Ever Wonder Why Juno, Gold, Sword, etc? D-Day Names.

Dad was not sure what day he went in, or just what day. He thought it was Utah on about day 2.5 or 3. Drove a Deuce & 1/2 truck off an LST. By then, Spousal Dad had been inland with a bunch of British Gliders as the 101st Airborne Liaison. They would later be in close proximity as the Combat Engineers were busy blowing up obstacles and building bridges for the folks already ashore to move about. There was one push toward Cherbourg where I’m pretty sure my Dad built / secured the bridge her Dad crossed, so they may have been in line of sight at one point.

Eventually Dad rebuilt the port at Cherbourg (along with a few hundred others ;-) and then got to cross France laying down, and lifting up, various landmines and disarming German booby traps. Blowing up bridges and building bridges (depending on direction of fortunes of war…)

Spousal Dad got detached from his unit in battle, and got reattached to the 82nd Airborne and jumped as a paratrooper in the attempt to take Arnhem.

Not many folks did all of Gliders, land attacks, and paratrooper. The 101st Airborne who were trained for gliders mostly went in on the beaches. Then most folks were in a Glider unit or a Paratroop unit, not swapping between them. One small complication of his transfer from 101st to 82nd is that if asked which is the superior force, I can only answer “Yes!”.

But one thing has annoyed me over the years. Just not knowing why in heck the beaches were named as they were. Omaha and Utah I figured were just USA Places so USA beaches. But Juno? Sword? (Maybe something to do with ancient battle gear?) Gold?

Well now I know.

The British Beaches were named for Fish, originally. Swordfish, Goldfish, Jellyfish, and Bandfish. What? No Jelly? Not heard of Band Beach? Well there’s an interesting story there.

Seems when they dropped the word “fish” from the names, the Canadians rightly said they did not want to die on a beach named “Jelly”… so that was changed to Juno. Further, the 6 th beach, Band, was for an optional Commando Raid if they needed to further protect the flank of the other beaches. When that proved to be unnecessary, the Commandos were not sent in there.

Learned from this Mark Felton video:

“Our Finest Hour”…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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25 Responses to Ever Wonder Why Juno, Gold, Sword, etc? D-Day Names.

  1. Jim Masterson says:


    We (my wife, a retired admiral friend and his wife) visited Omaha Beach, and the US cemetery back in April of 2018. It was very impressive. The French guide thanked the US and the allies for freeing them from the NAZIs. At least some Europeans still appreciate the sacrifice of those men back then.

  2. philjourdan says:

    Got to go with the Canucks on this one. No one wants to invade Jelly.

  3. another ian says:

    Around that event

    “Colossus – The Greatest Secret in the History of Computing

    The link is towards the end

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    I find it fascinating that the British invented so much for W.W.II, but kept it secret, and the USA got the credit for creating it. Jet fighters, computers, code breaking, etc.

    Very few people knew how the Allied Army was getting their fuel. There was a 4 inch giant “hose” laid across the channel from England to France. It “came up” in a farm house a little ways from the beach. There was a set of behaviours about when to fill tanker trucks to prevent it being clear what was going on (as it would be bombed if anyone had clue about what / where).

    A huge chunk of the invasion and post invasion advance hung on that hose just as another huge chunk hung on the breaking of Enigma codes and another big chunk hung on gunnery computing and another big chunk hung on “proximity fuses” in artillery shells and then the Norden bomb sight. Even D-Day itself and the “floating harbors”…

    So much was required for the win to go right.

  5. another ian says:


    You probably know of Neville Shute as a novelist – “On the Beach”, “A Town like Alice” etc?

    Rather less known was the aeronautical engineer Neville Shute Norway of the R101 airship (the one that didn’t crash) and Airspeed Aircraft. He was involved with the production of those “special effects” for D Day.

    His autobiography “Slide Rule” is recommended reading

  6. philjourdan says:

    @EMS and ANother Ian – re: The Enigma code.

    You just missed it! They had one of those WWII shows on one of the history channels this weekend (of course given the weekend it was), and they explained the breaking of the Enigma code

    Pure dump luck!. A Corvett in the Artic found a Ubaot and forced it to surface. Unlike tradition, the Captain was the first off the vessel after the shot up the conning tower. So his men were not happy campers. But a strange thing happened on the way to Davy Jones Locker.

    It did not sink (I think it was U100, but as I was binge watching on WWII history, I am probably mistaken). And lo and behold they found a “weird” typewriter (that was how the English sailor described it).

    So a Captain of a Corvett (who had disobeyed orders) forced a submarine with a lousy skipper to surface, failed to sink it, and the tide was turned in the Atlantic. And folks say there is no god?

    BTW: The Germans had the goods on the Jet engine. They were flying before the end of the war. They just could not make enough of them.

  7. philjourdan says:

    @ANother Ian – I am very aware of the Novelist Nevil Shute. I hate his book “on the beach”. But did not know of the other one. Will have to read the scientist. The author is too depressing.

  8. another ian says:


    “BTW: The Germans had the goods on the Jet engine. They were flying before the end of the war. They just could not make enough of them.”

    RAF actually had a Meteor squadron first – not a lot of planes though.


    Rover was building Whittle’s engines and having trouble. As they used centrifugal compressors Rolls Royce knew a lot about those from the Merlin. So swapped Rover the jet operation for the Meteor tank engine production (a non-supercharged Merlin) line

  9. another ian says:


    “I find it fascinating that the British invented so much for W.W.II, but kept it secret, and the USA got the credit for creating it. Jet fighters, computers, code breaking, etc.”

    One might point out that British politics post WW2 wasn’t that much different to what you are facing ATM

  10. another ian says:

    With about 10 Colossi each with 2500 valves (tubes) in operation they shouldn’t have needed booster heating in the building in winter

  11. another ian says:


    The Enigma starting gate was about 1931 and the Poles were the first out of it

    X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken
    by Dermot Turing

    There is a U-tube which I found last night but not yet tonight. Cross checks with


  12. another ian says:


    I tripped over this last night in U-Tube form but can’t find it now


  13. E.M.Smith says:

    Then there’s the Italian contribution:

    The N.1 was powered by a motorjet, a type of jet engine in which the compressor is driven by a conventional reciprocating engine.
    It was an experimental aircraft, designed to demonstrate the practicality of jet propulsion. On 27 August 1940, the maiden flight of the N.1 occurred at Caproni facility in Taliedo, outside of Milan, flown by renowned test pilot Mario de Bernardi. On 30 November 1941, the second prototype was flown by pilot De Bernardi and engineer Giovanni Pedace from Milan’s Linate Airport to Rome’s Guidonia Airport, in a highly publicised event that included a fly-past over Rome and a reception with Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Testing of the N.1 continued into 1943, by which point work on the project was disrupted by the Allied invasion of Italy.

    The N.1 achieved mixed results, while it was perceived and commended as a crucial milestone in aviation (until the revelation of the He 178’s earlier flight), the performance of the aircraft was underwhelming; specifically, it was slower than some existing conventional aircraft of the era, while the motorjet engine was incapable of producing sufficient thrust to deliver viable performance levels to be used in a fighter aircraft. Campini embarked on further projects (like the Reggiane Re.2007), but these would involve the indigenously-developed motorjet being replaced with a German-provided turbojet. As such, the N.1 programme never led to any operational combat aircraft, and the motorjet design was soon superseded by more powerful turbojets. Only one of the two examples of the N.1 to have been constructed has survived to the present day.

    So you had a big piston engine driving the jet engine, which just made thrust… but not a whole lot of it…

  14. The True Nolan says:

    @ E.M.: “So you had a big piston engine driving the jet engine, which just made thrust… but not a whole lot of it…”

    That is essentially the same design which Henri Coanda may (or maybe not) built in 1910.
    Wiki says that the claim is not verified, but I read it decades back as a historical fact. I guess even history changes… The version I read said that Coanda built his plane with a IC engine driving the compressor, and then injected fuel into the outgoing compressed air. Unfortunately, the resulting flames did NOT shoot straight backwards but instead followed the contour of the fuselage and set the plane on fire. That was how Coanda discovered the “Coanda effect”, one of the basic phenomena of hydrodynamics.

  15. jim2 says:

    Along the Memorial Day line …

    On Aug. 4, 1972, U.S. pilots buzzing near the Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam began seeing something rather off-putting in the water below. Numerous sea mines began mysteriously exploding — untouched and unwarranted.

    Now, over four decades removed from the event, researchers have dug into the mystery and linked the detonation of the mines to a massive solar storm, according to a recent commentary in the journal Space Weather.

    The group, led by the University of Colorado’s Delores Kipp, suggested that the abnormally strong solar storm was powerful enough to trigger magnetic sensors in the mines, which were rigged to trip in response to magnetic, acoustic and pressure signatures given off by passing ships.


  16. another ian says:


    Not jet but somewhat similar. The Germans played with one engine driving the supercharger for two propulsion units.

    Back to diesel injector pumps – Toyota have been using distributor type pumps in Landcruisers since the late 1990’s. I haven’t heard any tales of tenderness in them locally or from our boys who are at the sharp end of working Cruiser use in the north west cattle industry.

  17. another ian says:

    This isn’t the same videeo but looks like the same presentation by Dermott Turing


  18. another ian says:

    After watching it – basically the same message as to the starting gate and subsequent progress to cracking Enigma.

    The first one has maps which emphasise the reason the Poles had a wary eye on both Germany and Russia. And why Poznan was a good place to have a listening watch, being at the base of the Polish Corridor The second has more detail on activities around Vichy France, the establishing of an Enigma link from there to UK using Polish copy machines – which only lasted for about a month and the fates of various people involved.

  19. Compu Gator says:

    I gave satire a try,to title-music of the U.S. prime-time t.v.’s Beverly Hillbillies [♪]:

    Once in Berlin there was an man named Kon [♟].
    The star-crossed Ingenieur couldn’t keep his computers whole!
    Then 1 day he was tuning a machine,
    again from the sky came vengeful Al-lied fire.
    Bombs, that is! Wrecked machines! Third time!
    Kin-folks said “Kon, move away from there!”
    “South Bavar-ya’s the place y’ oughtta be!”
    So he loaded up the trucks
    And he moved his wife [⚙]
    To peaceful Swab-ee! Allgäu! [⛰]
    Alpine valleys! Rural life!

    Note ♪ : My talents in music are, ummm, quite limited. I focused on retaining the rhythm (and I often couldn’t get even that right), but I knew that getting it also to rhyme, was too much for me to hope.

    Note ♟ : Konrad Zuse, for the great majority whut ain’t never heerd. The long-obscured Berlin-born loner-inventor of the digital computer using data and programs, with both stored in its memory. Also originator of the concept that’s now commonly called the Harvard or von Neumann architecture. His Z2–Z4 computers were electromechanical, using telephone relays even for their memories. Zuse also invented the 1st high-level programming language: Plankalkül (Computing luminaries Don Knuth and Heinz Rutishauser agreed). Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plankalk%C3%BCl.

    Note ⚙ : Allied bombings of Berlin had destroyed his 1st 3 machines: Z1 (1936), Z2 (1940), Z3 (1941), plus the original blueprints for at least the Z1. So Zuse finally shipped his incomplete Z4 to the  college town  university city Göttingen in Lower Saxony. The obvious Wkp. article reports that the city was “Nearly untouched by Allied bombing in World War II”.  But decisions are much more easily made in hindsight. (I hope WordPress tolerates what I consider to be a stingy 4 links.)

    Note ⛰ : “Oberallgäu is the southernmost district of Germany. ‘Oberallgäu’ literally means ‘Upper Allgäu’. The term Allgäu is applied to the part of the Alps located in Swabia and their northern foothills.”  On 1 side are former provinces of Austria, in case he was contemplating escape from Germany. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberallg%C3%A4u.

  20. H.R. says:

    @Compu Gator – Not a bad effort on the song. That was difficult material to work with.

    What made it all fun was the story behind the song. I didn’t know a thing about the man, his efforts, and how the war affected his machines.

    I learned something new in a fun way. I might have just zipped through your supplementary info without the teaser from your song. And the supplementary info then explained your song.

    But… don’t quit your day job and move to Nashville 😜

  21. YMMV says:

    another ian: https://www.persee.fr/doc/rbph_0035-0818_2004_num_82_1_4836

    That’s good! Two more interesting histories of enigma decryption in WW2:

    Click to access ultra_secret.pdf


    It’s common now to say that breaking Enigma shortened the war (victory) by two years.
    I’d venture that if it had lasted two more years, Germany would have won. It was only by luck that Germany did not win. If England had fallen, it would have been all over.

  22. another ian says:


    “I’d venture that if it had lasted two more years, Germany would have won. It was only by luck that Germany did not win. If England had fallen, it would have been all over.”

    Or you (with luck) would have been able to see Russia from England.

  23. another ian. says:


    And then there were the fringe benefits from the Enigma technology supplied to Japan. There was a big code breaking centre in Brisbane.


  24. another ian says:


    A comment hit moderation and now disappeared

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