The invasion of Normandy, commonly referred to as D-Day, was a crucial mission to regain power over Nazi Germany, and was critical to the Allied victory of WW II. Operation Overlord, commanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the largest multinational land, sea, and air campaign in history. On June 6 1944, the attack started with multiple airborne and pathfinder units parachuting inland behind the Atlantic Wall, an 800 mile strip of coast occupied by Nazi Germany under the command of General Rommel. This Atlantic Wall was thought to be impenetrable, but under the careful command of General Eisenhower and his team of advisors and a considerable amount of luck, they were about to disprove that theory and spark the beginning of the end of WW II. Operation Overlord was orchestrated by the Commanding General of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had responsibility for about three million troops made up of American, British, Canadian, French, Polish, Czech, Belgium, Norwegian, and Dutch contingents (Bowden 2). This responsibility was enough to hobble any man, yet Eisenhower knew the importance of his mission and how critical each part of the assault, the weather, the timing, and each unit’s role. Everyone involved in this offensive knew the outcome to be a deciding factor in the result of WW II. For months troops were deployed on these mock invasions, many of the troops did not know if they were actually going a training mission or the actual deployment of D-Day. Private Rosco Russo was quoted saying; “We would always aim the rifle, squeeze the trigger, and say, “Kraut bastard,” fully expecting that it would make killing Germans a lot easier.” This causes a belief that these multiple deployments on training missions, while staged in England, was to desensitize these young men and to combat complacency. Most of the men who were prepped to be part of the largest offensive of history were under the age of 21 and had no combat experience. Commanders would lay in their bunks and question how there young officers and soldiers would react under fire. This fear of unknown had the men anxious to assault the beaches of Normandy and gain control of France in hopes to end the war in Europe. D-Day was narrowed down to a three day window June 4th, 5th, and 6th of 1944, this was based on a full moon and no cloud cover needed for the airborne assault during the night and perfect timing for the tides for a beach landing to be possible. There would not be another window until the middle to the end of June and General Eisenhower was concerned that was too long to wait believing this would give Hitler the opportunity to reinforce the Atlantic Wall with more troops and heavy weapons. The planning and intelligence involved in Operation Overlord was developed of spies, operators, and counterintelligence to not only gather the most accurate intelligence to plan the operation but also to create a coupe. This was done to make Hitler even think that more waves of Allied forces was staged at other strategic points in Europe making Hitler fearful to move his valuable Panzer Tanker unit to fortify the Atlantic Wall. This made Operation Overlord a very time sensitive mission that needed to be conducted swiftly and accurately to minimize Allied casualties and gain control of the harbors of Normandy to open the doors for millions of Allied troops to push forward and regain control of France and later be able to move the conflict into Germany’s borders. If Hitler would have found out that General Eisenhower was basically utilizing all his assets to orchestrate his invasion of Normandy, D-Day would have a been battle fought and lost by Allied forces. Therefore, on June 5 1944, General Eisenhower released the orders to invade Normandy and D-Day was set to begin in the early hours of June 6 1944. He completed his “Orders of the Day” letter with “I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty...
Cited: Beevor, Antony. D-day: the Battle for Normandy. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
Foner, Eric. Give me liberty!: an American history. third ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.
Bowden, Mark. Our finest day: D-Day: June 6, 1944. San Francisco: Chronicle Books ;, 2002. Print.
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