Operation Overlord

Topics: Normandy Landings, Operation Overlord, Utah Beach Pages: 5 (1302 words) Published: June 12, 2005
Operation Overlord was the code name used for the Allied attack on German-occupied Northern France in the summer of 1944. The organization responsible for planning this task was SHAEF, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, and the officer in command of Overlord was Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Command of ground forces was given to General Bernard Montgomery, while naval forces would be commanded by Admiral Bertram Ramsay. Air forces were under the control of Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallary, and supply and logistics the task of Lt. General John Lee. Operation Bolero

The extensive buildup of troops and supplies required to support Overlord began in April of 1942. Known as Operation Bolero, this effort eventually saw the movement of over 1.5 million military personnel to England, as well as the materials required to house, clothe and feed them. The total number of soldiers participating in all aspects of the invasion numbered 2.8 million. Operation Bodyguard

The overall effort to deceive the Germans was known as Operation Bodyguard, and consisted of ten smaller operations including Operation Fortitude North, Operation Fortitude South, Operation Graffham and Operation Royal Flush. Operation Fortitude was specifically designed to provide deception for Operation Overlord. Among the many tools used by Fortitude were double agents, fake radio traffic and inflatable vehicles and craft designed to convince the Germans that the buildup of forces were intended to strike at Norway and/or the Pas-de-Calais region of France. Operation Neptune

The seaborne aspects of Operation Overlord were known as Operation Neptune, and involved the embarkation of the troops, their transport across the English Channel, and their landings at Normandy. The Neptune forces were also responsible for providing covering gunfire during the landings and for continued supply operations following the landings. Air Superiority

By early June of 1944 the Allies had achieved air superiority over the skies of France, and had reduced the Luftwaffe to an almost token force. The Allied control of the air would play a key role in limiting the Germans ability to maneuver their forces once the Overlord landings began. With complete control of the skies, Allied planes could easily identify and destroy German forces moving during daylight. American Order of Battle

The U.S. First Army forces chosen for Operation Overlord were as follows:

Utah Beach (VII Corps)

* 4th Infantry Division
* 82nd Airborne Division
* 101st Airborne Division


* 4th Cavalry Squadron
* 24th Cavalry Squadron

Pointe du Hoc

* 2nd Ranger Battalion

Omaha Beach (V Corps)

* 1st Infantry Division
* 29th Infantry Division
* 2nd Ranger Battalion
* 5th Ranger Batallion

British/Canadian Order of Battle

The British Second Army forces chosen for Operation Overlord were as follows:

Gold Beach (XXX Corps)

* British 50th Infantry Division

Juno Beach (I Corps)

* Canadian 3rd Infantry Division

Sword Beach (I Corps)

* British 3rd Infantry Division
* British 6th Airborne Division


Needing full moonlight for the paratrooper operations and a rising tide to assist the landing craft, the Overlord planners were restricted to the days of June 5th through June 7th. In order to allow for possible delays, the date of June 5th was originally chosen for the attack. Bad weather forced a one-day delay, and the actual assault began at 12:15 a.m. on the morning of June 6th with the landing of American and British pathfinder paratroopers behind Utah and Sword beaches. Airborne Attack

Following closely behind the pathfinders, who had marked drop zones behind the beaches, the 82nd, 101st and 6th Airborne Divisions commenced their jumps. For numerous reasons, including overreaction by the C-47 transport planes to anti-aircraft fire from below, most of...
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