WWII veteran leaves behind D-Day invasion map

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Darmstadt - The family of a World War II veteran who stormed the beaches of northern France on D-Day have uncovered a map drawn to scale of invasion plans for Omaha beach.

The map belonged to Karl Sensmeier, who had lived in Darmstadt, a small community just north of Evansville, before his death earlier this year. As a young Army private first class, Sensmeier crossed the English Channel on June 6, 1944, and landed with the Allied forces in what became a turning point in beating Hitler's Germany in the war.

Sensmeier's son said the map includes descriptions of where air corps personnel would be deployed and what locations would be set aside in the invasion for naval units. Karl Sensmeier had lived

"If the Germans had gotten hold of this before the invasion, they would have had a great deal of information about the landing," Jeff Sensmeier told the Evansville Courier & Press for a Friday story. "Things would have been even worse for our forces."

The map is framed on a living room wall beside a plaque of Sensmeier's medals.

"I know it probably should be in a museum, but it's first and foremost a family heirloom," said his widow, Donna Sensmeier.

Karl Sensmeier died Feb. 16 of cancer at age 89. For years, memories of the carnage that D-Day morning made him wake screaming in the middle of the night, his family said.

The family also has an audio tape recorded not long before Sensmeier's death on which he talks about the rough weather and how "all hell broke loose" within a half-mile of the beach.

"I had to jump over the bodies when I hit the water," Sensmeier said on the tape. "I thought this was the end for me."

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