The invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Overlord or D-Day, was perhaps one of the most important battles in the human history. The invasion took place on June 4, 1944, at the Coast of Normandy in France. Troops from over twelve countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America participated in the fight against Germany. Although the battles were enduring and hard-fought, the Allies achieved the final victory; the Allies were finally able to set their feet on the European soil again. The Allied invasion of Normandy was a major turning point of the war that led to the ultimate liberation of Europe from the Nazi forces. An Overview of the Invasion
Ever since the Nazi’s invasion and occupation of France in 1940, Great Britain had “vowed to invade France and liberate it from Nazi Germany” (Wikipedia-Operation Overlord). However, the goal could not be reached until the United States joined the war in 1941. By late 1942, under the Soviet’s pressure to establish a second battle front in Europe, Winston Churchill finally agreed to an invasion plan; the trainings and preparations started in mid 1943 (David Pietruza -The invasion of Normandy). Learning from the failure in the Dieppe Raid, the Allied forces were well prepared this time. Over 3 million troops were trained and several equipped full-scale rehearsals were held, and about 7000 vessels and 12000 aircrafts were mobilized (statistics taken from Wikipedia-the Normandy Invasion). Statistics ranging from as large as the landscape of Normandy to as small as the height of a tide were studied carefully and thoroughly by the Allied scientists. The Allied commanders even devised Operation Fortitude with the “aim to misleading the German high command as to the location of the imminent invasion” (Wikipedia-Operation Fortitude). Everything was ready. The Invasion
Hours before the invasion, bombers bombed all of the major German defence structures and parachute soldiers were sent behind enemy lines. Then, on D-day, June 6, 1944 at 6:30am, the landing began. Under the command of Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower, the first wave of soldiers, consisting of Canadian, American and British forces were sent amphibiously to the five beach sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword ( NHHC-D-Day- the Normandy Invasion, 6 - 25 June 1944). Robert Edlin, a veteran who participated in the invasion, described the brutal landing this way: “Our assault boat hit a sandbar. I looked to my right and saw a B Company boat next to us… took a direct hit on the ramp from a mortar or mine. I thought, there goes half of B Company… it was cold, miserably cold… there were bodies from the I I6th floating everywhere. They were facedown in the water with packs still on their backs… I began to run with my rifle in front of me… There were mines and obstacles all up and down the beach… There were no shell holes in which to take cover. The mines had not been detonated… I was hit by a sniper bullet. It shattered and broke my right leg… I fell, and as I did, it was like a searing hot poker rammed into my leg. My rifle fell ten feet or so in front of me. I crawled forward to get to it, picked it up, and as I rose on my left leg, another burst of I think machine gun fire tore the muscles out of that leg, knocking me down again.” (Eyewitness to History-Invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944) Despite the horrible conditions, the Allied soldiers were able to establish a front line along the Coast of Normandy. By July 4, one million troops had landed, and by the end of August, over four million Allied soldiers had landed on the beaches of France. The casualty numbers were also huge: there were around two hundred thousand casualties on both sides, of which over twenty percent were killed. The campaign lasted eighty one days, with the Allies gaining the final victory. The German officials’ neglect for the intelligence reports...