a supply desk in Washington.
You'd lose your operational rank.
They'd take away three stars.
-Remember '38 in the summer?
Careers had stalled.
We figured we'd be passed over...
-...and mustered out within a year.
-As colonels.
-Yes, as colonels.
-So we'd still be ahead of the game.
Now, tell me about the tanks
in the sand.
Those beaches aren't really sand.
They're pebble and rock.
Your 3:00 meeting is here.
Your unfriendly friendly.
I'll slip out the back.
Needlessly timid, if you ask me.
And I trust you are asking me.
Of course. That's why we're here. For
a frank discussion, just you and me.
Good. Then I will be frank.
Like all battles,
this one will be won on the ground.
But not necessarily by infantry men,
one foot at a time.
Armor can slash through first,
leaving infantry to consolidate gains...
...but that requires
a flexible master plan.
We might find a sudden lunge across
the low countries, a dagger aimed...
...at the heart of Berlin
could end the war by Christmas.
The concept for a broad landing
at Normandy has been approved.
Given the political sensibilities
...there's no going back on that.
You're the supreme commander.
The politics are your concern.
My interest is
the most effective strategy...
...and tactical moves
to support it.
A massive invasion will be tipped to
Jerry's intelligence, we know that.
He'll be ready to defend across
a broad front.
A slashing blow will be harder for him
to concentrate his troops against...
...with any depth.
Unless the German knows where
the slashing blow is coming.
Then, as you put it,
with his intelligence alerted....
You're being inflexible.
l'm adhering to a master plan.
Once we have established beachhead,
we can reexamine our options.
I see.
And as commander of all land forces,
I'll have my say in that reexamination?
Now, let me outline
my expectations...
...for your ground forces
once ashore.
Here, the ground slopes easily.
Sir, it wouldn't take
more than 1 5 minutes.
Fifteen minutes better spent
on real work, captain.
With respect, sir,
public relations is real work.
I know you don't
have time for the press...
...but folks back home need
to know you.
Human face of the leader, sir.
Mr. Roosevelt is their leader,
and mine.
-Yeah, but--
-lnterview division commanders.
Try some platoon sergeants.
What about my chief of staff,
General Smith?
What do you say, Beetle? Want
to show the world your human face?
Sorry, sir. I wasn't issued one.
This isn't MacArthur's HQ, where he
has to be at the center of everything.
We're a team here.
So go get some publicity
for the running backs. That is all.
Yes, sir.
-He's arrived.
-I saw. I could hardly miss it.
Beetle, he's brilliant,
but sometimes he acts like a child.
Are you thinking
of sending him home?
Let's have him.
He'll see you now.
-You gonna keep the helmet on?
-Damn right.
I think you know why you're here.
More or less.
Some prep-head politician stateside
got pissed at the truth.
That's neither more nor less, George.
lt's damned ignorant.
''Anglo-Saxons to rule the postwar
world.'' What the hell is that?
The straight skinny.
When this is over,
it will be us and the Brits...
...have to put
the world back together.
That's gonna come
as a surprise to Stalin...
...who's losing millions
on the eastern front.
Yeah, communism's for the next war.
Goddamn it, George. Shut up.
The Czechs are also in this war.
And the Dutch and the Danes
and God knows who else.
And above all...
...it's racialism.
lt's the very thing we're fighting.
I can't have my generals
spouting idiocy Hitler would applaud.
Anglo-Saxon superiority? That's
exactly the kind of pigheaded crap...
...that will make Stalin think
we are the next enemy.
Sometimes I think you don't have
the vaguest idea why we're fighting.
-That's not fair, lke.
-lt is if it's true.
l'm not sending a bunch of fresh
young kids from lowa and California...
...and New York and Nebraska to die
on French beaches for the freedom...
...of people they know nothing about
so we can establish a new racial order.
l'm asking them to die
to prevent precisely that.
And they're ready to do it.
And that's why they're heroes.
And why slapping a shell-shocked
soldier as a malingerer is never...
...never permissible!
Do you understand me, sir?
You should know
that despite the fact...
...that he doubts
your worthiness to command...
...that General Marshall has left it
to me to decide how to handle this.
So I ask you again.
Do you understand?
Sir, yes, sir.
I understand completely.
I do, lke. I swear I do.
What I don't get, I'll study.
I promise.
I swear, I promise. Just please...
...don't send me home.
Please, lke.
I couldn't bear to be in Washington
when the show starts.
Don't do that to me. I beg you.
Soldier to soldier, that I'll keep
my mouth shut. I promise you.
Soldier to soldier.
Soldier to soldier.
I wish it were that simple.
You were my mentor.
My senior officer,
who told me once a long time ago...
...that one day
l'd be giving him orders.
Well, that day's come, George.
And that's the truth.
Soldier to soldier.
Last time, Georgie.
Last time.
Thank you.
Sir, may I return
to my headquarters now?
Played him like a violin.
Ate out of my hand, he did. Drive on.
-How'd it go?
-l'm keeping him on.
Probably thinks
he put one over on me.
Hell, maybe he did.
Let's keep him in Maidenhead,
commanding his fictitious army.
Now Rommel thinks he's my ace.
Besides, once we get ashore,
I'll need him...
...to command real tanks.
Traff, what you got?
Early estimates of airborne losses.
Assume perfect weather,
and we go with a full or half-moon.
No crosswind at the drop zone,
losses could be low as 8 percent.
But should any of the elements turn
against us, casualties will spiral.
They might hit a quarter or more.
One in four.
What's the split between
wounded and dead?
Oh, with paratroopers, one might
as well assume they're all dead.
A wounded jumper is a cripple.
And we all know this enemy.
l'm ahead of you.
What the hell time is it?
lt's 0520.
But you want to be woken for this.
ln from Southwest Command,
just decoded.
All chiefs of staff
in the map room, 20 minutes.
No doubt in your mind about this?
Afraid not.
The craft's scars could only be made
by Krupp Essen U-2 1 0 torpedoes.
Then the German
is right off the coast.
What about damage?
Too much for a loner.
Absolutely. This was a full pack.
ln daylight, C-search patrols
can spot E-boats...
...as soon as they come
close enough to fire torpedoes.
But at night, under radar....
Then what in damnation were men
doing out there after nightfall?
Landing-craft drivers
were having a difficult time...
...managing these new
duplex-drive craft.
They're fragile in anything
but good weather.
Division commander felt
they needed more experience.
Then the man is a damned fool and
should be relieved of his command.
You won't find any
of my divisional commanders...
...playing silly buggers
with Jerry concealed.
How many landing craft lost?
First estimates are at 1 1 , possibly 1 2.
But we've only seen two or three hulls.
Any intercepted Jerry signals?
E-boat captains radioed Berlin,
claiming two dozen.
We went on the air
with a decodable signal...
...to Patton's fictitious army...
...saying it lost five landing craft.
First reports back
from Signal Corps...
...indicate Jerry bought
the whole program.
l'd be surprised if Jerry's
really buying the idea...
...that the bulk of our forces
are in the east.
I wouldn't. Not with activity
in the southwest.
I take your point.
But we have fake tanks,
trucks and landing craft...
...deployed throughout
that entire region.
And our psychological
warfare squads in Norwich...
...generate more radio traffic
than our entire force doubled.
They use a new magnetic wire
that records Morse messages...
...and repeats it night and day.
From what we monitor...
...the Germans have moved
a full signal battalion to Dieppe...
...in order to sort it out.
We have Patton's HQ
in Maidenhead.
The enemy is certain he will be field
commander of any Allied invasion.
-They can't imagine anyone else.
-Well, hell.
lf Hitler had half his wits about him,
he'd be on Monty's tail night and day.
And there is no sign that the
3rd Air Fleet, the 1 6th Army...
...or any of 1 6 panzer divisions
I think we fooled them.
He believes Patton's
fictitious army is real.
He's not really watching Normandy.
-For now, at least.
-Precisely, for now.
Rommel's no fool. Sooner or later,
he'll figure out there's a limit...
...to the size of our force,
send flights...
...to inspect Patton's army
and discover...
...that all his tanks and trucks
are nothing but papier-mache.
Tell me about these men we lost.
And what is this duplex-drive problem
on the damn landing craft?
The DDs? Well, the men
call them Donald Ducks...
...because they're not
that easy to understand.
lt takes practice to reach
the skill level necessary...
...to master the two output levels.
One for the high seas and the other
for soft landings on a beach.
We were short
of the bloody things before.
That's an entire battalion's
passage gone.
Could be a month before we
get replacement craft.
lt's only 1 9 days to the half-moon
and the right high tide.
Look, if we can trick Rommel
for 1 9 days through to mid-May...
...surely we can push him
to the next useful moon and tide.
That would be June 5th, sir.
All this dithering around is bloody
annoying, General Eisenhower.
My men are ready to go.
I say the sooner the better.
Leaving it to June is a tremendous
risk. What if there's a storm?
Then we've lost June. We have to put
it off to July. Six weeks to September.
lt's not enough to land the army.
We have to get tanks ashore,
get inland...
...before the worst of
autumn weather slows us down.
What can you give me in June,
Expecting a fine
English summer, sir.
I mean, meteorology's a fair bit
of witchcraft...
...but all indications
are for one of our better Junes.
Three extra weeks means
at least 1 00 more LSTs.
Give us more time to pulverize
the rail lines out of Germany.
-And railheads in France.
-The men are impatient.
-Dulls their itch.
-And sooner or later...
...we won't be able to hide the size
of our force in the southwest.
May 1 9th or June 5th?
Or the fail-safe last chance in July?
Leaving maybe eight weeks,
if there's an early frost...
...to establish a beachhead
for half a million men.
How doable is that?
That's what I thought.
Please have it factored in for the
next meeting, gentlemen. Thank you.
I know the reason you're here.
Of course, the loss of these men is....
Yes, of course. But I was referring
to your other reason.
Other reason?
You have the advantage
over me, sir.
I certainly hope so. lt's my job.
I am told you've committed to June.
Given up on a May landing.
I assume Monty kept you informed.
No names, no pack drill.
But of course, general,
you are in Britain.
You must assume I have resources
to keep myself in the picture.
And I understand
from Mr. Roosevelt...
...that the additional time
will increase the number...
...of these newfangled landing craft.
The president is my security leak?
But even if he were,
he is your superior.
And my good friend and ally.
Never forget, general,
you serve at our pleasure.
Then if it please you, sir,
we need to delay till June 4 or 5.
l'm promised excellent weather.
By then, we will have
1 00 more landing craft.
...the fate of our two great nations
comes down...
...to things called LSTs
and Donald Ducks.
Well, if it be so, so be it. And yes,
general, I accede to you once more.
June it is.
Good. Thank you.
But that raises another problem, sir.
Further delay creates almost
unbearable pressure on our security.
We can't let the Germans sense
we're only making a feint at Calais.
lf Rommel moves his main force to
Normandy, we'd be stacking bodies.
There's only one way to be
certain that German spies...
...or loose lips don't stumble
across our activities...
...and anticipate our moves.
That is to seal the coast across
the south of England and Wales...
...to all unauthorized traffic.
Most of it is sealed already.
I mean all of it.
No civilian traffic whatsoever.
Are you mad, sir? Do you not
realize that no one in Britain...
...lives more than
1 50 miles from the sea?
lt is no accident that Britannia rules
the waves and all that business.
We are a people whose entire destiny
is linked to the sea.
Which is why you must now
turn your people away from it.
lt might mean thousands...
...tens of thousands
of young men's lives.
I will give you this, general.
You know how to take charge.
lt's not about power, sir.
lt is simply the judicious use of the
responsibility you entrusted me with.
Only under duress and your threats to
walk out. l'd have you remember that.
Yes, sir.
The Ministry of lnformation
unedited footage...
...spied by the 3rd Red army
Film Corps.
The surrender of
the German 7 th army.
Hitler refuses to allow
further withdrawal.
Throws three panzer divisions
from the western front to the east.
They're on the APC. Look at that.
Three less we have to face. One
more reason to rethink a broad front.
Ride a dagger-thrust road
straight to Berlin.
And we'll have the French
to help us along.
Smuggled, unedited film
from Warsaw Ghetto...
...where Jews resist an entire
German army for six weeks.
Twice as long as the well-fed
French army in 1 940.
Don't count on them
to help us along.
Supreme commander meets
with soldiers of the line.
Give me five minutes.
I'll have tonight's feature ready.
-What have you got?
-Bogart wins the war in North Africa.
-Not bloody likely.
I'll be off, then.
I'll walk you out.
-lt's supposed to be a good movie.
-Not much taste for cinema, myself.
Besides, never enough time
for preparation, is there?
Well, we all need some recreation.
Movie once a week, let the hair down,
it seems to do the trick.
lf you say so. Although,
if you don't mind me saying so...
...that jeering when you came on the
screen, a bit much, you know.
Good-natured, as I see it.
So is using
German troop movements...
...to push your plan
for a dagger thrust again.
The broad assault
is a closed matter.
I allow all my sub-commanders
latitude, general...
...but restraint is also a virtue.
Yes, sir.
Point taken.
He looks cold.
But if we get our asses kicked, we
won't be walking across snowy tundra.
We'll have to swim back.
Truth is, I wasn't looking at Napoleon.
I was thinking about the soldiers.
Johnny's graduating from the
academy this session. June 6th.
Proud moment.
Have your son succeed you
at West Point.
Yeah, I can't believe
I won't be there.
Cheer him and shake his hand.
You'll see him soon enough.
And when you do....
lt stinks.
lt does.
But any way you look at it,
we're getting off easy from this war.
I'll most likely live to see it over.
And my son won't be in it
for as long as most.
But on the other hand...
...this war is still your burden.
And the rest of us,
we're just supporting cast.
lf it's any comfort...
...so far, general, you are giving
one hell of a great performance.
I don't think I needed
to hear my job described...
...quite like that, General Smith.
I loved your crack at Monty
about the French.
Oh, thank you.
We bought them from Harrods.
-Oh, he splashed out.
Wow, that is beautiful.
A lousy wine, Edgar.
But not for long, huh? Soon be
downing the best French stuff.
What do you say, Edgar? I reckon
four days from the beaches to Paris.
-Get there on the 8th.
-I have no idea...
...what you're talking about, Henry.
Nor do you, get it?
Watch it, colonel.
Remember who you're talking to.
Major general. Don't you
damn well forget it either, Henry.
Come, Edith, it's time
we powdered our noses.
Henry, you're a goddamned idiot.
Just button it up.
What's the big deal? The whole
world will know soon enough.
lt is a 1 00-to- 1 shot because
it's more than the line of duty.
There's so little chance
of any us coming out of it.
I ought to put it up to you.
You all got families at home.
Wives, mothers and sweethearts.
I ain't got no one,
so it doesn't matter about me.
I know how you feel about it.
He actually said, ''June 4th,''
in the hotel grill?
That place is packed
that time of night.
What the hell was he thinking?
-He had too much to drink.
-Henry Miller is a major general.
Entertaining guests
with inside knowledge...
...is a betrayal of the men
he commands.
Of course.
How'd Chapman get onto this?
A junior officer from the 1 01 st was at
the next table. He contacted his CO.
-Well, did you speak to the officer?
-Yeah. Yeah.
A first lieutenant.
Young man from Philadelphia.
Feels awful about the thing.
Didn't want to be thought a snitch.
But he said he commanded
a platoon of airborne infantry.
His chances were bad enough without
making it easier for the Krauts.
Then he's a damn sight better
officer than Miller. And smarter.
Henry was a roommate at West Point.
One of my closest friends.
You know, the word stayed closed.
No one really knows about it.
I do.
At ease.
lke, l'm sorry. l'm so sorry. l--
-I don't know what got into me.
-I do.
I swear, I'll never touch another drop.
You're lying.
-So, what will you do with me?
-What do you think?
Oh, please. lke, don't do this to me.
We go back too far. We're old friends.
You can't cut me loose.
lt might be easier if we didn't
have so much history, Hank.
But the stakes are way too big.
You'll have to go home immediately...
...and you won't be coming back.
We both owe that to the men
who will be dead in a few weeks.
I'll lose my operational rank.
I'll go home in disgrace, a major.
You can't send me home.
You owe me something.
l'm part of the inner circle.
That's the worst thing
you could have said.
There is no inner circle. Only those
who will live and those who will die.
And you don't seem to get that.
Send him home immediately.
Loss of theater rank.
Try to keep him a colonel if you can.
And on his record?
''Deemed more useful in HQ. Skills
not needed in theater of operation.''
The thing about all the power,
...it isn't the big decisions
that weigh heavy.
Hell, you can decide
to invade Russia at dinner.
Pick Waterloo for battle on a whim.
lt's the details. The small stuff.
lt's easy to gamble
a million lives. What's hard...
...is to see how that can hurt
one single person.
And if you can't keep that straight...
...you'll lose your humanity.
Won't you?
I couldn't say, sir.
As you were.
-Good morning, Beetle.
-Same to you.
I thought you quit smoking.
l'm trying. Ready for the big day?
lt's the big moment.
Anything good in the paper?
No, not really.
lt's stateside,
but, hey, it's three days old.
Walter, you're my chief of staff,
not my HQ censor.
''While lke's a good administrator
and a good organizer...
...he lacks the military flare
of a Montgomery...
...or the audacity of a Patton.
Yet, for better or worse, he's the man
they call supreme commander.''
You know, lke...
...a little public relations
wouldn't do any harm.
Oh, it would, and you know it.
We're surrounded by some of
the biggest swelled heads in history.
My job is keeping them pulling
together in the same direction.
I can't do that if l'm competing
with them for newspaper ink.
This is your plan. You developed it.
You fought Churchill for it,
all the politicians, even F.D.R.
No, this is your show.
The world ought to know it.
Maybe. One day, but not this day.
This day, we have
other fish to fry, general.
-Now may I have some coffee?
-Yes, sir.
Oh, a point of principle, old man.
A bad habit in my opinion.
Never been permitted in my HQ.
Oh, all right, Monty,
if it's so damned important to you.
I did agree to use your ground
for this.
Churchill makes the final decision
on what they buy. Only him.
But don't oversell. He can smell
bull pucky a mile away.
You are acquainted with Eisenhower,
an American cousin.
Yes. Good to see you again.
Prime minister tells us we may have
great confidence in this undertaking.
Oh, I never disagree
with Mr. Churchill, Your Majesty.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
How delighted we are
to see you again, general.
We look forward
to our private luncheon next week.
As do l, ma'am. I thank you.
General, if you please.
Excuse me.
Your Majesties, Mr. Prime Minister...
...honored guests, dignitaries,
l'm Dwight Eisenhower...
...commander in chief,
Supreme Headquarters...
...Allied Expeditionary Force,
European Theater of Operation.
Just getting the title straight
is tiring enough.
So I will leave much
of today's business...
...to my trusted and gifted
colleagues, brothers-in-arms.
We are from different traditions,
different services...
...but we are united in this crusade.
We shall liberate Europe.
We shall restore freedom.
We shall make the world
safe for democracy.
There is no other cause so urgent
as to bring us so far from our homes.
This is our purpose.
This is Operation Overlord.
Explaining how we will succeed
is best done by my chiefs of staff...
...starting with General Montgomery...
...commander, 2 1 st Army Group
and responsible for all our land forces.
General, if you will.
Your Majesties.
Of the enemy's 60 divisions in France,
1 0 are armored.
Commanded by Erwin Rommel.
As you know, I faced him
in the desert and bested him.
But make no mistake,
Rommel is an energetic--
Clever, putting Monty
front and center.
--so he can bring
his tanks southward.
But we shall make
a strike forward here.
I hope to make Falaise 32 miles
inland within 40 hours.
Paratroopers will total
over 30,000 men.
The largest drop in history.
Casualties will be high...
...but the size of the force should
draw two enemy divisions...
...from the beaches, just as our men
are ready to disembark.
To take the left flank...
...we need to land enough men
to swamp Hitler's Atlantic wall.
Losses amongst the British
and Canadian troops...
...will be heavy
during the assault wave...
...but easing off as they move
past the pillboxes.
While fighter command provides cover
for the beach assault...
...and strafes the Atlantic wall...
...General Spaatz will smash the rail
links leading south from La Manche...
...delaying any attempt by Rommel
to reinforce his southern defenses.
Well, Your Majesties,
gentlemen, there it is.
We're anxious to hear your thoughts,
additions, criticisms. The floor is open.
I am impressed by the detail...
...the comprehensiveness
of your planning.
But the expected losses,
the sheer carnage....
I also ache at that thought,
Your Majesty.
I remember my first trip
to Europe as a young man.
I felt blessed to be here, to see it...
...to touch the origins of my own
country that I love so dearly.
I hoped one day that all Americans
would have the same opportunity.
Now hundreds of thousands will,
along with Britons and Canadians...
...and European Allies
fighting to return home.
This kind of visit
isn't what I had in mind...
...but if they do not offer
the sacrifice of blood now...
...we will all pay dearly
with added gallons later.
So if some must die...
...it is in a worthy cause.
I am in this thing
with you till the very end...
...and if it fails,
we both go down together.
lt's dicey to get out on a limb
with disturbances over Baffin lsland.
lf they form a front and move across
the North Atlantic, this time of year...
...l'd say six days
for a top-speed journey...
...and with the proposed
landing a week away....
You realize, group captain, that this may be...
...the most important
weather forecast in history.
I do indeed, sir.
Which is why I'd feel a lot more comfortable...
...if I could have another
two days before committing.
The admiral can correct me
if l'm wrong...
...but if we don't move
the men toward the ships...
-...we're gonna miss the tide, sir.
-I'll be damned if I wait till July.
The men will go stark raving mad.
June 5 is a go.
lssue the movement orders.
Well done. We'll do it proud, lke.
I'll be in Falaise in 72 hours,
Paris by the autumn.
Paris in the fall. Bless you, Monty.
No one can say you don't tackle things
with two fists. I admire confidence.
Let's all get some of that.
All of you...
Thank you.
Good luck.
You're sure this is how
you want it, general?
Yes, prime minister.
You see no value to me
or President Roosevelt...
...speaking directly
to the people of Europe?
Not until the landings
are an assured success.
This way, if it fails,
I will be the first one to address...
...the question of the invasion.
You and the president
will be blameless.
l'm expendable. You two are not.
Shoulder the whole burden alone
to the very end, is it?
One conductor is what I asked for
and what you've given me.
You've made the manly choice.
I admire it.
All the same, between we two...
...surely God himself must tremble
at the task that lies before you.
And it is God's work you do, lke...
...for you hold all our lives
in your hands.
lf I do God's work, then he will be
at my side, and I cannot fail.
Although, candidly, God hasn't been
much help with DeGaulle.
Not even God could move him.
And it's no use looking to me.
DeGaulle hates me.
He ignores that France is
collaborating with the enemy.
Pretends Vichy doesn't exist
and Jews aren't being rounded up.
A horrid man...
...but he guards French
prerogatives jealously.
Take another run at him, lke.
I'll back any bargain you strike.
Would you just assure me
of one thing?
The sands
on these Norman beaches...
...dense enough for tanks?
You can drink to it, sir.
Once more...
...unto the breach, dear friends.
Once more...
...or close the wall up
with our English dead.
ln peace, there's nothing
so becomes a man...
...as modest stillness and humility.
But when the blast of war blows
in our ears, then imitate the tiger.
Do you get the feeling Europeans...
...have been at this war
thing for a long time?
Too long.
lt's almost as if they like war.
I am afeard there are few die well
that die in a battle.
How can they charitably
dispose... ?
Sounds like Shakespeare
had it all figured out.
But he was writing after
the war was over and won.
lt's spooky...
...listening to words written 400
years ago about our battlefields.
Words about blood and grief.
Very spooky.
But if I may, ours is not
to reason why.
Of course it is. We're the generals.
I think Monty's got Churchill worried
that the beaches won't hold the tanks.
l've told you a hundred times,
we've done our homework.
The sand will support
the tank track rails with ease.
I don't think that's what's
bothering you.
-You read Marshall's letter.
-About the paratroopers? Yes, I did.
-What'd you make of it?
-He's wrong.
He says drop the jumpers
behind the beaches.
Try to draw the Germans
in two directions.
lf I were Rommel, l'd ignore them.
Concentrate everything on the beach.
l'd do the same. Every hour I delay
the invasion force from moving in...
...would be another hour
airborne units would be isolated.
Exactly. Besides, I need those men...
...all 30,000 of them, to keep
nipping at the Krauts' heels.
They have to be close to force
Rommel to deal with them.
Yeah, but the drop zones, Brad.
You heard Leigh-Mallory's estimate
of losses with a close drop. Carnage.
How would a distant drop be better?
lf inland progress was slow,
we'd have those men...
...wandering around France
looking for something to eat.
We'd be repeating the mistake
we made in Anzio.
Marshall's a godfather to us, Brad.
I hate to cross the old man.
lt's like a friend of mine said:
''One supreme commander,
one voice.''
We few, we happy few,
we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood
with me shall be my brother...
...be he ne'er so base.
And gentlemen
in England, now abed...
...shall think themselves accursed
they were not here...
...and hold their manhoods cheap
while any speaks...
...that fought with us upon
St. Crispin's Day!
My sovereign lord....
I hope the main attraction's
a bit more cheerful.
lt's Rita Hayworth. A hell of a lot
easier on the eye than that bunch.
l've been in the theater years
and never seen--
Excuse me, please.
Why don't you be
a good boy and scram.
-Of course, we'll go--
-No, that's all right.
You're welcome to stay here,
but this guy--
This guy.
l'm sorry. That's my one virtue.
l'm sorry.
lt's a little crowded here.
Would you mind moving over?
Oh, that's quite all right.
Make yourself at home.
Dearest Mamie...
...at last, the days grow longer,
and we will soon be in it.
I face that with neither dread
nor joy.
How I wish this cruel business of war
could be completed quickly.
lt leaves me heartsick to think
of sending so many men...
...against Hitler's Atlantic wall.
I admit to having developed
a veneer of callousness...
...but counting the human cost
is a terribly sad business...
...and no veneer of callousness
allows me to escape the truth...
...that back home, the news
brings anguish and suffering.
So many youngsters
already gone forever.
Mothers, fathers, brothers...
...sisters back home
have a difficult time...
...retaining any belief
in the eternal rightness of things.
There is no true glory in war.
Yes, sir. At 0900.
lntelligence signals confirm Rommel
moved the 1 1 6th Panzer Division...
...basing at Verville. That is shouting
distance from the main drops.
ls it a single redeployment
or part of larger movement?
So far, just a one-shot affair, but he
bypassed Juno, Sword and Gold...
...and sent them directly
to Utah and Omaha.
That doesn't change my view.
We have to have the airborne
as close as possible.
I need jumpers breathing
down the Germans' necks...
...pulling them around.
The plan always called
for the diversion to be--
I know!
I know.
-You're new here. What's your name?
-Corporal William Younger, ma'am.
All right, now remember,
we hear nothing in this room.
And we never speak.
No matter what,
we never stop work.
The king himself may enter, but what
we're doing must take priority.
Now carry on.
-They deserve a force at the Krauts'--
I know the risks for both sides...
...but neither of you
makes a decisive case.
How many ways can I say it?
l'm counting on those jumpers
to split German attention...
...ease pressure on the assault wave.
And they should have, but that
was before Rommel redeployed.
One division isn't a redeployment.
For men in my drop,
it's a potential disaster.
Jumpers and glider-borne troops
are sitting ducks...
...for the first 1 0 minutes
until they regroup.
Damn. There goes another.
lt's the 81 st lnfantry.
Wehrmacht, conscripts,
the crack units are to the north.
Perhaps. But if Jerry's reinforcing
the whole damn region...
...we lose 70 percent of glider troops
before they're out of planes.
And the jumpers?
Some of them will make it, but they'll
be short of the numbers you need...
...if seaborne landings are depending
on airborne to distract Jerry.
You're saying there's no middle
ground. We should cancel it.
We don't want the slaughter
of two fine divisions.
The 1 01 st and the 82nd are elite, lke.
We'll need them down the line.
We'll need them on June 5th.
Otherwise the entire German army...
...will let loose on my assault waves.
My loss will be 70 percent.
All right.
Thank you. l've heard both sides.
I need a night to sleep on it.
Sorry to disturb, sir. May l?
lf it's good news.
Well, sir, I wish I could say it was...
...but it's getting a little bit uncertain.
You said it would take days
for systems...
...to get from Baffin lsland to here.
And so it should, sir.
Unless they dislodge
from the jet stream...
...a meteorological possibility,
they're not--
I can't work with possibilities,
group captain.
At minimum, I need probabilities.
Are there such things
as meteorological probabilities?
There will be, sir, within hours.
Not fast enough, group captain.
I need hourly reports.
Yes, sir.
He doesn't make weather.
He talks about it.
Then get him to say nicer things.
Look, give me some time
to work on this airborne thing.
I'll send for you
when l've figured it out.
Yes. What is it?
Our friends at HQ say the airborne
decision is at a head.
lf you're to be heard,
now would be the hour, sir.
And what do you think, Wiatt?
lnland, they're no help
to the landing force.
Keep them close,
they could be shredded.
Let's see how he works it out.
Thank you, Wiatt.
lf I may...
...it's the right decision.
Divisional commanders can't
factor in weather and the seas...
...supplies, naval support,
DeGaulle, the politics.
Besides, it's not their job.
I'll inform Leigh-Mallory and Brad.
Don't publish that order until I do.
You better get some sleep.
You have another dragon
to slay tomorrow.
l've considered it.
Either way, some units will
sustain devastating losses.
But this invasion is largely
dependent on sea and air power.
Our land troops are inferior...
...if for no other reason
than they're not on land.
So our most important job
is securing beachheads.
Deference must be given to protecting
troops trying to come ashore...
...to clear the way for the armor and
artillery that will push Rommel back.
That being the case, despite
the projected losses, Traff...
...even 70 percent,
the airborne operation has to go.
lt's the toughest choice
l've ever had to make.
Do everything to diminish the hazards.
Go over every detail a thousand times.
But as painful as it is, those soldiers
will have to bear the rough portion.
General Bradley's assault troops
must be given every edge we can find.
A perfectly sound decision.
We'll keep Jerry watching out
for his backside.
You get yours to those jumpers
as soon as you can.
Count on it.
Thank you, gentlemen.
When he wakes up,
l'm seeing Churchill.
-He's gonna bring it up--
-Will you lay off?
l've told you, the sand will hold.
We tested with light bombing.
Resistance gave measurements.
I know. lf the first of those storms hits
the beaches the same time we do...
...you're looking at 2 inches of rain.
Maybe 20-foot swells, eating
at the beaches. Huge erosion.
Would you still go
in that kind of weather?
lf we don't go now....
A lot can happen in three weeks.
They'd get onto us.
Rommel can move more men.
So I ask you again, my good friend,
what if the conditions are marginal?
The beaches will be firm.
I know they will.
You can trust me on this
and not worry yourself about it further.
-Thank you, general.
Salute! Attention!
Thank you for taking the time
to join us, general.
Not even your headman's Kansas
charm can melt the French iceberg.
Don't bet on it.
Attention, all ranks!
General officer!
As you were.
Come, general.
Let me provide you with some details.
Prime minister.
lf the Frenchman can back up
his manner...
...he should be able to control
the weather for us. And the tides.
All we want is he tells
the French to welcome us.
Neutrality might mean
they'll work against us...
...like some did at Dunkirk.
My, my.
Seems that our work isn't up
to the general's level.
General DeGaulle,
I trust your confidence is buoyed.
I think your Operation Overlord
is poorly conceived.
I have explained its failures
to General Eisenhower.
He has all the information to make
the necessary corrections.
l'm grateful for the general's
I'll explain them to you all later.
Although, as l've told the general,
with regret...
...we simply don't have the time
to make the changes suggested.
...you could use a moment alone...
...to discuss other matters?
Yes, sir.
What do you expect from me,
-This is, after all, your speech.
But it is to be broadcast to the French
people on the eve of their liberation.
I was hoping for your support
since we recognize you...
...as their legitimate voice.
Of course you do.
There is no one else.
So I shall give my own address
when the time comes.
As, of course, you must.
But it is our hope, our urgent hope...
...that you'll endorse
my remarks...
...and that is why my speech
should concern you.
Your remarks concern me greatly,
General Eisenhower.
But not for the reasons
you might like.
Okay, what's wrong with it?
Firstly, you urge Frenchmen
to follow your orders?
Only I will command
the people of France.
I understand that.
We all do.
But this operation can only work
if it speaks with one voice.
So they say.
You even ask my people
to accept Allied money.
Yet, as president of the provisional
government, only I can issue currency.
You say local administrations
will stay in place.
For stability, general.
Only I shall decide
what to do with Vichy officials.
No, no. lt's quite impossible.
I'll never accept...
...that you can speak
for all the Allies.
The British have.
The Canadians, the Australians,
the exiled Dutch and Poles.
Roosevelt and Churchill have agreed.
Come to think of it,
you're the only exception.
You will not treat us like ltaly.
We are not German allies.
ln fact, the Vichy government
is precisely that, general.
But we will liberate France and
treat her as an ally nonetheless.
All I ask is that you speak on the radio
after my address...
...and call on your people
to aid us in their liberation.
Speak after you?
That would imply I approve
of your program.
I understand.
Allow me to see you to your car.
-You're wet, Stagg.
-Aye, sir.
lt started raining.
-I find that very depressing.
-Depressing. Yes.
Well, three depressions, actually.
One after the other.
They rolled in from Baffin lsland
in unbelievably quick time.
-l've never seen it like--
-How long before they pass through?
-All three?
Three to five days.
Might be some calm in between them.
Meantime, we're looking at swells
of up to 40 feet mid-Channel...
...30-feet breakers
on the landing zones...
...and winds of up to 50 miles
an hour.
We can't get the gliders
and C-4 7 s off the ground.
Even if we did, they'd be blown all
over Europe when they jumped.
Embarkation status, Birdie?
Crew's aboard ship,
vessel's fully loaded.
Mulberries and LST is fueled.
More crafts still at mooring.
C-4 7 s in place.
Gliders leashed.
Men ready for boarding
on 30 minutes' notice.
We can't send them.
They'll drown before they arrive.
True enough.
Some will.
But we have to calculate the margins.
This might work to our advantage.
lt's certain Jerry won't expect
an invasion force in this weather.
Of course, it is up to you.
But with all the goodwill in the world...
-...we can't wait forever.
But we can wait one more day.
We owe the men that.
Disembarkation is delayed
2 4 hours to Tuesday.
We meet at 01 30 hours
tomorrow morning to finalize.
Sir, there's a definite break
almost immediately at hand.
What kind of break?
This dreadful torrent that seems...
...ready to wash us away
will lift in three hours or so.
For how long?
What's off the lrish coast?
A nasty low.
But even at top speed...
...it would need 36 hours
to reach the Normandy coast.
Meanwhile, winds will moderate.
The bombers should be able
to operate starting tomorrow...
...and right into June 6th.
At best, a moderately
good night for drop zones.
For air power, generally.
Heavy and medium bombers will find
the going, well, chancy at best.
True, but we could press our entire
force of bombers into service.
They'd operate well
in these conditions.
Yes. I expect they would.
But if Stagg could give us
a larger window on the 7th--
l'd take comfort in that.
l'm not ready to give up
on the 6th, Stagg.
Would you know more
by 0200 hours, son?
I expect we'd have a better sense
of the speed...
...of the next storm's approach. Yes.
l'm afraid that's not good enough,
old man.
The American force
has the longest sea journey.
Now, they must put to sea
in the next half-hour...
...if Overlord's to happen
on the 6th.
And further, if you have Admiral
Kirk set sail then recall his fleet...
...for worsening weather,
he can't refuel.
-Won't be ready in time for the 7th.
-Too late after that.
Tides and moon won't be
in the right alignment on the 8th.
Any reason we shouldn't go
on the 6th, Monty?
I would say go.
One hell of a gamble to go now.
-Very chancy.
-I know.
The question is, how long
can we hang this operation...
...on the end of a limb
and just let it dangle there?
l'm quite positive the order
must be given.
Signal will go to the fleet
immediately, sir.
We meet again at 0400 hours
for a report on their progress.
That'll be our last chance
to hold off till July.
Finally going as I predicted, sir.
The break is almost upon us.
Long-range forecast
still unpleasant...
...but I can promise the weather
will clear in a matter of hours.
I command you...
...but you command the men
l'm about to throw into battle.
One last go-round, please.
Well, they're almost in the Channel.
The weather front is moving
faster than the ships.
By the time the LSTs reach landfall,
sea shall be calm.
I say, no turning back.
-A dark day for airborne, l'm afraid.
Well, if there is to be a recall,
it must be now.
Let's go.
Sixth Airborne K-1 2!
Stand by, signal....
89 7 7 in the wing.
Last one at the dance?
Or the first?
Hell, that's just the way it is, Beetle.
One minute l'm exactly
what Churchill described...
...the most powerful man in history.
Now the order's given.
Hell, l'm just audience.
Front row, center, to be sure.
But a corporal on Juno,
a private on Utah...
...they're the ones who will affect
the outcome, not me.
lt's up to them now.
Yes, sir.
All right. Gather around.
Ten minutes to onload.
Just enough time for a visitor.
The supreme commander himself
is coming to see us off.
No kidding.
Hell, I'll bet he ain't coming with, boys.
lt's not his job.
Besides, he hasn't earned
his Jump Wings.
All right. Here's the protocol.
Do not speak unless spoken to.
lf he asks you a question...
...you'll find that generals
are not interested in the personal.
Be prepared to answer
questions such as:
Where you trained,
where you did jump school.
What kind of medals and ribbons
you've earned. Stuff like that.
All right?
Seven out of 1 0, Beetle.
Maybe more.
ln God's hands, sir.
At ease.
Gather around.
That's an order, jumpers.
Smoke them if you got them.
-Where you from, son?
-Basic at Dix, jumped at Bragg, sir.
Corporal, I asked where you're from.
You had a life before the Army,
didn't you?
You bet I did, sir.
l'm a Chicago boy.
-Good for you.
-How about you? Where you from?
-New Orleans, sir.
Nebraska, sir.
Go Corn Huskers.
That's the wrong team, jumper.
-Anybody here from Kansas?
-l'm from Kansas, sir.
-Go get them, Jayhawks.
-You bet. Look out, Hitler.
-Here we come.
-All ready, then?
-Yes, sir.
No, we ain't worried, general.
lt's the Krauts that
ought to be worrying now.
Excuse me, sir.
Do you have a light?
-Yes, I do, lieutenant.
-Thank you, sir.
Our landings on the French coast
have failed...
...to gain a satisfactory foothold,
and I have withdrawn the troops.
My decision to attack at this time
and place was based upon...
...the best information available.
lf any blame or fault attaches
to the attempt, it is mine alone.
lf it all goes wrong,
if Overlord fails...
...give that to the press.
Of course, Overlord did not fail.
How could it?
With so many fine young men and
women from all corners of the earth...
...all determined to do their best
to free a world gone half-mad.
There would be setbacks.
There would be small triumphs,
even in the first few hours.
A message from Leigh-Mallory.
Read it.
Sir, it is at times difficult
to admit one is wrong.
But I have the great pleasure
in doing so on this occasion.
Casualties are dramatically below
my estimates.
I congratulate you
on your command decision...
...and apologize for adding
to the supreme commander's worries.
-Any numbers?
-Early estimates...
...about 20 percent.
-Carry on, general.
Twenty percent
is so much better than 7 0.
But the loss of even one
of this gallant band is a loss...
...to all decent humanity everywhere.
And besides, if the person killed
in action is you or the one you love...
...then the odds
are 1 00 percent in that case.
They knew that,
these great crusaders.
But they went anyway.
Too many of them are now with God.
We may never see their like again.
We may never see their like again.