Normandy Invasion (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Ground campaign in World War II. Result: Allied defeat of German forces.
In 1943, the Allies began preparations for Operation Overlord, a large-scale invasion of Northwestern Europe. Normandy was selected as the invasion site because it was within range of Allied aircraft based in Britain and possessed the port of Cherbourg, through which the Allies could bring in reinforcements and supplies. By May, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower had 2,876,000 Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen under his command. The Allies had about 11,000 aircraft and 7,000 naval and transport vessels. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of German forces in Northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, expected an invasion at Calais but, in early 1944, had his more than 500,000 troops work to strengthen coastal defenses along the entire English Channel.
Overlord began in the early hours of D day, June 6, 1944, when U.S. and British airborne troops landed in Normandy and secured the flanks of the invasion front. Following a massive naval bombardment, assault troops began landing on the beaches at about 6:30 a.m. At the westernmost beach (called Utah by the Allies), U.S. troops met only light resistance and quickly began to move inland, but at the key central beach (Omaha), Americans encountered strong defenses and suffered heavy casualties. However, due to the heroic leadership of individual officers and effective...
(The entire section is 711 words.)
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