Was D-Day Worth the risk?

Topics: Normandy Landings, World War II, Operation Overlord Pages: 5 (1834 words) Published: December 1, 2007
What historical benefit did D-day have in history? If the allies did not succeed in D-day would Europe still be occupied by Hitler? The failure of D-day could have caused the Allies to lose in World War II. The idea of D-day was in process since March 9, 1942 when President Roosevelt said I am becoming interested in the established of a new front this summer on the European continent (Collier 8). With the idea of penetrating a very fortified German front the Allies had their hands full. The invasion would need a detailed plan on how to defeat the Axis. Without D-day the Allied forces would not be able to have the ultimate goal of victory in Europe.

In early 1944 the US army started to study Omaha beach since at the time it was the only undefended beach. The planers thought until the attack that it would only be defended by a single, under strength, poor-quality regiment (Zaloga 21). To have success in the evasion the Allies needed a tactical surprise. Allied double agents played a very important role in convincing the Germans that Normandy was only diversionary attack to setup a big attack elsewhere (2007). This role became very apparent on the day of the attack as the Germans were convinced the real attack had yet to happen. The Allies only way to land the necessary force to overtake Omaha beach was an amphibious landing. The Allies were concerned that if Germans suspected an invasion it would force the Germans to stop an amphibious landing. The Allies also were planning to invade other beaches in Normandy that included Omaha, Utah, Sword, Juno, and Gold (Penrose 155).

Hitler knew that the only way to invade Europe would have to be from the coast. The Germans also would need a plan to protect an invasion at Normandy or other tactical invasion points. Rommel a Nazi general was put in charge by Hitler to defend and fortify the most likely places for the Allies to invade (Zaloga 30). The Germans expected the main invasion to be at Pas de Calais. The Nazis thought Pas de Calais would be the most likely place for an invasion. The other possible location that worried the Nazis was the extensive coasts of Normandy. Hitler ordered work to begin to fortify the coasts. The Germans began to build concreted emplacements along the most likely to be invaded coast lines (30). These concrete emplacements would protect the Germans from air attack as well as let them fire their machineguns and artillery at the beaches in the event of a landing from the sea (31). Since the Germans thought that the attack would come from the coast their goal was to hinder that attack and the initial work was to construct obstruction against landing crafts. They created steel obstruction called Cointet that were designed to block out landing crafts (31). The Germans built 3,700 of these obstacles at just Omaha Beach alone (32).

The final factor in determining the date of the invasion was based on the weather (2007). To complete necessary objectives a full moon was required for light so their bombers could bomb early in the morning and for the spring tide to allow easier landing on the beach (2007). Needing a full moon the invasion could only happen a few times a month (2007). D-day was originally scheduled to begin on June 5th though bad weather made Eisenhower postponed the invasion. If the weather did not improve the Allies would have to return to base and try again next month. Eisenhower had a meeting with his lead meteorologist that informed him that weather should be calm enough for a June 6th invasion 2007). The Germans thought that since there was bad weather it would postpone an invasion for a few days. General Dollman lowered the alert status of all of his troops that were protecting the coasts (Zaloga 42).

Omaha Beach would be the hardest of all the beaches to invade since there was less cover and steeper cliffs. Early in the morning of June 6th the allies sent minesweepers to begin clearing paths through minefields at Omaha Beach (42)....

Cited: Battle of Normandy." Wikipedia. 7 June 2007. 11 Oct.-Nov. 2007 .
Collier, Richard. D-Day. London: Seven Dials, 1992.
Penrose, Jane. The D-Day Compaion. Great Britian: Osprey, 2004.
Zaloga, Steve. D-Day 1944: Omaha Beach. Westport: Oxford, 2003.
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