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Normandy landings

World War II landing operation in Europe / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Normandy landings were the landing operations and associated airborne operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it is the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of France, and the rest of Western Europe, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Normandy landings
Part of Operation Overlord and the Western Front of World War II
Into the Jaws of Death: Men of the 16th Infantry Regiment, US 1st Infantry Division wading ashore on Omaha Beach on the morning of 6 June 1944
Date6 June 1944
Location49.34°N 0.60°W / 49.34; -0.60
Result Allied victory[1]
Five Allied beachheads established in Normandy
Flag_of_Germany_%281935%E2%80%931945%29.svg Germany[9]
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
United States First Army

Omaha Beach:

V Corps

Utah Beach:

VII Corps
United Kingdom Second Army

Gold Beach:

XXX Corps

Juno Beach

I Corps

Sword Beach:

I Corps
Nazi Germany 5th Panzer Army

South of Caen:

Nazi Germany 7th Army

Omaha Beach:

Utah Beach:

Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches:

156,000 soldiers[lower-alpha 1]
195,700 naval personnel[11]
170 coastal artillery guns (includes guns from 100mm to 210mm, as well as 320mm rocket launchers)[13]
Casualties and losses
10,000+ casualties; 4,414 confirmed dead[lower-alpha 2]
185 M4 Sherman tanks[15]
4,000–9,000 killed, wounded, missing or captured[16]

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was not ideal, and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and time of day, that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower in command of Allied forces.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialised tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, Saint-Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

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