This year, June 6, 2017 marks the 73rd Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. WWII’s D-Day.
Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Allies created the “Combined Chiefs of Staff” (CCS) comprising of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff. Their function was to assist and advise U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill on the direction and conduct of the war. The CCS confirmed a previous policy of “Germany First” and, from March 1942, their planning group began work on an outline plan for a full-scale invasion of Europe. They initially hoped to invade Europe in 1943 but the realities of insufficient materials and manpower, and the demands of other operations agreed upon, delayed this effort until 1944 – this despite persistent agitation from Russian Dictator, Stalin to open a second front to relieve pressure in the East.
When America joined the war on the side of Britain in 1941, the two made plans to retake France from the Germans. The situation looked bleak. Britain was running out of food, Western Europe was under the Nazi heel, and the Soviet Union was near collapse. The Russians were begging for an immediate second front to stop the Germans. It was clear that an U.S. invasion of Germany itself was necessary to overthrow Hitler.
Operation Overlord, also known as the Normandy Invasion or simply D-Day, was the code name for the Allied invasion of northern Europe in World War II. It began with the landings on the beaches of Normandy in northwestern France on June 6, 1944, and accomplished the largest amphibious invasion in the history of mankind, using 200,000 men, 9,000 planes, and over 5,000 ships.
Operation Neptune was the name given to the Naval Armada of allied ships & the allied Air Corps involved. On the whole, the naval fleet was composed of five forces, one for each beach. (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Sword) Utah & Omaha beaches were invaded by American Forces. The other three by British, Canadian & a free French Battalion. Eight to sixteen distinct convoys composed the five principal convoys. These forces represented more than 5300 ships of all types plus the 4000 relay boats between the shore and the ships. During the landing, 3460 heavy bombers and 1650 light bombers dropped hundreds of tons of bombs on the Normandy coast, targeting the batteries and the fortifications of the German’s Atlantic Wall. The 82nd and 101st American airborne divisions had been parachuted in hours preceding the amphibian offensive, in the western sector of the allied invasion, West and South-west of Utah Beach, located in the Cotentin peninsula. Once on the ground, the Americans of the 82nd and 101st got under way immediately towards their objectives. Despite an extremely high number of losses (50% in the only night of June 6, 1944), the American parachutists of the 82nd and 101st Airborne achieved a great number of their missions.
Years in the planning~ the Battle of Normandy was fought during World War II in the summer of 1944, between the Allied nations and German forces occupying Western Europe. Seventy years later, the Normandy Invasion, or D-Day, remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving nearly three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy in occupied France. Twelve Allied nations provided fighting units that participated in the invasion, including Australia, Canada, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Greece, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The American, British, and Canadian troops were under the command of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and crossed the English Channel on June 6, 1944, landing on six beaches along sixty miles of the Normandy coast. Their intention was to drive German forces east and out of France while Russian forces in Eastern Europe slowly pushed west. The heaviest fighting occurred at Omaha Beach, where perhaps as many as 3,000 American men were killed or wounded. By contrast, fewer than 200 casualties (out of 23,000 soldiers engaged) were suffered at Utah, the next beach over.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe. The assault phase, or the establishment of a secure foothold, was known as Operation Neptune. Operation Neptune began on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and ended on June 30, when the Allies had finally established a firm foothold in Normandy. Operation Overlord continued until Allied forces crossed the River Seine on August 19, 1944.
The battle began months before the invasion, when Allied bombers began to pound the Normandy coast and farther south, to destroy transportation links, and disrupt the German army’s build-up of their military strength. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over Normandy in advance of the invasion. Six parachute regiments, with more than 13,000 men, also went ahead to cut railroad lines, blow up bridges, and seize landing fields. Gliders also brought in men, light artillery, jeeps, and small tanks. ~ D. F. Howard© June 1, 2014
Portion of the American Cemetery in Normandy, France.
Death Tolls: Germany had 320,000 deaths, followed by the United States with 135,000, then the United Kingdom, Canada, and France where the last three all with less than 65,000.
The OVERLORD ARCH located at the National D-DAY Memorial in Bedford, Virginia USA.
Courtesy of Wikipedia. The National D-Day Memorial is a war memorial located in Bedford, Virginia. It serves as the national memorial for American D-Day veterans. However, its scope is international in that it states, “In Tribute to the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944” and commends all Allied Armed Forces during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 during World War II. The memorial, bordering the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia, is an area comprising 88 acres (360,000 m2) that overlooks the town of Bedford. It officially opened on June 6, 2001 with 15,000 people present, one of whom was then-President George W. Bush. About 70,000 people have visited the memorial each year. Of those, more than half are from outside of Virginia. Bedford was selected for the National D-Day memorial because the town suffered the greatest per capita loss of life during the invasion of any town in the country.