D-Day: Facts About the Normandy Landings of WW2

Here are some facts about D-Day, the first day of the invasion of Normandy by Allied troops during World War 2.

  • The Allied invasion of north-west Europe was codenamed Operation Overlord. The landing operations were codenamed Operation Neptune and the actual day of the landings was referred to as D-Day.

  • In preparing for the assault, the actual day of the landings was not known in advance because it depended on the weather conditions.
  • Over 150,000 Allied troops were involved. They came from the United States, the UK, France, Norway and Canada.
  • The landing operation had two parts to it. First, more than 20,000 Allied troops would be parachuted into Normandy, then an amphibious landing would take place.
  • About 5000 ships and more then 10,000 planes were used.
  • Surprise was key to the success of the attack. The weather helped to conceal the assault, as did decoy missions called Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to make the Germans believe that the landing was going to take place on a different stretch of coastline.
  • Operation Neptune began on 6th June 1944 (D-Day). It ended on 30th June 1944. It was a success and the Allied forces to take control of five key beachheads, allowing a massive invasion force (300,000+ troops) to be landed. Paris was liberated from Nazi control on August 25 1944.
  • There were 5 key beaches along a 50 mile stretch of Normnady’s coastline. The Allies gave these code names: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The fighting was fiercest on Omaha beach and many troops lost their lives trying to secure that stretch of coast.
  • The Omaha beach landings are featured in the film Saving Private Ryan.


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