The Invasion of Normandy
The following report will be on the training and planning that led up to D-Day, D-Day itself, and the subsequent events. This battle is of particular significance as it marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.
The planning behind D-Day
The Day of Days
Due to foul weather D-Day was delayed from it’s planned date in May, all the way to June 6. When all were accounted for, there were 5,000 ships, 11,000 planes, and 150,000 men were used for the landings. It remains to this day the largest seaborne invasion of all time. Shortly after midnight on June 6th, 1944, over 24,000 British, American, and Canadian Paratroopers dropped from the sky over Normandy. The Brits and Canadian found more success than their American counterparts, their most famous victory being Pegasus Bridge. The Americans were completely scattered due to weather and failed to capture most of their objectives, but caused mass confusion in the German ranks. Finally at 6:30a.m., after a massive air and naval bombardment, the first landing ships started out from their ships. At Omaha the fighting was fiercest, the high cliffs and raking machine guns from the Germans caused much death and destruction for the allied troops. 2000 soldiers died at Omaha beach alone, accounting for more than half of the Allied death toll on D-Day. The other landings went relatively smooth and by the end of the “Day of Days” the Allied force had a substantial beachhead from which they could conduct further operations. But their greatest challenge was yet to come…
Soon after the landings the Allied forces faced a huge problem. They were stuck on the beaches with massive amounts of supplies and men with no space left. So the allied High Command realized it had to start its offensive in order to stop the congestion. Soon after the troops were engaged in a sluggish war among a new novelty, hedgerows. Hedgerows were large mounds of dirt topped with thick hedges. These fences were used to mark boundaries and contain cattle. Stephen Ambrose says in Citizen Soldiers, “No terrain in the world was better suited for defensive action with the weapons of the fourth decade of the twentieth century than the Norman hedgerows. ” The German defenders could just retreat to hedgerow after hedgerow, slowing down the Allies and causing lots of casualties because the only way to advance is through the open fields in between each impenetrable wall. Also the soldiers had received zero training on these brutal form of fighting, so they had to develop their own. But the street fighting that took place was also extremely deadly. So these poor soldiers had to slug it out with their German counterparts. As the Germans continued to sustain casualties, their defense began to crumble, and the hedgerows gave way to open fields, so soon the Allied coalition was on the fast track to Paris and Berlin.
The magnitude of this invasion is hard to grasp. The magnitude of its importance is harder still. Without the sacrifices of the brave young soldiers on that misty day, who knows how long “Fortress Europe” would have lasted. These young boys should be remembered for generations to come for the bravery, honour, and sacrifice.
Saving Privat Ryan Beach Scene
"D-DAY: JUNE 6, 1944:." The National WWII Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
"D-Day Overview." National D-Day Memorial. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.
"Hedgerows." Hedgerows. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
"The Planning of "Operation Overlord"" The Planning of "Operation Overlord" N.p.n.d Web. 17 Mar. 2015.