74 years ago, thousands of troops carried out the largest amphibious assault known to man. Operation Overlord, otherwise known as D-Day, was a massive coordinated effort carried out by Allied forces in WWII, on this day in history: June 6, 1944.
Around 160,000 men from an assortment of countries landed on stretches of beach and rocky coasts across the English Channel in Northern France. Some stormed beaches under relentless machine gun fire, some climbed cliffs under gunfire, and some jumped out of airplanes at low altitudes under the cover of darkness. American, British and Canadian forces were involved, supplemented by French Resistance actions deeper in the country. Other Allied nations involved were Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland.
Everyone played a crucial role in securing victory, and it came at a steep price. In the single day, 4,414 allied soldiers had been killed, and another 10,000 were wounded, depending on which estimates you are reading.
The Germans suffered somewhere between 4,000 and 9,000 casualties, and losing this would cost them the entirety of Northern France by the end of August. The successful invasion gave the Allies a significant foothold in Europe, and some would describe it as the beginning of the end for the Nazi Reich.
An extra fact: The term “D-Day” is now widely recognized to mean the Allied invasion into Normandy, but it wasn’t always known as such. “D-Day” used to be a term much like “H-Hour” — when an operation is planned, but the specific dates are not yet known, they would use “D” and “H” as placeholders. They planned to conduct Operation Overlord on “D-Day,” beginning at “H-Hour.” However, the name stuck after the invasion, and is generally used as a historical term now instead of a military one.
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