Thursday, October 24, 2019


At 9: 30 A.M. on Friday, [February 2, 1945] the pugnacious gray prow of the cruiser U.S.S. Quincy glided past that same Fort St. Elmo, escorted by U.S.S. Savannah, revived and refitted after nearly being sunk by a German glide bomb off Salerno seventeen months earlier. A half-dozen Spitfires wheeled overhead like osprey, and whooping crowds lined the rooftops and the beetling seawalls around the quays. “The entrance to the harbor is so small that it seemed impossible for our big ship to get through,” a passenger on Quincy wrote.

As the cruiser crept at four knots along the stone embankment, a solitary figure could be seen sitting on the wing bridge, wrapped in a boat cloak with a tweed tam-o’-shanter atop his leonine head and a cigarette holder clenched between his teeth. For this journey he had been assigned a sequence of code names—BRONZE, GARNET, STEEL, and, from the British, ADMIRAL Q—but now there was no hiding his identity. Tars and swabs came to attention on weather decks across the anchorage. A field piece at the fort boomed a slow salute of twenty-one rounds, and that band aboard Sirius tootled through the much-rehearsed American anthem to herald the arrival of Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States. The diplomat Charles E. Bohlen described the moment:

The sun was glistening on the waves and a light breeze was snapping the flags flying from the British warships and walls of the city.…Roosevelt sat on deck, his black cape around his shoulders, acknowledging salutes from the British man-of-war and the rolling cheers of spectators crowding the quays. He was very much a historical figure.

Across the harbor, on the quarterdeck of H.M.S. Orion, another historical figure stood in a naval uniform, puffing a cigar and waving his yachtsman’s cap until the American president spotted Winston Churchill and waved back. An abrupt hush fell across the harbor. “It was one of those moments,” another witness wrote, “when all seems to stand still and one is conscious of a mark in history.” Quincy eased her starboard flank against Berth 9. Thick hawsers lassoed the bollards, and the harbor pilot signaled belowdecks: “Through with engines.”

Rick Atkinson, (2013-10-22). The Liberation Trilogy Box Set (Kindle Locations 44258-44275). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.

1 comment:

  1. cenforce-150mg Cenforce Cenforce