The Beast That Could Have Stopped WWII?



The Beast of Omaha was responsible for the of up to 2000 soldiers during the dday landings. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, a 20-year-old German soldier named Heinrich “Hein” Severloh hurried to his post at Wiederstandsnest 62 (WN62) overlooking Omaha Beach to man his MG 42 . Tossed around in the English Channel in front of him were over 34,000 American troops waiting for their chance to land on that beach and earn their place in history.WN 62 was the strongest of point on Omaha beach. Severloh’s MG 42, capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute
The first American troops who arrived were at a range of about 450 meters, and subsequent waves came progressively closer as the tide rose, making them easier to hit. Each dropped ramp revealed 30 potential targets at a time, and an accurateshort burst of about three seconds was enough to decimate a platoonWhen it was clear that the fall of each ramp would be followed by the arrival of about 50 rounds, many troops made a premature exit over the sides of the boats, often into water too deep for their heavily laden bodies.One incident that was to haunt Hein Severloh for many years afterward took place when he had switched to his

Opposite WN 62’s position on the beach today, there stand two concrete blocks. One American survivor with a flamethrower on his back tried to seek shelter behind this feature, but Severloh brought him down with a shot through his helmet. The individual drama of this event somehow made a more lasting impression on him than the sight of soldiers collapsing in numbers from his machine-bursts, and he relived it many times in his dreams after the war
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