What was D-Day?

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billoneill's profile pic

billoneill | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

D-Day was used as an accronym for the start of a military operation. The phrase has been connected with the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, France, Operation Overlord. D-Day showed combined operations and cooperation of disparate military forces committed to the liberation of Europe from Nazi Occupation.

The number of things that could go wrong was finite and the top commanders wrestled with all aspects from the initial airborne attack--expected to kill one-in-seven of the men who jumped that night--to failure to gain a beachhead sufficiently deep to allow the follow-up forces to land unimpeded.

The weather proved the most serious threat to success. The gale in the Channel was unexpected and forced the recall of several convoys of landing craft to return to England. The decision to go with marginal conditions caught the majority of the German High Command off-guard.

The airborne drop were chaotic, but spread confusion as the misdropped paratroopers attacked enemy formations where they found them and spread enough confusion as to the scope of the attack to delay a counterattack by the German troops on the drop zones and beaches. The naval bombardment proved insufficient, and the planned airstrike failed due to bad weather and a late bomb drop resulting from fears that landing parties would receive the bombs instead of the enemy. The planned launch of the dual drive tanks, intended to support the infantry attack, failed as the majority of tanks destined for Fox Green and Easy Red Beaches sank under the pounding of the waves. The concentrated fire put down on Omaha, stalled the attack for several hours, and the planned boat lanes through the beach obstacles was poorly done so that the sailors and soldiers assigned the mission were killed or wounded in the effort. Landing craft commanders battered their way over the obstacles to land their troops and equipment to build the pressure that brought small groups of men to scale the bluffs between the German strongpoints and allowed the invasion to succeed.

D-Day has rightly been celebrated for the courage, devotion, and determination to succeed when all seemed lost.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

D-Day refers most often to the June 6, 1944 invasion of coastal France, formally known as Operation Overlord, and it was the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.  It remains, to this day, the largest seaborne invasion in the history of man, involving nearly 2 million soldiers (600,000 soldiers more than are now in America's entire armed forces).

The Germans defending the French coast had been preparing an Atlantic Wall of defenses for years, with tank traps, concrete bunkers, and presighted machine gun nests, meaning that any assault we made on D-Day would come at a heavy cost in wounded and killed, and despite days of preparatory bombing and shelling, that is exactly what happened.

The landings were successful however and within 11 months, Germany had surrendered and Hitler had committed suicide.

tomsmith2010's profile pic

tomsmith2010 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

D-Day, June 6, 1944. D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated.

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