What is D-Day
What is D-Day?
D-Day refers to the day that the Allied forces invaded
Normandy, France in an effort to liberate Western Europe from the grip of Nazi
Germany. The goal of D-Day was to establish a beachhead from which the Allied
forces could land troops and start to fight the German army.
When was D-Day?
D-Day took place on June 6th, 1944.
What Led Up to D-Day?
Nazi Germany, under the leadership of fascist dictator,
Adolf Hitler, invaded France on May 10th, 1940. The Germans defeated
the French army and took control of France. The Germans also defeated the
British Expeditionary Force of several hundred thousand British soldiers that
had been sent to France to support the French army.
Following Germany’s conquering of France, the Germans built
up defenses on the Atlantic coast of France. These defenses consisted of land
mines, obstacles, bunkers, and more. Collectively, these defenses were called
“The Atlantic Wall” and they were overseen by the famous German General, Erwin
As the war went on, the Allies realized that if they were
going to win the war, they would have to invade France and break through the
Atlantic Wall. So, they chose to invade Normandy, a coastal town in France in
the spring of 1944.
Who Fought on D-Day?
The Allied forces who fought on D-Day were primarily made up
of U.S., British, and Canadian armed forces. However, forces from other
countries such as Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Holland, France, Greece,
New Zealand, Norway, Rhodesia, and Poland all also fought for the Allies on
D-Day. The Axis troops were primarily made up of German fighters.
What Happened on D-Day?
The Allied forces attacked five beaches in France that were
heavily defended by the German army. These beaches were given codes names:
Juno, Sword, Gold, Utah, and Omaha. Troops from the U.S. armed forces attacked
Utah and Omaha beaches, Troops from the Canadian armed forces attacked Juno
beach, and troops from the British armed forces attacked the Gold and Sword
Simultaneously, allied airborne divisions made up of
paratroopers were dropped inland. These troopers had the goal of capturing key
bridges and taking out various German guns. Before the invasion began, the
Allies also bombed the beaches both with battleships and with planes. Many of
the bombs missed their targets on Omaha beach due to cloudy weather.
However, despite the bombs missing, all five beaches were
eventually taken by the Allied force despite fierce resistance from the
Germans. The Allies had to send men in small ships to the beaches in order to
invade and they were under fire the entire time from the Germans. Thousands of
men died, but the assault proved to be a success.
How Many Casualties Were There on D-Day?
The exact number of casualties is unknown. However, it is
estimated that the Allied forces suffered around 10,000-12,000 casualties on
D-Day and that the Germans had around 5,000-7,000 casualties.
What Were the Consequences of D-Day?
The most important consequences of D-Day were that the
Atlantic Wall was penetrated and the allies gained a foothold in mainland
Europe that they could use to start pushing the Germans back to Germany. The
Battle of Normandy lasted all the way until June 30th, 1944. It would
be one of the biggest battles of World War II in addition to the Battle of the
Bulge, Stalingrad, and several others.