The plans to invade Nazi-occupied Europe through the beachheads of France sat in front of General Eisenhower. On the evening of June 5, 1944. On the morning of June 6, 1944, Eisenhower released the following order, alerting the Allied armies of the green light for war:

“Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

Months of Planning

D-Day to this date is still the largest invasion operation to this date. It took months of planning to complete such an operation. The Royal Air Force used planes mounted with two cameras to take pictures of the beaches of occupied Europe. Each camera took 500 pictures a peace giving a total of 1000 pictures of intelligence. The United States came up with a method to view the pictures in a 3D way giving a huge advantage by knowing what, and where everything is. Knowing where everything is made it to where the Allies would know the best possible beaches to invade. After months of planning the mission was given a date to make everything happen; June 5th would be the day. British and Canadian forces would invade beaches code names Sword, Gold, and Juno. As for the U.S. forces they would invade beaches code named Utah. The night before the invasion a squadron of paratroopers would land behind enemy lines to take control of bridges and roads to halt any Nazi reinforcements. Glider troopers would also land behind enemy lines to destroy German guns that could possibly destroy ships 12 miles off the coast.

Ghost Army

The Allies came up with a massive deception plan to fool Hitler on where the real invasion would be. Ghost solders were sought for their acting skills. They were selected for their creativity. They were soldiers whose most effective weapon was artistry. Bill Blass was one of them. So was Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, and Art Kane. Before these men embarked on the artistic careers they would become known for, they served together during World War II. Blass and his cohort were members of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, an elite force whose specialty was "tactical deception." They're now better known, though, as the "Ghost Army" a troop of soldiers that doubled, in Europe's theater, as a troupe of actors. (The unit was the brain child, one report has it, of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) The 23rd were, essentially, the Trojan Horse builders of World War II. What these men did was create the form of inflatable tanks, and rubber airplanes, elaborate costumes, radio codes, and speakers that blared pre-recorded soundtracks into the forests of France. In doing so Hitler thought that the invasion was going to b e in another place making him focus on the Ghost army and not knowing about the real truth.

Unexpected Events

A few days before the invasion intelligence planes came back with shocking pictures. Along the beaches were anti tank defenses and tank mines. in the open fields where the gliders were expected to land were covered with sharp sticks tied to bombs, making it impossible to land. With these pictures the Allies thought that Hitler found about about their invasion plan. However the Allies still decided to go ahead with the invasion plan. Do to bad weather the invasion had to be held off tell the next day, June 6th.

The Landing

More than 5000 ships and landing craft carrying supplies and troops left England for the trip across the channel to France. More than 11000 air craft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. British and Canadian forces faced light opposition forces to capture their designated beaches. On the other hand American forces faced heavy resistance; Americans lost over 2000 men on D-Day. by the end of the day 156,000 troops successfully stormed the beaches and less than a week later (June 11th) the beaches were fully secured. Over 362,000 troops, more than 50,000 vehicles, and some 100,000 tons of equipment had landed on Normandy.

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