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D-Day – The Normandy Landings

The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.


The Normandy Landings

During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

American soldiers crouching behind the bulkhead of a barge get ready to land for the Normandy Invasion in June of 1944. Image: AP Photo/Associated Press

An unidentified Allied landing craft of, right, burns just off the shore somewhere on the north coast of France on June 6, 1944 during the invasion. Image: AP Photo/Associated Press

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.

British troops, trucks and ambulances stand on deck in readiness as the transport ship nears the coast of France, during the Allied invasion of the Normandy on June 8, 1944. Image: AP Photo/Associated Press

The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans.

By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition

to capture beaches codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword, as did the Americans at Utah Beach. U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties. However, by day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

General Dwight Eisenhower gives the order of the day, “Full Victory – Nothing Else,” to paratroopers somewhere in England just before they board their planes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe on June 6, 1944. Image: U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo/Associated Press

Marauders of the 9th Air Force bombardment group fly over units of the Allied fleet as they approach landfall on the French coast on June 21, 1944. Image: AP Photo/Associated Press

The Normandy invasion began to turn the tide against the Nazis. A significant psychological blow, it also prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front against the advancing Soviets. The following spring, on May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier, on April 30.

The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

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2 Comments on D-Day – The Normandy Landings

  1. Easy to look back and say “Of course we landed in France, and of course our successful attack was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany !” In reality this day – in the fifth year of the war – was the hinge of fate, as Churchill put it. No pusillanimus effort would do…the wealth and industrial power and best young men of the free world all marshaled together, all cast against the Atlantic wall in one stupendous throw of the dice. Failure would have been a historic victory for the forces of evil, would have left the free world in despondency, and may have decided the Russians to sue for peace….

  2. Eight years running and Obama has not attended the services. On second thought, I would rather he NOT attend, that is sacred ground and he would only desecrate it.

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