Oswego tugboat played important role in D-Day

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OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It may not look like much, but a tugboat docked in Oswego played an important role in the D-Day invasion.

The LT5 tugboat arrived off the coast of France nearly 24 hours after the initial invasion and its history holds an interesting story.

“One event that did happen was a German Wolf 190 aircraft fighter plane got very close to the tug and the tug was able to shoot it down with a small 50 caliber machine gun.  It’s probably the only time a tug boat ever shot down a German warplane during the war,” said Dan Ferens, a volunteer at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum.   

And what doe it mean to have something like that here in Oswego?

“We’re quite proud because of the history behind this. This is the 75th anniversary of D-Day and having a tug that actually participated in the invasion for the historical value, if nothing else, and also you’ll be able to see how the pilot was able to, what he was going through to steer the boat,” Ferens said.

“They had 6,497 ships in the first wave and they used everything,” said John Langdon, a Le Moyne College professor. 

“It’s the biggest amphibious operation in history. But it’s not just that. It’s not like some sort of exercise and it’s certainly not some sort of modern day video game. It was real blood and real sacrifice, and of all the military operations that I’m familiar with as a historian looking back over hundreds and hundreds of years, it was the most absolutely necessary of all of them because of the amount of evil and wickedness that would have been done to innocent human beings had that invasion not happened is something for one I don’t even want to think about.”

But it’s certainly something for all of us to think about and an important reason why we commemorate D-Day 75 years later.

The LT-5 has been on display in Oswego since 1991. It’s a National Historic Landmark and you can see it for yourself at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum.

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