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D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)

D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 am British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing.

 

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Thomas Piscina

Thomas Piscina

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When 'the big thing' would come was no doubt a secret except to a handful, but for tens of thousands of airmen whose operations had been shifted from Germany to France over the last several months, it was obvious that the day of reckoning for Adolf Hitler had come. It was now or never. It could not be postponed beyond June or July. In addition, the dazzling triumphs of the Soviet juggernaut, on a thousand kilometre front, was a reminder that with or without a Second Front Hitler's goose was cooked.

Article:   Operation Overlord: On th…
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

While awaiting the invasion, the German commanders were never sure as to the exact point where the Allied troops would land. The prevailing opinion of Nazi commanders assumed the assault to take place in the area of Pas de Calais, the nearest point in France from the Southern coast of England.

By June 6th, 1944, General Rommel had at his disposal fifty-five infantry divisions in France, thirty of them were battle-ready and the rest of them consisting of new recruits and prisoners from the Russian front, who had volunteered to serve with the Germans. Some of the units were dispersed throughout France, but about a dozen of first class infantry divisions were deployed on the Normandy coast. The core of the German defense was formed, however, by the eleven Panzer divisions, which were well-equipped and possessed formidable fighting power.

Article: D-Day
Source: Welcome to the Polish Ame...

By nightfall on June 6th 1944-D-Day, Hitler's Atlantic Wall on the coast of Normandy had been breached. The Allies, at a cost of 9,500 casualties compared with 4-10,000 Germans, were ashore in Fortress Europe. But their position remained precarious; the beachheads had less depth than had been hoped for, and British and US forces had not yet linked up. Supplies and reinforcements were not coming ashore as rapidly as had been planned, and the initially slow and piecemeal enemy reaction could not be expected to remain so favorable.

The Allies had to link up and expand their currently insecure toeholds into something more substantial as rapidly as possible.

Article: Military History Online -...
Source: Military History Online

Cleverly, the Germans built concrete bunkers right smack into many of these ridges and housed them with heavy machine guns and medium range artillery which created deadly zones of interlocking fire that targeted every single inch of Omaha. And because they were constructed directly into the ridges, these bunkers were able to withstand massive naval and aeriel bombardment.

Article: German defenses on the No...
Source: Helium

Why Normandy? Here are the reasons: the coasts of Britanny (western France) are too far away from England to be approached, the grounds in Holland are flooded and do not allow the installation of a beachhead. The currents of the Belgian coasts are very strong and thus dangerous. The Germans await the allies in the Pas-de-Calais (northern France) because the distance between England and France at this place is most reduced. The beaches of Normandy are sand beaches and on some places there are rollers. The composition of these beaches is close to those of western England. Thus, the soldiers will be able to train themselves and to test the resistance of the tanks on the British beaches.

Article: Summary of D Day - June 6...
Source: D-Day - Débarqueme...

Fortunately for the Allies the Germans had waited too long to begin construction of their main defenses, and had kept their vaunted panzer divisions out of immediate support range of the landing zone defenders. These divisions in turn lost much of their strength on the marches to the Normandy battle zone as Allied air attacks steadily whittled away at them. Some arrived for battle at 50% of their previous strength.

Article: The Normandy Landings
Source: War Times Journal

With marble Crosses and Stars of David, the American cemetery is a solemn, spiritual experience that all Americans should share...The American Cemetery is located north west of Bayeux and is an easy drive from Chateau de l’Isle-Marie. 9378 American soldiers are buried here. On the walls of the semicircular garden of the memorial are inscribed the names of 1557 Americans missing in action who gave their lives in the service of their country during the D-Day invasion.

Article: Château de l'Isle-Marie ...
Source: Château de l'Isle-Marie ...

The 5000-vessel armada stretched as far as the eye could see, transporting over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles across the channel to the French beaches. Six parachute regiments -- over 13,000 men -- were flown from nine British airfields in over 800 planes. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over coastal Normandy immediately in advance of the invasion...By nightfall on June 6, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were dead or wounded, but more than 100,000 had made it ashore, securing French coastal villages. And within weeks, supplies were being unloaded at UTAH and OMAHA beachheads at the rate of over 20,000 tons per day.

Article: American Experience
Source: PBS

Code-named "Operation Overlord", and commanded by American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allies landed on June 6, 1944 at five beaches in the Normandy area with the code names of: Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach. Prior to the actual amphibious invasion, Allied planes pounded the Nazi defenders and dropped thousands of paratroopers behind German lines the night before the seaborne landings. Local French Resistance forces, alerted to the imminent invasion, engaged in behind-the-lines sabotage and combat against the occupying Germans.

Article: World War 2: The Invasion...
Source: The History Guy: A Resour...

When Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy early on the morning of 6 June 1944, they launched the most massive military undertaking of World War II. Since then those beaches have borne the code names, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword, the components of Operation Overlord, which is popularly known as D-day. The landing set the stage for the beginning of the end of German occupation of France. The operation was both enormous and complex. Counting combat troops and personnel involved in administrative and logistical support, between 2.6 and 2.7 million individuals participated.

Article:   D-Day and Geograby
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

Article: This Day in History
Source: Day — History.com This ...

The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.

When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.

Article: World War II — D-Day, t...
Source: Home - National D-Day Mem...
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