D-Day is a term used generically by the military in order to indicate the day that begins a combat attack or operation. Historically, the term used to refer to D-Day June 6, 1944, during the Second World War, which began the day in Operation Overlord. What happened on D Day was an operation to carry out a massive landing on the beaches of Normandy in order to reenter combat declining in Western Europe German rule.
On the original to make the landing was June 5 but due to weather and sea was postponed to the morning of June 6 at the hands of the commander Dwight D. Eisenhower.
When signs are used together with D and H + and figures – these terms indicate the point of time that precedes or follows a specific action. Thus, H-3 means 3 hours before H-hour, and D + 3 means 3 days after D-Day
What happened on D Day?
The Normandy Landings were the first operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord during World War II. The D-Day operation, postponed 24 hours by rain, became the 6th of June 1944, and the H-Hour was 6:30 AM. The assault was conducted in two phases: an aerial assault of paratroops British, American and Canadian shortly after midnight; and an amphibious landing of infantry and armored troops on the coast of France beginning at 06:30. Required the transport of soldiers and material from the UK by aircraft and transport ships, landing craft, air support, naval protection Channel and naval artillery support. They also carry out several actions against Kriegsmarine diversion to avoid the intrusion of the landing areas.
The operation was the largest amphibious invasion made in a single day of all time, with more than 130,000 troops landed on June 6, 1944. 195 700 people of various Merchant Navy and Marines participated. The landing occurred on a stretch of the Normandy coast, located between the estuary of the Seine and the Cotentin Peninsula, divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The opposing armies
The order of battle ally
At the Arcadia Conference, held in Washington in December 1941, the United Kingdom and the United States established a joint command structure should be maintained until the end of the war. The heads of government of both nations met as heads of staff and delegates in each of their heads supreme control of the land forces, naval and air their respective theaters of operations, regardless of the nationality of each. At the head stands at General Dwight Eisenhower, whose main role was exercised administrator of a coalition of mainly British and Americans, but also Canadian, Polish, French, Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian. The second head was a British airman, the Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, who had extensive experience in the development of the cooperation of ground forces and air and simultaneously assumed responsibility for directing air support the operation. Naval Expeditionary Force of the Royal Navy and the Navy of the United States (more ships Canadians, Poles, Norwegians and French), was under the command of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, and should make it possible to transport almost all the troops and equipment to allies in Normandy. The Commanding Expeditionary Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory (also British) was the head of two Air Force tactical fighter bombers mainly consisting in: the 2nd Tactical Air Force RAF (the New Zealand Air Marshal Sir Arthur “Mary” Conningham) and the 9th Air Force, American General Lewis H. Brereton. In addition, it could resort to aircraft of the RAF Air Defence, as well as strategic heavy bombers of the RAF and the American 8th Air Force. In the first instance, all control of land forces in Normandy would be exercised by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, until they acquire a sufficient size to separate the British troops from US universities; and at that time, would hand control of Eisenhower.
The order of battle of the landings was approximately as follows, from east to west:
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF)
Supreme Commander in Chief: General Dwight Eisenhower
Second Supreme Commander in Chief: Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder
Chief of Staff: General Walter Bedell Smith
Commander in Chief of the Ground Forces: General Sir Bernard Montgomery
Naval Forces Commander: Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay
Commanding Expeditionary Force: Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory
2nd British Army: Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey
6th Airborne Division (Major General Richard Gale Nelson): launched gliders and parachute to the east of the River Orne to protect the left flank. The division consisted of 7,900 men, including a Canadian battalion.
First Special Service Brigade (Brigadier Lord Lovat): Command composed of units 3, 4, 6 and 45 (MR). They landed in Ouistreham, the sector Red Queen Sword beach (eastern sector). 4 Command was reinforced by French troops Command 10 (interaliat).
I Corps (Lieutenant General John Crocker): landed on Sword Beach, from Ouistreham and Lion-sur-Mer.
3rd Infantry Division (Major General Thomas Rennie)
27th Armored Brigade
41st of Commando (RM): part of the 4th Brigade of Special Services, which landed on the western end of Sword Beach
3rd Canadian Infantry Division (Major General Rodney Keller) who landed on Juno Beach between Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and Courseulles-sur-Mer.
2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade
Of 48th Commando (RM)
Of 46th Commando (RM): part of the 4th Brigade of Special Services, who landed on Juno to scale the cliffs on the west bank of the Orne estuary and destroy a battery (the battery fire proved insignificant and remained 46th in reserve, landed on D + 1)
XXX Corps (Lieutenant General Gerard Bucknall): consisting of 25,000 men who landed on Sword Beach, from Ouistreham and Lion-sur-Mer.
50th Infantry Division (Northumbria) (Major General Douglas Alexander Graham)
8th Armoured Brigade (Brigadier Bernard Cracroft)
Of 47th Commando (RM) in the western flank of Gold Beach
79th Armored Division (Major-General Sir Percy Hobart), which had the Estravagàncies Hobart, tanks specialized in mine clearance, recovery tasks and assault.
In total, the 2nd Army soldiers consisted of 83 115 (61 715 of them British). In addition to the Canadian and British combat units also participated in the French 10th Command officers and eight Australians join as observers to the British. The nominally British naval and air support, including a large number of crews of all allied nations, including several squadrons of the RAF formed entirely by foreign crews.
American First Army: Lieutenant General Omar Bradley
V Corps (Major General Leonard Gerow): 34 250 that landed at Omaha Beach, between Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes and Vierville-sur-Mer.
1st Infantry Division (Maj. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner)
29th Infantry Division (Major General Charles H. Gerhardt)
The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions at Pointe du Hoc (5th went to Omaha)
VII Corps (Major General J. Lawton Collins): consisting of 23 250 men landed at Utah Beach, among Pouppeville and La Madeleine (Nord).
4th Infantry Division (Major General Raymond O. Barton)
359è RCT of the 90th Infantry Division (Major General Manton S. Eddy)
101st Airborne Division (Major General Maxwell D. Taylor) who jumped on Vierville to support landing in Utah
82nd Airborne Division (Major General James Gavin) who jumped on Sainte-Mère-Église to protect the right flank.
In total, the First Army accounted for approximately 73,000 men, including 15,500 airborne divisions.
German Order of Battle
The number of soldiers available to Nazi Germany reached its peak in 1944. At the time D-Day, there were 157 German divisions in the Soviet Union, six in Finland, 12 in Norway, six in Denmark 9 in Germany, the Balkans 21, 26 in Italy and 59 in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. But these figures are not entirely true, because according to German records, personnel was around a lot of these divisions low 50% in spring 1944. On the other hand, thanks to bureaucratic complication instigated by Hitler’s Wehrmacht in order to strengthen their political control, it does not seem so unique Armed Forces power, but rather an alliance in which its members work together with rather less effectively than their enemies (Marshal von Rundstedt, although he was the commander of the forces from the west, then observe their only authority real was exercised on the sentinels that were in the gate of the headquarters).
On the other hand, in the spring of 1944 Allied naval supremacy was such that, except some submarines and torpedo attacks, Kriegsmarine did not play any role in the Battle of Normandy. The control of the whole aviation area of OB West fell about 3 Luftflotte Marshal Sperrle, which directly responded to the orders of Göring. In addition, the Luftwaffe exercised direct control over the entire anti-aircraft force, including guns of 88mm FlaK invaluable for the army for his dual role as antiaircraft and antitank weapons. Goering still controlled supplies and spare parts of all the forces of the Luftwaffe destined for France, including airborne divisions, divisions invasion anti-aircraft and field divisions of the Luftwaffe. In addition there were the Waffen-SS, Himmler particular the army, although nominally ground operations were subordinated to the Wehrmacht, had their own chain of command and supply .
Forces Commander of the West: Generalfelfmarschall Rundstedt
Commander of Army Group B: Erwin Rommel Generalfelfmarschall
Seventh Army: Generaloberst Friedrich Dollman
LXXXIV Corps: General der Artillerie Erich Marcks
243a Infantry Division (Generalleutnant Heinz Hellmich): protected the western zone of the Cotentin Peninsula.
352a Infantry Division (Generalmajor Dietrich Kraiss): it was one of the best divisions in the area trained and equipped to defend the area between Bayeux and Carentan (including the area of Omaha Beach). It was formed in November 1943 with the remains of the 321a Division, which had been destroyed in the Soviet Union.
709a Infantry Division (Generalleutnant Karl von schlieben): defending the eastern coast and northern peninsula of Cotentin, including the area of Utah Beach. This division included Germans who were not considered valid for active duty on the Eastern Front (usually for medical reasons) and soldiers of various nationalities (originating in the conquered countries, often recruited by force, or the former Soviet prisoners of war who preferred Germans fight against the harsh conditions of prison camps)
711a Infantry Division (Generalleutnant Josef Reichert): defending the west of the Country of Caux
716a Infantry Division (Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter): defended the eastern tip of the landing areas, including most of the British and Canadian beaches. Like 709a Division, was partially made up of units of former Soviet prisoners of war.
91st Division of the Luftwaffe (Generalmajor Wilhelm Falley): was an infantry division, trained and equipped to be moved by air. It was located in the interior of the Cotentin Peninsula, including American paratroopers jump areas.
21st Panzer Division (Generalmajor Edgar Feuchtinger): deployed to the outskirts of Caen as a mobile reserve Army Group B. However, Rommel Located so close to the coastal defenses, in case of invasion, several their artillery and infantry units would come under the command of the divisions of the strengths, thus reducing the effective strength of the division.
Coastal artillery units
30th Mobile Brigade (Oberstleutnant Freiherr von und zu Aufseß)
12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend (Foll Fritz Witt): designed around Dreux, between Caen and Paris, the first unit of the Waffen-SS came into action in Normandy.
The Atlantic Wall
Among the Allies and the Axis was the natural border of the English Channel, a passage during the story had avoided the attacks of the Spanish Armada and the Imperial Navy of Napoleon Bonaparte. To thwart the efforts of invasion, Hitler, through its Steering 51, ordered the construction of the Atlantic Wall. Believing that any attempt to disembark come with high tides, Rommel made the whole wall was fortified with turrets of tanks and barbed wire, and be seeded million mines to stop the landing craft (that made landing are scheduled at a time of low tides). The sector received the attack was protected with four divisions.
The armored reserves
Rommel’s defensive measures were also frustrated by a dispute over armored doctrine. Together the two army groups, von Rundstedt also commanded Panzer Group West General Leo von Geyr Schweppenburg (usually cited simply as von Geyr). This training was, nominally, the mobile armored force and von Rundstedt, but it should be called the 5th Panzer Army and moved to Normandy. Von Geyr and Rommel disagreed on the deployment and use of these vital panzer divisions.
Rommel was aware of what the Allies had total air superiority that could disrupt their movements. Therefore, proposed that the armored formations were deployed very close to areas of invasion. As I said, it was better to have a Panzer division facing the invaders on the first day rather than three panzer divisions three days later, when the Allies would have already established a landing zone. For its part, argued von Geyr common doctrine whereby Panzer formations should be concentrated in a central position around Paris and Rouen, and they were deployed en masse against the main Allied landing zone once it had been identified.
The discussion came to Hitler, because it was he who decides; but as usual, imposed a compromise that does not please anyone. Only ceded three panzer divisions to Rommel, too little to cover all sectors threatened. The rest (including the Panzer-I.SS Oberstgruppenführer “Sepp” Dietrich) von Geyr nominally under control would be called OKW Reserve, of which only three were deployed close enough to intervene immediately against any invasion of northern France, while the other four were dispersed by the South of France and the Netherlands. Moreover, Hitler reserved to himself the authority to move the reserve divisions of OKV, which would be fatal: June 6, several commanders of panzer troops could not move due to the fact that Hitler had not granted the permission and his staff did not want to wake him know the news of the invasion.
The plans of both sides
Because the Germans did not have a single supreme commander on the Western Front, also did not have a unified plan to repel the invaders. Adolf Hitler believed the Allies would attack the shortest route for the passage of Calais, taking advantage of the boom in late June or early July. As commander of Panzer Group West, General Leo von Geyr Schweppenburg wanted to keep its armored divisions on the inside in order to launch a counterattack on allies when they advance. Marshal von Rundstedt, as his top commander in the West, supported this strategy, aimed at maintaining a flexible defense. But this strategy was totally opposed to that defended the Commander of Army Group B, Marshal Rommel, who believed that the only way was to reject the German invasion from the same beaches and in the first 24 hours, then given total domination of the air by the Allies any sort of troop movement would be highly expensive and complicated.
“Believe me, Lang, the first twenty-four hours of the invasion will be decisive … From outcome depends the destiny of Germany by the Allies … I like Germany, will be the longest day
Marshal Rommel to his assistant, 22 April 1944»
The headquarters of COOSSAC, predecessor had SHEAF studying the issue since May 1943. The strategy recommended through the classic way of Calais, but exactly where was the Atlantic Wall defenses showed their greatest strength and where they were stationed up 17 divisions of Army XV; therefore, decided to attack Normandy, defended only 11 divisions belonging to the Seventh Army.
Any chance of success depended on being able to land enough men and supplies before the Germans could reinforce their front, and this depended not only an effective administration, but two other factors: the first consisted of a large plan disorientation scale (Operation Fortitude) to convince the German forces had SHAEF power than double what it was in truth; and the second factor was the total air superiority. In January 1944, Air Marshal Leigh-Mallory announced a plan to attack all the devices available French rail network: thus hinder the movement of German troops to the battle fronts and is forced to Luftflotte 3 to defend the railway lines, thus entering into a war of attrition that could not afford. Both the RAF Bomber Command and the US 8th Air Force were contrary to abandon the strategy of bombing of German cities, and it was not until April 15, when Eisenhower finally managed to control heavy bombers.
The battle plan was devised by General Montgomery, ending at a general meeting of SHEAF May 15: British and Canadian disembark in eastern Normandy beaches codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword in the Orne estuary, while the Americans would do in the West, Omaha and Utah beaches, located at the estuary of the river Vire, starting from there penetration: British pressures towards the Caen-Falaise plain, threatening to break the lines towards Paris via the most direct route with the Americans covering their flanks and rear. But this break would just be a ruse, because when the Germans had reinforced to prevent it, the Americans tomb westward to ensure the ports of Britain, which along with the Allies would give a powerful Cherbourg logistical base from where to launch the next stage. Then, the four Allied armies would go eastward progress on a broad front to prevent the Germans could launch attacks flanks.
Since a good start, both Montgomery and Eisenhower thought that the original assault plan was too weak Cossacks on too narrow a front. Therefore, rallied two divisions of infantry and airborne at 5 contained in the original plan, and the front extended from 56 to 80 km. But this expansion brought a new problem: there were not enough landing craft (it required 4,500 boats). Eisenhower furthered his army at the expense of the Italian campaign of General Alexander and delayed the invasion until June date to benefit from the production of transport landings a month.
The whole operation was based on a totally unpredictable element: time. Only a few days each month were apt for launching the invasion, and that was because it required a full moon and tides appropriate: the moon to illuminate the marks browsing the crews of aircraft and gliders and second to have a tide that helped to safe navigation on the defensive obstacles on beaches arranged by the Germans; Furthermore, landings that would take place during the day also needed a tide that had to be before it became dark. The Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower was elected on June 5 as the date for the assault. Most May had enjoyed a good time, but deteriorated in early June: June 4, the conditions were impossible to launch the assault, with winds of 50 km per hour and waves some more 2 meters it impossible to launch any kind of assault on the coast and low clouds that hid the objectives aircraft. The convoys of troops had to stay on the south coast of England to spend the night.
In those conditions it seemed entirely possible that everything had to be canceled and that the troops had returned to their camps because if the weather did not improve, you would give the combination of factor until July. Also present were many other considerations have: all the mechanism of the operation required long hours of daylight and good visibility to identify the beaches, naval and air forces to locate their targets and to reduce the risk collision when 5,000 boats began maneuvering almost the other side of the Bay of the Seine. In addition, it stated that the sea was calm, because a rough sea seasick troops would, disable them before they put their feet on the ground. In addition, it required a wind that blew down towards the ground, because the smoke vanished shelling on the beach. Finally, it required three days of good weather to allow rapid organization of men and supplies. Although the delay of the operation could lead to a new problem, because it seemed impossible that more than 200,000 men could remain closed on ships, boarding areas and airfields without being leaked secret; or the Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft locates fleet.
I am completely sure that we give the order … I do not like, but it is … I do not think you can do anything elseGeneral Eisenhower
At about 9 pm on June 5, was held a meeting between Eisenhower vital, heads and upper SHEAF their heads of staff. The head of meteorology Eisenhower, Captain JM Group Stagg reported that there would be a brief respite in time for the day 6. General Montgomery and Eisenhower Chief of Staff, General Smith, wanted to proceed with the invasion while Air Chief Marshal Tedder and Leigh-Mallory was reluctant and, lastly, Admiral Ramsay believed that conditions could be favorable. Finally, Eisenhower ordered the invasion comes.
“I am completely sure that we give the order … I do not like, but it is … I do not think you can do anything else”
For his part, Prime Minister Churchill, who had worked with his usual energy for Operation Overlord, even though he had tried to go on a battleship of the Royal Navy to witness operations, told the Woman: You realize that when you get up out of bed tomorrow may have killed 20,000 people?
Meanwhile, the Germans, seeing the poor weather conditions (which were worse in France than the channel) did not see it possible that the invasion would take place during the following days. The troops were not put on alert, and many high officials leave for weekend Marshal Rommel himself went to Ulm, Germany, to celebrate the birthday of his wife; besides the fact that dozens of division commanders, battalion and regiment marched to Reims to participate in a war games. The blunder came to the point where on Monday 5, while the invasion force began to clear the anchors, the General Staff of Rommel not informed of the existence of any sign of an imminent invasion, although he admitted that had not been done reconnaissance flights over any British port, except Dover; while aircraft and ships located in front of Cape Antifer began transmitting radar clutter and German ordained the 15th Army which was prepared to repel the enemy approached the Pas de Calais.
Coordination with the French Resistance
The various factions and circuits of the Résistance were included in the plan for Overlord. Through a headquarters based in London, which supposedly represented all groups of the Resistance, the Etat-major des Forces Françaises of Interieur (EMFFI), the British Special Operations Executive orchestrated a campaign of sabotage mass that would occupy several groups, with attacks on railway lines, ambushing roads or destroying telephone cables or electricity.
In addition to the tasks ordered the Résistance as part of the effort of the invasion, the Special Operations Executive planned to reinforce the Resistance with three links under Operation Jedburgh. These links coordinates and manages the releases of provisions Maquis groups in the German rear areas. Also operating behind German lines, often working closely with the Résistance (though not under the SOE), there were large groups of the Special Air Service Brigade, composed of units British, French and Belgians.
La Résistance was alerted to what had time to carry out all the missions entrusted by “personal messages” transmitted by the BBC French service for London. Of the hundreds of messages that were transmitted regularly, only some were really significant. The idea of using these messages as a way to alert the Resistance groups to take action dating back to 1942, and was a simple procedure: the network of designated Résistance received two key phrases. If the first one was transmitted on 1st or 15th of the month meant that the network had assigned to get in position for the next 15 days; the transmission of the second, meant that there would be an attack within the next 48 hours and that the network should accomplish the missions assigned above; and if the second sentence is not transmitted within 15 days, the alarm was suspended.
Among all the jumble of meaningless messages transmitted by the BBC at 21:00 CET on June 5 were transmitted absurd phrases like: The carottes sont cooked (carrots are cooked) longue mustache to John (John has a mustache long), tomorrow melaze deviendra brandy (cognac Tomorrow will molasses) or La Guerre n’aurà step lieu of Troie (The Trojan War will not take place). A few of these messages is often taken as a call general weapons for the Résistance. A few days before D-Day, aired the first verse of the poem by Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’Automne “The long sobs of December violons automne.” 5 night aired the second verse (“blesses mon coeur d’une langueur monotone”), which meant that the attack was imminent. Among other messages transmitted, two of them would give way to the attacks of the Resistance: Il fait chaud Suez (Suez is hot), which would lead to the “Green Plan”, the sabotage of the lines and rolling stock; The sont Jete and dice (dice have been thrown) that would lead to the “Red Plan” of the cut wires, electric and telephone wires.
The Allies did not announce their arrival by the BBCMarshal von Rundstedt
Marshal von Rundstedt saw it all as a ploy psychological, to strained nerves of the Germans wore soldiers with false alarms, so ordered his staff to forget messages, uttering a phrase that would happen to history: “The Allies did not announce their arrival by the BBC .” Josef Götz, head of the section of the German intelligence service signals (SD) in Paris, had discovered the meaning of the transmission of the second verse of Verlaine. For its part, the Oberstleutnant Hellmuth Meyer, the 15th Army intelligence officer and director of the counterespionage service of the invasion front, he heard the first verse the night of June 1, intercepted by Sergeant Walter REICHLING . So Meyer reported the head of the General Staff of the Fifteenth Army Majorgeneral Rudol Hofmann, who informed the OKW; Generaloberst Jodl but gave no warning order (assuming Rundstedt had already done, and that he believed that Rommel had done). The message is reissued 2 and 3 June.
The section of the second message Oberstleutnant Meyer intercepted and interpreted (correctly) that meant that the invasion was imminent or was already underway, but there had been a similar warning a month earlier when the Allies began preparations the end of the invasion and alerted the Résistance: SD had been a false alarm. Around a quarter of an eleven night, Meyer went to see General Hans von Salmuth, commander of the Fifteenth Army, who was playing bridge with his staff officers and ordered the 15th Army was put on alert to continue playing cards quietly. For his part, gave no warning to Seventh Army.
The naval activity
The invasion fleet was preparing to launch what Invasion was composed of eight different marine ships, vessels and 6939 included: 1,213 warships, 4,126 transport ships, auxiliary vessels and 864 746 merchant ships.
The supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Naval Force, which would grant protection and bomb the beaches, it was Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, who had been responsible for the invasion of North Africa in 1942 and a fleet of invasion Sicily next year. The Navy was divided into two fleets: Western (Rear Admiral Alan Kirk) and eastern (Admiral Sir Philip Vian, another veteran Italian landings).
Warships coverage offered by transports against the threat of German surface fleet, submarines and aerial attack, and supported the landings through a bombardment of the coast. Part of the naval operation was Operation Gambit when small British submarine guiding landing craft.
The naval display
A fundamental part of Neptune was the isolation of the invasion routes and beaches of any intervention by the Kriegsmarine. The responsibility fell on the shoulders of the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy. Basically the Germans could threaten two ways: through the surface fleet or through the U-boots. The attack of the surface fleet, made by large ships anchored in Scandinavia and the Baltic did not take place because, from mid-1944, the battleships were damaged cruisers were used for crew training and the allocation of fuel Kriegsmarine had been cut by one third. Inactivity was also the result of disillusionment towards Hitler’s Kriegsmarine. In any case, the Royal Navy had sufficient forces to reject any attempt, in addition to that the Kiel Canal had been undermined (Operation bluster) as a precaution.
The submarines that could threaten the invasion came from the Atlantic. Surveillance from the air was supplied by three aircraft carriers and escort by RAF Coastal Command, maintaining a cordon west of Land’s End. Moved some submarines in the area, and most of the groups were moved close escort landings.
They make greater efforts to seal the western approaches against German naval forces from Britain and the Bay of Biscay. Minefields were created (Operation Steel) to force the enemy ships to sail away from the air cover, which could be attacked by the allied flotillas of destroyers. Again, enemy activity was limited, but on July 4, four German destroyers were sunk or forced to retreat to Brest.
The Straits of Dover were closed by minefields, naval and aerial patrols, radars and bombing cash on delivery enemies. The German naval forces in the area were small but could be strengthened from the Baltic. Their efforts, however, were concentrated in the Pas de Calais protect against anticipated landing there, and was not any effort to force the lock.
The operation screen destroyed a German ship, but the main objective was to fulfill themselves. There was no attack submarines against Allied ships, and there were only a few attempts by surface ships.
Warships, ordinarily thrown bombardment supporting ground forces. During Neptune was given great importance, using all kinds of ships (from battleships to destroyers). For example, the Canadian Juno had several times more support than to attack Dieppe 1942: The old battleship HMS Warspite and Ramillies was used to remove the batteries to the east coast of the Orne; cruisers had attacked the aim of batteries at Ver-sur-Mer and Moulineaux; plus 11 destroyers to fire local support. In addition, the landing craft were modified 8 “Landing Craft Gun” armed with two 4.7 inch guns; 4 “Landing Craft Support” with a cannon; 8 Landing Craft Tank, each with a saving of 1,100 5-inch rockets; 8 “Landing Craft Assault” (hedgerows), armed with 24 BOME mines to detonate prematurely from the beach. 24 boats also had already fired shells Priests when they had not yet reached the beach. At the other beaches had similar deployment.
The fire was used to support the abolition of the defenses of the coast where it was produced and landings to break the concentrations of enemy troops as the troops advanced.
Immediately before the invasion, General Eisenhower sent a message, now historic:
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark on the great crusade to which we directed all our efforts for many months. The eyes of the world are fixed on you. The hopes, the prayers of all people who love freedom will accompany. With our brave allies and brothers in arms of our other fronts, destroying the German war machine, annihilate the yoke of tyranny that the Nazis exerted on the peoples of Europe and providing security to a world free. Your task will not be easy. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and is the combat veteran. Will fight savagely. But we are in 1944! Many things have changed since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41 years. The United Nations has caused great losses to the Germans in the fighting man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their ability to make war on the ground and in the air. Our war effort has given us a growing superiority in arms and ammunition, and we put at our disposal significant reserves of trained men. Fortune has turned the battle! The free men of the world marching together to victory! I have full confidence in your courage, your devotion to duty and your ability to fight. Only accept total victory! Good luck! Implore the blessing of the Almighty in this great and noble enterprise. Dwight D. Eisenhower
But there was a second message. After confirming the order of battle, Eisenhower returned alone in his trailer. In the pocket of the jacket carried a statement which should be transmitted to the world press if the invasion failed.
“The troops, aircraft and navy have done everything that was in their hands to fulfill their duty with courage and dedication. If there is someone who has responsibility for the failure is only me. “Dwight D. Eisenhower
What happened on D-Day
The success of amphibious landings depended on establishing a safe perimeter from which to expand to embark on the conquest of Normandy had landed a blow strong enough. The amphibious forces would be extremely vulnerable to counterattacks enemies before they could gather enough forces to launch the offensive. To slow down or eliminate the enemy’s ability to organize and launch counter-attacks during this critical period, from midnight to jump paratroops began to conquer key points such as bridges, road junctions and certain terrain at the eastern flank Western and landing areas.
The paratroopers were assaults occur at some distance behind the beaches to neutralize the German coastal batteries and quickly expanded the beachhead areas. The American 82nd and 101 were assigned targets in western Utah Beach to ensure the exit points from the beach, while the 6th British had objectives similar to the eastern flank, to conquer the pools and the river Orne Canal Caen. In addition, 500 Free French paratroopers, members of the Brigade of the British Special Air Service (SAS) had assigned targets in Britain from 6 June to August. On the night of June 5-6, 1087 requires aircraft C-47 Dakotas mainly Americans but also British Stirling Albermarles; and despite the huge Allied resources, there were not enough planes to carry three complete divisions. To perform the jumps, the pilots could not fly more than 190 km / h (although in many cases the pilots increase the speed to almost 250 km / h)
Despite forecasts of a high number of casualties (Leight Mallory calculated that American divisions could suffer up to 80% of losses) overnight aerial invasion had considerable success; But the night and the unfamiliar terrain made some soldiers take days to regroup. The experience caused such impression in their heads than other Allied airborne operations would be in daylight hours: Operation Overlord began with the first and last night airborne invasion in history.
British airborne operations
4 British explorers synchronized their watches before takeoff, around 23:00 5 June. Once ashore, they had to point out the landing site for the rest of the division. These four men, Lt. Bobby Latour, Deputy Don Welles, John Vischer and Deputy Lieutenant Bob Midwood possibly were the first Allied soldiers to arrive in Normandy.
4 British explorers synchronized their watches before takeoff, around 23:00 5 June. Once ashore, they had to point out the landing site for the rest of the division. These four men, Lt. Bobby Latour, Deputy Don Welles, John Vischer and Deputy Lieutenant Bob Midwood possibly were the first Allied soldiers to arrive in Normandy.
To the east of the landing area, the area open and plain (and flooded) between the rivers Orne and Dives was ideal because the Germans could throw armored counterattacks. But the landing area and flooded areas were separated by the River Orne, flowing northeast from Caen to the estuary of the Seine. The only point where it crossed the north of Caen was 7 km from the coast, between Bénouville and Ranville. For Germans, the trip offered the only route to carry out an attack from the flank to the beach from the east. For the Allies, this point was vital to launch an attack on Caen from the east.
The tactical objectives for the British Sixth Airborne Division were:
- Burn the bridges intact road Bénouville-Ranville
- Defend them against the inevitable German counterattacks armored
- Destroy the German artillery battery located in Merville that threaten operations Sword
- Destroy five bridges over the Dives to restrict the movement of infantry troops from the east
- To capture the bridges of Bénouville intact, Major-General Richard Gale sent a special item consisting of round about 150 men volunteers, under the command of Major John Howard, that landed at 00:15 6 gliders in silence and could reduce the garrison bridges. This went down in history as “Pegasus Bridge” being the first great success of D-Day.
The airborne troops, mostly paratroopers from the 3rd and 5th brigades, including the 1st Canadian Airborne Battalion (in total, about 4225 men) began landing at about 00:50, arriving mostly to their right place or in a radius of 6 km, having faced almost immediately with elements 716a of the German division. The 3rd Brigade jumped more separately than the 5th, but the men were able to meet in small groups and in the morning had already reached destroying five bridges over the Dives. The 9th Battalion had the mission to destroy the Merville battery, which succeeded after a hard battle; but with darkness, smoke and confusion of battle, the paratroops retreated without completely destroyed the guns, and the Germans reoccupy the position.
At dawn, the Battle Group von Luck of the 21st Panzer Division retaliated from the south on both banks of the River Orne, but since 3:30, the British had established a defensive perimeter around the bridges. Casualties were high on both sides, but the British were able to maintain position. Shortly after noon, the British Pegasus Bridge were reinforced by commandos of the 1st Special Service Brigade; and evening, the 6th Airborne had achieved all its objectives. Of the 6,256 men who had landed in Normandy, had 650 casualties.
American airborne operations
101A and 82nd Airborne divisions formed by 13,000 men, were less fortunate in quickly complete their goals. To achieve surprise, launches were planned in Normandy coming from the west. Numerous factors affect your performance, but first of all was the decision to launch a massive jump in the evening (a tactic not used again during the rest of the war). In addition, they add bad weather, low visibility, an intense anti-aircraft fire, and the fact that a large number of explorers had fallen too far from areas they had pointed out (only 38 of which fell 120 explorers launched planned to do so). You should also bear in mind the inexperience of the pilots of combat flight DC3 that because of the panic was disoriented, moving away from the predetermined route. As a result, 45% of the units remained fragmented and were unable to work. The efforts of the first wave of explorers to mark the landing areas not served much.
Between 00:48 and 01:40 took the three regiments of 101, followed by the 82nd leap, which took place between 01:51 and 02:42. Each of the operations involved about 400 C-47. In addition, gliders landed before dawn with guns and anti-tank troops refresh for each division. In the evening, the new gliders arrived with two battalions of artillery shells and 24 to 82a.
The 101 was launched on an area of 1,000 km², losing in one hour 60% of the equipment (many lost bags leg with most of the team just jump) and 2,000 men (many drowned in the flooded fields in order of Rommel); while the 82nd just got a plane to leave his troops where there had to leave. 101’s mission was to control the remaining five routes between the beach and within Utah, as Rommel had been flooded, leaving only five roads well defended by the Germans (if roads were not controlled, the men would be held in beach without being able to enter in Normandy).
The 82 jumped to 101 in the west, across the river Meredet near Ste Mère-Eglise, ensuring the city and the two banks of the river before moving westward. Thanks to its explorers, a battalion of the regiment 505è fell right where he had been assigned (or a 3 km radius); but the confusion in the jump was also widespread, and some 30 men fell right in the middle of Ste Mère-Eglise, and the city was conquered to 5 am). For its part, the side away from Meredet the defense of Cota-30 carried out by 300 men of the regiment 508è maintained a small but vital bridgehead.
After 24 hours, only 2,500 soldiers of the 101 and 2000 of the 82 were under the control of its divisions, roughly one-third of those who had jumped (in the 101, 3,500 men were given as missing in the evening, even finally settled a total of 182 dead, 537 wounded and 1,240 missing, while in 82 of the 6209 men who had jumped on the night of June 6 had 4,000 casualties, being in counts end 156 dead, 347 injured and 756 missing, presumed dead). Car all the great dispersion of American paratroopers had the effect of further confusing the Germans and fragmenting its response. In addition, floods German defense were exploited by the Americans to protect its southern flank.
The D day
The assault on Sword Beach, the most eastern of all, located between Ouistreham and La Brèche, began at about 3 am, with aerial bombardment of the German coastal defenses, as well as locations of artillery. The naval bombardment began hours later. At 07:30, the first units arrived on the beach. 40 DD Shermans were the 13th / 18th Hussars, followed closely by the 8th Infantry Brigade.
The first two infantry battalions that landed, they were virtually annihilated expected by German fire, they practically do not suffer any loss. The 1st Special Service Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Lord Lovat, arrived whole (including gaiter) in the second wave on the beach, accompanied by N.4 Command (which had French troops). While the fighting continued for the Brèche, Command 10 (Interaliat) commander Captain Philippe Kieffer, captured the heart of Ouistreham, while Lovat came to Pegasus Bridge with two minutes late on the anticipated schedule (before apologizing Major Howard for the delay). Around 10 am the Brèche fell.
Around seven in the evening, the 21st Panzer Division launched a counterattack from Caen directed towards the landing zone Sword, with a cargo of 50 tanks. This almost achieved its purpose of reaching the sea (at Lion-sur-Mer); but well built defensive line British support anti-tank fire halted the German advance (also a lucky coincidence in time, in those moments came gliders of the 6th Brigade on both sides of Pegasus Bridge).
On the beach Sword, the British infantry had very few losses (1,000 men), reaching 28 845 men disembarked, while the 21st Panzer had lost 54 tanks. The British had advanced only 8km evening, failing in achieving some of the deliberately ambitious objectives set by Montgomery, but his overall position was safe. In particular, it failed in the conquest of Caen, which had to be conquered the same D-Day, one of the key points of the plan Montgomery to enter the country through a fertile ground for tanks, and was not conquered until 8 August.
Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach faced 11 heavy batteries of 75mm to 155mm and 9, as well as machine gun nests and fortifications of all kinds, as well as a wall twice as high as that of Omaha Beach. The first wave suffered 50% casualties, the second highest of all the D-Day. The use of armored succeeded in Juno, in some cases moving ahead of the infantry.
Despite all the obstacles, landed before noon last brigade of the division and the Canadians managed to leave beaches in hours and began its advance by the continent. The 6th Armored regiment Canadian (1st Hussars) and The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada achieved its objectives in the program of the day when they cross the road to Caen-Bayeux (15 km inland). The Canadians were the only ones to achieve their goals, though several units retreated to safer positions. In particular, the radar station in Dover was still in German hands and was not able to connect with Sword, although during the afternoon achieved contacted the British Gold.
In the evening, had reached 21,400 Canadians landed (with a loss of 340 dead, 574 wounded and 47 captured) and the 3rd Canadian Infantry had penetrated more than any other Allied unit, although he had to face stiff resistance both in front of the coast and in subsequent counterattacks carried out by the 21th and 12th SS Panzer Divisions Hitlerjugend both 7 and 8 June
In Gold Beach, the losses were high, partly because the Sherman DD were delayed, and the Germans had fortified a village on the beach, with guns hidden exits to the beach that had gone unnoticed in air reconnaissance or could not be destroyed by naval bombardment. Car However, the 50th Northumbrian Division overcame these difficulties and move to stay just one kilometer Bayeux evening. Except for Canadian Juno Beach, no division came so close to their goal than the 50th. To the east, units 69a Brigade managed to connect with Canadians landed on Juno in the evening. When the beaches were cleaned and secured, began to disembark the 7th Armored Division (the famous “Desert Rats”)
The 47th Royal Marine Commando was the last unit of the British Commandos landed, making it east of Le Hamel. Its mission was to go to the west and 16 km advance through enemy territory to attack the harbor in Port Bessin from the rear. This small port located on the far right of the British positions was important because it would be the first port to unload the supplies to forward units. The commandos arrived at the port in the evening and captured the early hours of June 7.
Gold is the only Victoria Cross awarded around D-Day, Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis, the 6th Green Howards.
In the evening they had reached about 24 970 men landed on Gold Beach, with a low around 1,000 men between dead and wounded. Gold, which initially seemed to become a butcher as Omaha Beach, was ultimately little more than an exercise low as Utah Beach.
At Omaha Beach, units of the 1st and 29th infantry divisions were US universities have to face veteran 352a German Infantry Division, one of the best trained beaches. Allied intelligence failed to realize that the 716a Infantry relatively low quality, had been replaced by 352a in May. Omaha beach was also fortified with many mortars, machine guns and artillery, and naval and air attack proved ineffective prior to disembarkation. In addition, the Germans (in combat veterans) were to hold fire until the last moment, going unnoticed in the artillery and Allied remaining intact to get the landing. Everything pointed towards a possible disaster.
The first wave came at about 6:30, as in Utah. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landings to shift eastward, losing their assigned sectors, and the first wave of tanks, infantry and engineers suffered a number of casualties. Of the 16 tanks that landed on Omaha only two succeed. Several units of which landed in the first wave suffered up to 50% of casualties in a very short time, besides the fact that many commanders company and NCOs were killed and wounded (often by the decision placing officers in front of the landing craft, which caused them to be the first to fall when the ramps down)
Only achieved some holes to make obstacle to the beach, which caused problems for subsequent landings. At 7:30 in the second wave, come Regimental commanders, including deputy division commander, Brigadier General Norman Cota. The roads well defended, the only vehicles for trips to the beaches, they could not conquer, and two hours after the first wave beach was still closed. The various commanders (including the General Bradley, who watched the landing from Augusta) considered leaving the beach, but small infantry units, consisting of improvised way, managed to infiltrate the coastal defenses scaling penya- tops among strengths. The following infantry landings could exploit penetrations initial and end of day two had managed to establish beachheads isolated.
“Do not die on the beaches, on the cliff if you die you die. But touch the two beaches so but certainly die! »
– Brig.Gral. Cota
“In this beach there are two kinds of people: the dead and those who have died. Now here we go ‘”
– Colonel George Taylor, commander of the infantry regiment 116E
At the end of the day, the area was secured an area of 9 km deep and 30 long. American casualties at Omaha Beach amounted to a total of 3,000 men landed 34,000 men, mostly during the first hours, while the Germans had 1,200 casualties, including dead, wounded and missing. During the following days, Omaha Beach was expanded, and the D-Day objectives were accomplished up the D + 3. At times, the German commanders reported that they were stopping the invasion beaches, as Rommel wanted. Many landed believed that the operation had been a failure, and that would be evacuated the next day.
Pointe du Hoc
The location of artillery located at Pointe du Hoc was the target of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder. The mission consisted in the fact that three companies would have landed in the first wave of scaling a cliff 30 meters high, with ropes and ladders under enemy fire, to attack and destroy the German coastal defense guns, threatening the beaches of Omaha and Utah, while a quarter of the company captured the Pointe Percée, to cover the flank of Pointe de Hoc.
The Rangers climbed the cliffs under enemy fire in just 5 minutes, and the Germans left the position only get them Americans. To the surprise of those who had climbed, they found that the bunkers were empty (the Résistance was not able to convey the message to London that the guns had not yet been installed). Car However, since the fortifications were vital goals for themselves, as an observer could direct artillery fire carefully to the beaches Americans. The Rangers were successful and managed to capture the position, suffering 40 casualties, having fought for two days to make it completely, losing 95 men.
The losses to Utah Beach, the westernmost landing zone, were lower throughout the day, with 197 casualties 23,000 men had landed. The 4th Infantry Division found that it was an erroneous position, since the currents had pushed the boats to the south-east: instead landed sectors “Tare Green” and “Uncle Red,” they do so sector “Victor”, about 2 km away from where it was predicted and was barely defended. The first wave landed without novelty, followed by 32 DD tanks (which it lost 4). Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Assistant Division Commander, who, despite his arthritis, he had landed in the first wave, after discovering that they were in the wrong beach, proclaimed that “we start the war from here same “ordering Commodore James Arnold, top naval officer in Utah than other waves landed there. As expected following waves, the infantry was devoted to clean the beach obstacles, and when mid-morning came the division commander, Major General Raymond Barton, ordered to advance towards the interior of France
The 4th Division was able to enter the continent relatively easier than other beaches, with departures occupied by regiments 502 and 506 of the 101 Airborne. This was relatively accident since the invasion plans were disrupted just set foot on the beach. Early in the evening, the division paratroopers had linked the 101. While the main objectives of the day were not fulfilled (the 82nd Airborne was isolated in Ste Mère-Eglise), the landing was a success summary in which the losses were very light (landed 23 250 men, 1 742 vehicles and 1,695 tons of supplies, at a cost of 43 dead and 63 wounded, let alone during the last year in Slapton Sands ) and troops could enter the continent much faster than expected.
Although the events in Normandy rushed to Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s Alpine refuge are calm and everything went according to routine each morning. The Führer had spent a bad night, but in that time he slept through a sleeping pill. Meanwhile, the Reichskanzlet, Colonel General Jodl reviewed the reports of the night: the situation worsened in Italy (Rome had fallen the day before, and men Marshal Kesselring retreated to new defensive positions to the north); and the Eastern Front was expected at any moment the Soviet summer offensive. In those circumstances, the fact that the chief of staff von Rundstedt, Major General Günther Blumentritt asked panzer divisions seemed priority.
When the headquarters of OB West’s response came Jodl, this only caused astonishment and disbelief (as recalled Lieutenant General Bodo Zimmermann, von Rundstedt was encol·leritzat, and furious anger was incomprehensible to his words. The next move only could the von Rundstedt, then as Field Marshal had direct access to Hitler, but it was such contempt he felt for that corporal Bohemia refused to ask him any request. It was not until at 10 am when Major General Rudolf Schumndt he decided to wake Hitler to give him the news. The conference with the head of OKW, Marshal Keitel and Jodl was extremely agitated, but Hitler Switch opinion and departed minutes after the meeting started it knowing that it was not merely a distraction and that the main attack would be the Pas de Calais. Then, in a lunch offered to the general Dome Sztójay carelessly affirm that “now we where we destroy ” and finally, at about two in the afternoon, after lunch, authorized in von Rundstedt to take command of the Hitler Youth and the Panzer Lehr: therefore, when orders arrived in two divisions Armoured were four in the afternoon, and when von Rundstedt gave them the order to march, as they had only one hour of light. In Berchtesgaden, Hitler was safe; Goering gave battle won, Ribbentrop was on the side of Hitler and Goebbels skeptical.
On the other hand, no one thought to call Rommel. It was not until a quarter to eleven in the morning when the Major General Hans Speidel knocked at his home in Herrlingen. The only answer Rommel was “Me Stupid! Stupid me!”. At one point, started with his faithful assistant, Captain Hellmuth Lang trip back to Normandy. In the evening arrive at the castle of the Dukes of Rouchefoucauld.
At the end of the day
In the evening, the situation was so uncertain as at any other time of day. The Allies had managed to land 155,000 men, of whom 83,000 were British and Canadians and 72,000 Americans were, at a cost of 12,000 casualties, including dead and wounded. According to the most optimistic forecasts of Montgomery, at the end of the day- D should have formed a front of 96 km long, extending from Quineville to the west and east Cabourg and 16 deep, having conquered the cities of Caen and Bayeux, but operations instead had followed the course predicted Omaha was about to turn into a disaster, with a landing zone occupied by just over 3 km, and strengths of resistance behind the German lines advanced; while in Utah, the 4th Division had penetrated up to 10 kilometers, linking the 101. The American airborne units had been so scattered that their operations were very limited. For its part, the situation in the British zone was considerably better: the 6th Airborne had conquered the steps on the Orne and had assured the flanks; but meanwhile, the 3rd Infantry, to which he had been assigned to the conquest of Caen proved unable (later show that the division was very far from being able to achieve it). Finally, the Canadian Juno had cut the road between Caen and Bayeux, being the landing which was more successful.
On May 25, the last meeting before the invasion made King, Montgomery had warned that if the evening of D-Day the Allies had not won Caen, Bayeux and Carentan, the landing would be in a very delicate position. The reality was that it had not been not one of the objectives.
In the evening, Marshal von Rundstedt convened a meeting to discuss the situation. Despite the opinion of his Chief of Staff, General Blumentritt and headquarters of Hitler, that attack was only a distraction maneuver. Von Rundstedt, however, did not see it this way: Normandy invasion was ultimately and ordered the plan was put in place in case III, scheduled for a similar contingency, making withdrawing forces and by handing Pas de Calais the Normandy. Rommel, who arrived at about 10 pm in the castle of La Roche-Guyon, it was convinced that a new attack to reach Calais. Finally, in the meeting held by Hitler that night was the feeling of indifference, not authorizing the application of Case III A.
The Allies had managed to overcome the Atlantic Wall and landed everywhere, except in Omaha. The Germans had failed in his attempt to stop the landings: the 709 and 716 divisions had been virtually destroyed, and 352a and the 21st Panzer had been severely damaged. Although exact figures could not be established, the allies had lost 10,000 men for causes of all kinds, but never landing was transformed into the bloodbath it feared. D-Day was over, but began the Battle of Normandy.
War Memorials and Tourism
The beaches of Normandy are still cited maps with codenames invasion. There are many military cemeteries in the area. The Normandy American Cemetery contains many white crosses and Stars of David, commemorating the dead Americans, with their name, rank, unit, origin and date of death. There are 9387 soldiers, among whom there are 307 unknown third holders of the Medal of Honor.
Commonwealth graves in various locations, use white headstones engraved with the name of the person, his religious symbol and its flagship unit. There is also a Polish cemetery. The biggest of all is the cemetery German war cemetery in La Cambe, with granite tombstones.
The streets and squares of the area are also the names of the units that fought there, and the many plaques commemorating significant events. At significant points as Point du Hoc and Pegasus Bridge there are plaques, memorials or small museums, such as the Arromanches, dedicated mainly to Port Mulberry; or the bell tower of the church of Sainte-Mère-Église, a dummy paratrooper hangs in memory soldier John Steele, who was left hanging there for hours. In Juno Beach, the Canadian government built the Juno Beach Information Centre, commemorating one of the most significant events of the military history of Canada. In Caen there are a Peace Museum, dedicated to peace in general, rather than the battle itself.
D Day: what happened June 6 1944
The Normandy landings has been the subject of numerous films, television programs, songs, computer games and books. Among the films included:
The longest day (The Longest Day) (1962), a film based on the book by Cornelius Ryan, offered an overview of the landings, under many points of view, and full of stars of the time (including John Wayne, Richard Burton, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgens and Sal Mineo, all in small appearances).
Saving Private Ryan (1998), an Oscar-winning film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, and is particularly notable for the intensity of the initial half hour, which describes in Assat Omaha Beach with great cruelty.
Band of Brothers (2001), an American miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, based on the book by Stephen Ambrose that recreates the participation of a company of the 101st Airborne Division. The second episode (Day of Days (What happened on D Day / Great day)) refers entirely to the work done during the June 6, 1944, from the moment of the jump until the evening.