D-Day’s Wheels Roll Again (slideshow)





Involved in the initial assault were 156,000 troops, about 5,000 ships and — most appealing to military vehicle enthusiasts — around 50,000 tanks, trucks, jeeps, halftracks, armored cars, bulldozers, motorcycles and other assorted machines.

At least 5,000 of these combat vehicles returned to Normandy last week to commemorate the battle’s 70th anniversary, a huge celebration hosted by the French government and scheduled for visits by world leaders, including President Obama.

Military vehicle clubs from all over Europe converged on the 75-mile-wide invasion area, snarling traffic on the region’s narrow lanes with their long olive-drab columns in scenes that evoked documentary film from the 1940s. Some made much longer trips: A hardy group from Australia and New Zealand shipped a collection of restored war vehicles to Sicily, then spent five weeks making a 3,000-mile tour to Normandy, including a run over the 8,200-foot Grossglockner Pass in the Austrian Alps.





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