Exactly 70 years ago today, the largest amphibious invasion in history took place. On June 6, 1944, American, British and Canadian troops “stormed the beaches” of Nazi-held Normandy, France. The landing has become one of the most infamous feats in military history and is known as D-Day.
The term D-Day was originally part of a military phrase that designated the “H-Hour and D-Day” that a military operation was to be carried out. Originally, D-Day was planned for June 5, 1944 by Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Dwight D. Eisenhower. But the night of June 4th, high winds, thick fog and heavy seas along the channel coast made planners deem the 5th as undesirable for the success of the operation. Allied leadership changed D-Day to June 6th.
The D-Day of June 6, 1944 saw 5,000 assault and landing craft and 289 escort ships and 277 minesweepers converge on the Atlantic coast of France.
The 156,000 Allied personnel carried out a risky, but necessary operation against more than 50,000 German soldiers. Though the Allied forces outnumbered the Germans 3-1, the Germans had better positioning and more experience in battle.
The Allies lost 4,414 American, British and Canadian troops that day, with total casualties topping 12,000. By comparison, the Germans lost around 1,000 men with up to 8,000 more wounded or captured. Sheer numbers and the will to overcome allowed the Allies to succeed at Normandy and gain a foothold to reclaim Europe.
The success at Normandy made it possible for 875,000 Allied troops to enter the European Theatre of WWII through the territory secured by the D-Day invasion. Success on that day, and the immediate days that followed, were vital to the eventual Allied victory in Europe.
Military Connection salutes all Veterans every day. But today, June 6, 2014, we encourage everyone around the world to remember, honor and show gratitude for the men who died and the men who triumphed exactly 70 years ago today.
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