D-Day The Invasion of Normandy.

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D-Day The Invasion of Normandy

When on D-Day-June 6, 1944-Allied armies landed in Normandy on

the northwestern coast of France, possibly the one most critical event

of World War II unfolded; for upon the outcome of the invasion hung

the fate of Europe. If the invasion failed, the United States might

turn its full attention to the enemy in the Pacific-Japan-leaving

Britain alone, with most of its resources spent in mounting the

invasion. That would enable Nazi Germany to muster all its strength

against the Soviet Union. By the time American forces returned to

Europe-if indeed, they ever returned-Germany might be master of the

entire continent.

Although fewer Allied ground troops went ashore on D-Day than

on the first day of the earlier invasion of Sicily, the invasion of

Normandy was in total history's greatest amphibious operation,

involving on the first day 5,000 ships, the largest armada ever

assembled; 11,000 aircraft (following months of preliminary

bombardment); and approximately 154,000 British, Canadian and

American soldiers, including 23,000 arriving by parachute and glider.

The invasion also involved a long-range deception plan on a scale the

world had never before seen and the clandestine operations of tens of

thousands of Allied resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied countries of

western Europe.

American General Dwight D. Eisenhower was named supreme

commander for the allies in Europe. British General, Sir Frederick

Morgan, established a combined American-British headquarters known as

COSSAC, for Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander. COSSAC

developed a number of plans for the Allies, most notable was that of

Operation Overlord, a full scale invasion of France across the English


Eisenhower felt that COSSAC's plan was a sound operation.

After reviewing the disastrous hit-and-run raid in 1942 in Dieppe,

planners decided that the strength of German defenses required not a

number of...