By: Jamie Riedle and Taylor Bartolozzi
101st Airborne Division
Tuesday, June 6th 1944 at 6:30am
- Westernmost of the D-Day beaches
- By noon, General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his men had linked up with some of the paratroopers, and by the end of the day, they had advanced four miles inland, suffering relatively few casualties along the way.
- Surrounded by steep cliffs and heavily defended.
- Bloodiest of the D-Day beaches with 2,400 US troops either dead, missing, or wounded.
- Many problems presented themselves during the battle, but by the end of the night, the Americans had carved a tenuous toehold about 1.5 miles deep.
- British troops stormed Gold, the middle of the five D-Day beaches.
- Within a hour the British had secured a few beach exits, and from that point, the pushed further inland.
- Allied landing craft went through rough seas, offshore shoals, and enemy mines.
- The Canadians advanced further inland than the American or British counterparts. They didn't meet their objective, but they were able to capture several towns and linked up with the British on the adjacent Gold Beach.
- British airborne troops dropped behind enemy lines to secure the invasions eastern flank, like the Americans were doing near Utah.
- In the late afternoon, German forces tried retaliating, only to be turned back the way they came.
- The Allies weren't able to unite all the five D-Day beaches until June 12th.
Utah Beach was the first of the two landings for United States Troops designated on June 6th 1944. It was the furthest west of the five beaches, located at the base of the Cotentin Peninsula, it was added by General Dwight Eisenhower to the original D-Day plan to ensure the early capture of the vital port of Cherbourg, at the north of the peninsula. It is only about three miles wide, much of it being made up of sandy dunes. On D'Day, the paratroopers were dropped at 1:30 at night here.
Omaha Beach was another US landing. It was also the most intensely fought on beach during D-Day. It was 6 miles wide making it the largest of the 5 beaches. The whole beach was overlooked by cliffs which made attacking the area very difficult. The Americans were given the task of doing just this. The Germans had built formidable defences around Omaha. This beach saw the casualties of 2,400 american troops, making the attack one of the most rememberable.
Casualties of D-Day
Most of the troops that landed on the D-Day beaches were from the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S.. Some other countries participated as well: Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland.
- 156,00 troops in Normandy.
- 73,000 American troops on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach and 15,500 airborne troops.
- British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops landed, 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.
- On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties, and 127 were lost.
- In the airborne landings on both flanks on the beaches, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF were used on D-Day.
Allied and German Casualties:
- Allied casulaties were estimated at 10,000, including 2,500 dead.
- According to the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation there were a total of 4,413 dead in Operation Overlord. 2,499 were American, and 1,914 were from other Allied nations.
- Utah Beach- 589
- Omaha Beach- 3,683
- Gold Beach- 1,023
- Juno Beach- 1,242
- Sword Beach- 1,304
Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. Over 209,000 Allied casualties, nearly 37,000 dead among the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths among the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from the 21st Army Groups, 125,847 from the US ground forces. Roughly 200,00 German troops were killed or wounded.
Today, twenty-seven was cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9,386 American, 17,769 British, 5,002 Canadian and 650 Poles.
Voices of D-Day
Allen W. Stephens
When they got there, their targets were coastal guns and blockhouses along the beach. They were one of the first group of aircraft to actually hit the invasion target. They also saw invasion vessels below them as they move toward the beach. Stephens had a feeling that he was sitting on the greatest show ever staged, one that would make history, and as they got closer, that feeling got stronger.
As the moved toward the coast of France they saw hundreds and hundreds of ships below them. They had to go through the heaviest concentration on antiaircraft fire he had ever saw. There were many explosions around him, the air was literally filled with barrage and flak explosions made the air alive with fire. The Landing craft was moving up as we turned off the target area after dropping our bombs. Every move was timed to the split second, our bombs went away at 6:30 a.m. at the precise time they were supposed to.