Event Page

D-day Normandy Invasion

(1942—1944)

The invasion of Normandy came as the long-awaited Second-Front, anticipated by Russia and feared by Hitler. “Operation Overlord” commenced on June 6, 1944, D-Day. General Eisenhower led an amphibious cross-channel landing, while paratroopers supported the beaches from inland. American and British troops pushed forward into France, overcoming Nazi defenses despite a lack of supplies, bad weather, and high casualties. The day of June 6, 1944, proved a pivotal point in the Allied victory in Europe and the overall Allied triumph in World War II.

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United States 101st Airborne takes down Nazi flag
United States 101st Airborne takes down Nazi flag
Ddaymap.jpg
Ddaymap.jpg
source: http://www.onwar.com/maps/wwii/normandy/dday.htm
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"Landing on the coast of France under heavy Nazi machine gun fire are these American soldiers, shown just as they left the ramp of a Coast Guard landing boat." CPhoM. Robert F. Sargent, June 6, 1944. 26-G-2343.
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DDEisenhowerDday.jpg
"Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the Day. 'Full victory-nothing else' to paratroopers in England, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe." Moore, June 6, 1944
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General Eisenhower prepared a message in case the Normandy Invasion failed. Source: http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/d-day-message/
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Three Men Of The 834Th Engineer Aviation Battalion Look Over Landing Operations At Normandy Beach, France.
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Landings On The Normandy Coast Of France On D-Day, 6 June 1944.
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General View Of Normandy Beach, France After The D-Day Invasion. Note The Numerous Bomb Craters Along The Battle-Scarred Beach. 22 June 1944.
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Just A Few Miles Behind The Front Lines In Normandy, France, Men Of The 9Th Air Force Aviation Engineers Constructed Emergency Landing Strips With "Hessian Mat" Used For Surfacing. After The Selected Site For The Airstrip Is Graded And Leveled, The Mat,
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Coast Guard manned USS LST-21 unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a "Rhino" barge during the early hours of the invasion, 6 June 1944. Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/d00001/d02370.jpg
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Wounded men of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, receive cigarettes and food after they had stormed "Omaha" beach on "D-Day", 6 June 1944. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives
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Army troops on board a LCT, ready to ride across the English Channel to France. Some of these men wear 101st Airborne Division insignia. Photograph released 12 June 1944. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives
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The Waters Along Normandy Beach, France Are Flocked With Shipping As Reinforcments And Supplies Are Funneled Ashore During The Invasion Of France On 22 June 1944. Balloon Barrages Float Overhead To Protect The Ships From Low Flying Enemy Strafers.
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This Peaceful Scene Is Part Of The Invasion Fleet Lying Off The Coast Of Southern France A Few Hours After The Initial Landings Were Made.
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Wreckage Of A Republic P-47, Which Crashed During The D-Day Invasion, Lies On The Battle-Scarred Beach Of Normandy, France. 22 June 1944.
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BEACHHEAD LANDINGS-Men and assault vehicles storm the beaches of Normandy as allied landing craft make a dent in Germany's west wall on 6 June 1944. As wave after wave of landing craft unload their cargo, men move forward and vehicles surge
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Quickly And Efficiently Members Of The 351St Fighter Squadron, 353Rd Fighter Group Load Their Necessary Equipment Onto Trucks And Jeeps Which Will Transfer Them To Their Planes On The Field All Ready To Participate In The D-Day Invasion On 6 June 1944. E
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As thousands of Allied naval craft ferried to and from the beachhead in Northern France, a Martin B-26 Marauder of the U.S. Army 9th AF took this picture while enroute to bomb railway yards at Avranches, France.
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Smoke screen laid to protect landing of allied troops on French Beachhead.
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BEACHHEAD LANDINGS. Men and assault vehicles storm the beaches of Normandy as Allied Landing craft make a dent in Germany's West Wall on 6 June 44. As wave after wave of landing craft unload their cargo, men move forward and vehicles surge
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FRANCE-BEACHHEAD LANDINGS-Men and assault vehicles storm the beaches of Normandy as Allied landing craft make a dent in Germany's West Wall on 6 June 1944. As wave after wave of landing craft unload their cargo, men move forward
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Obstacles In The Invasion....This Photo, Made At Low Tide On The Invasion Coast At Grandcamp-Les-Bains, France, Shows German Teller Mines Affixed To Posts And Planted Several Hundred Feet From The Beach. At High Tide, These Are Covered With Water And Cau
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Activities Of The 4Th Combat Camera Unit In France. June 1944.
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Landing Operations Of The 834Th Engineer Aviation Battalion At Normandy Beach, France.
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Aerial View Of Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, Taken 6 June 1944, Showing Landing Of Two Infantry Regiments (18Th And 115Th), Vehicles, And Landing Craft.
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Men And Assault Vehicles Storm The Beaches Of Normandy As Allied Landing Craft Make A Dent In Germany'S West Wall On 6 June 44. As Wave After Wave Of Landing Craft Unload Their Cargo, Men Move Forward And Vehicles Surge Up The Roads. 3Rd Bomb Division,

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General Eisenhower Prepared for Failure

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Although the Normandy Invasion faced great obstacles, Operation Overlord was a success and turned the tide of the war. But on June 5, before the offensive, General Eisenhower knew that this cross-channel invasion may fail. He prepared a statement in the event that the Allied invasion did not succeed and the troops were forced to retreat. Eisenhower knew he would be held responsible, and he was ready to take the blame. While history books record the Normandy Invasion a victory for the Allied forces, it is common to forget the consequences of an alternative outcome, when failure is still a possibility. Eisenhower’s experience as a soldier taught him to always prepare for both outcomes and all the consequences that accompany defeat. This speech he wrote was never given, but it’s important to not ignore the “what ifs” that soldiers, generals, and field nurses experience the night before a battle, even a victorious one.

Telephone Diary of the 352 Infantry Division

Normandy, France

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The World War II Foreign Military Studies collection on Footnote includes several insights into the German perspective of the D-Day invasion.

One is this Telephone Diary of the 352 Infantry Division.  It begins with early reports of paratroopers and personnel carrying gliders and then continues through the invasion by sea.

The first reports of ships came in at 5.02 Hours, "Off Port en Bession one big and four smaller naval units were sighted.  Ahead of Grandcamp light naval units are reported."  At 5.20 Hours, "Advanced observers of the 2 and 4 battalions of the Artillery Regt 352 report to have ascertained noises which probably originate from naval units, at approximate distance of two KM, heading toward the Vire outlet."

The attached image is the first page of this Telephone Diary.  You can read the rest using the filmstrip at the bottom of the viewer.

Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter's Account of Normandy

Normandy, France

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Another interesting insight from the World War II Foreign Military Studies collection comes from Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter's account of the Battle of the 716th Infantry Division in Normandy.

Richter gives a thorough account of the initial invasion and the following days.

The attached page is the first of a translation of his report.  You can read the rest using the filmstrip at the bottom of the viewer.

Event Details

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Battle Casualties from June to September, 1944:
Canada: 5,000 killed, 13,000 wounded or missing 1
France: 12,200 civilian dead or missing 1
Germany: 30,000 killed, 80,000 wounded, 210,000 missing 1
Great Britain: 11,000 killed, 54,000 wounded or missing 1
Total: 550,200 1
United States: 29,000 killed, 106,000 wounded or missing 1
D-day Casualty Estimates, Allies:
Canada: 946 casualties 2
Great Britain: 2,700 casualties 2
Total: 10,000 casualties, 2,500 dead 2
United States: 6,603 casualties 2
Event:
Also known as: D-day, Operation Neptune, Operation Overlord 3
Name: Normandy Invasion 3
Invasion Force:
11,000: Planes 4
4,000: Ships 4
Nearly 3 million: Soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors 4
Leaders:
Arthur Harris: led the Royal Air Force Bomber Command 5
Arthur Tedder: Deputy Commander of Allied Forces 5
Bernard Law Montgomery: led both American and British Army forces, the 21st Army Group 5
Bertram Ramsay: led the ANXF, Allied Naval Expeditionary Force 5
Carl Spaatz: led the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe 5
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Supreme Commander of Allied Forces 5
Trafford Leigh-Mallory: led the AEAF, Allied Expeditionary Air Force 5
Main Military Divisions--American unless specified:
3rd British Infantry: Landing over Sword beach 6
3rd Canadian Infantry Division: land on Juno beach 6
4th Infantry Division and 1st Infantry Division: Land on Utah and Omaha beaches 6
50th British Infantry Division: due to land on Gold Beach 6
6th Airborne Division: Dropped on east bank of the Orne River 6
82nd and 101st Airborne divisions: Night drop on the Cotentin Peninsula behind Utah beach; 6
Allies enter Rome:
05 Jun 1944 7
Allies invade Sicily and Italy:
09 Jul 1943 7
Germans expelled from Tunisia:
07 May 1943 7
Teheran Conference:
28 Nov 1943 7
U.S. invasion of North Africa begins:
08 Nov 1942 7
Landing Areas:
Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches 4
Antwerp and Brussels liberated by Allies:
04 Sep 1944 7
Battle of the Bulge begins in Ardennes forest:
16 Dec 1944 7
D-Day:
06 Jun 1944 7
Liberated by Allies:
Cherbourg, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
St. Lô, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Paris, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Verdun, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Dieppe, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Artois, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Rouen, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Abbeville, France 7
Liberated by Allies:
Antwerp, Belgium 7
Liberated by Allies:
Brussels, Belgium 7
Liberated by Allies:
Normandy, France 7
Liberation of Paris:
25 Aug 1944 7
U.S. troops break out west of St. Lô:
July 25, 1944--July 30, 1944 7
U.S. troops liberate Cherbourg:
27 Jun 1944 7
Verdun, Dieppe, Artois, and Rouen liberated:
01 Sep 1944 7

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