D-Day Anniversary: A look back on history

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Tuesday is the 73rd anniversary of another special Tuesday in America’s history – the World War II invasion of Normandy on Tuesday, June 6, 1944.

Allies from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denark, Free France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland all came together to launch the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Dubbed “Operation Neptune,” the forces came together to fight against Nazi Germany, which eventually resulted in the defeat of Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime.

“Neptune” was the first phase of the larger operation called “Operation Overlord.”

German nazis had invaded and taken over northwestern France in May 1940, just eight months after World War II started on September 1, 1939.   Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, and Frenchmen were forced into labor by the Germans, according to a summary by Heavy.

In 1943, the Allies began Operation Bodyguard, a military plot to deceive and confuse the Germans about when and where they would invade France.

Originally intended for June 5, the Normandy invasion had to be postponed one day due to poor weather.

According to Wikipedia, “The invasion fleet was drawn from eight different navies, comprising 6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 transport vessels (landing ships and landing craft), and 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels.”

The total troops, vehicles and supplies landed over the period of the invasion were:

  • By the end of 11 June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies.

  • By 30 June (D+24) over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies.

  • By 4 July one million men had been landed

There were at least 10,000 casualties on the first day of the Normandy invasion. According to updated records, the dead included 2,499 Americans and 1,914 from other Allied nations, for a total of 4,413 dead on the first day.

For the total operation, there were a reported 209,000 Allied casualties.

The “D” in “D-Day” doesn’t really stand for anything, but “D-Day” is the military term used to indicate when a combat operation begins.

 

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