On June 6, 1944, Allied soldiers bravely stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. The Normandy beaches were chosen because of the range of air cover, and it was shortest distance from Great Britain. 5 landing beaches were selected for the assault: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. As dawn broke, the largest armada ever assembled began its assault on the beaches of Normandy. By the end of the day, the Atlantic Wall, (which took the Germans years to build), had fallen and the invasion was a success.
D-Day will be commemorated on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
What Does D-Day Mean?
There is no general consensus on how D-Day was coined. Many believe it simply means Day. During WWII allied forces used the terms D-Day and H-Hour for the day and hour on which a combat attack or operation was initiated. The letters are derived from the words, “D” for the day of the invasion and “H” for the hour the operation was to begin. However, the French maintain it stood for “disembarkation” while others say “debarkation”. So like many questions in history there is no clear answer.
- 150,000 Allied soldiers land on the shores of Normandy.
- 5,000 vessels with 30,000 vehicles crossed the English Channel to France.
- 13,000 men parachuted into France.
- 11,000 planes were involved
- More than 300 planes dropped bombs.
- 9,000 allied soldiers were dead or wounded after the first day.
- The beaches were approximately 200 yards before any natural protection.
Museums, Memorials & Resources
- The National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, VA
- The National WWII Museum, New Orleans
- Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, Normandy American Cemetery sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux in Colleville-sur-Mer, 170 miles west of Paris.
D-Day Military Resources
- U.S. Army Center of Military History
- U.S Army D-Day Feature
- U.S. Navy History of Normandy
- D-Day through the eyes of a Coast Guardsman
General Eisnhower’s Speech Prior to the D-Day Invasion
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a 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. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower