Invasion of Normandy
Episode #10 of the course “Battles of All Time”
Date: June 6, 1944 – mid-July, 1944
Another one of WWII’s most famous battles was the Invasion of Normandy, which took place from June 1944 to August 1944. The battle began on June 6, 1944, which is commonly referred to as “D-Day.”
On D-Day, roughly 156,000 American, Canadian, and British forces landed on five beaches in the Normandy region. The invaded beaches spanned roughly 50 miles, and the Germans had heavily fortified the coast to prevent attacks. It was one of the largest land and water attacks in history. The Invasion of Normandy is often cited as the “beginning of the end” of the war in Europe.
D-day was actually scheduled to occur on June 5, 1944, but the weather delayed the mission. The invasion included over 5,000 ships and landing crafts in addition to over 11,000 aircrafts to provide air support and cover for the invasion. The invasions began before dawn on June 6, 1944. The largest resistance was on Omaha beach, where American forces landed; there were over 2,000 initial casualties, but by the time the day was over, roughly 156,000 troops had successfully overrun the Normandy beaches. In total, there were about 4,000 casualties as a result of the invasion, and thousands more were either wounded or missing. The beaches were fully secured in less than a week.
The Allied forces then made their way across Normandy and were ready to continue their journey across France. Apparently Hitler thought that the invasion was a distraction from an attack from the Seine River, so he refused to allow troops to leave the river to help with the counterattack. The air support also eliminated important bridges, delaying the arrival of German forces even more.
By the end of August 1944, the Allies had liberated Paris and the Germans were pushed out of France, ending the invasion. The Allied troops then prepared to enter Germany as their next task.
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