D-Day, June 6, 1944, marked the beginning of Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in history, as Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. This pivotal event initiated the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation, significantly altering the course of World War II.

<h2>Preparations for Operation Overlord</h2>
01 June 1944

Preparations for Operation Overlord

The planning for D-Day was meticulous and extensive, involving the coordination of land, sea, and air forces from multiple Allied nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and several others. The objective was to establish a secure foothold in Normandy and begin the push towards Germany, ultimately leading to the downfall of the Third Reich.

The invasion involved over 156,000 Allied troops, nearly 7,000 naval vessels, and approximately 11,000 aircraft. The operation began with airborne drops of paratroopers behind enemy lines, followed by a pre-dawn naval bombardment, and culminating in the landing of infantry and armored divisions on five designated beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

<h2>Distractions by the Allies keep the Germans guessing</h2>
02 June 1944

Distractions by the Allies keep the Germans guessing

In preparation for D-Day, the Allies executed a series of elaborate deceptions known as Operation Bodyguard to mislead the Germans about the invasion's location and timing. Key efforts included Operation Fortitude, which aimed to convince the Germans that the main invasion would occur at Pas de Calais and Norway. This involved creating fictitious armies, like the phantom First U.S. Army Group under General Patton, complete with dummy equipment and fake radio traffic and using double agents to spread false information.

Additional measures included Operations Glimmer and Taxable, which created the illusion of approaching fleets at other locations using radar-reflecting balloons and electronic jamming. These deceptions successfully led the Germans to disperse their forces and delayed their response to the actual Normandy landings, significantly aiding the success of Operation Overlord.

<h2>Operation Overlord Postponed Due To Bad Weather</h2>
05 June 1944

Operation Overlord Postponed Due To Bad Weather

Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, was originally planned for June 5, 1944, but was postponed by 24 hours due to adverse weather conditions. High winds, rough seas, and low visibility would have made the amphibious landings dangerous and ineffective, hindered the pre-invasion aerial and naval bombardments, and compromised the accuracy of airborne operations. The operation required specific tidal and moonlight conditions for optimal success, which were not met on the initial date.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, made the critical decision to delay the invasion after consulting with meteorologists who predicted a brief improvement in the weather on June 6. This brief window of more favorable conditions allowed the operation to proceed with a better chance of success, ensuring that the Allies could carry out their plans more effectively and with reduced risk to the troops involved.

<h2>D-Day: Overnight (12:00am - 5:00am)</h2>
06 June 1944

D-Day: Overnight (12:00am - 5:00am)

Between midnight and 5:00 AM on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the initial phase of Operation Overlord commenced with Allied airborne operations. Paratroopers from the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, along with the British 6th Airborne Division, were dropped behind enemy lines in Normandy. Their mission was to secure key bridges, roadways, and strategic points to disrupt German defenses and facilitate the amphibious landings. The drops faced significant challenges, including scattered landings due to poor weather and heavy German anti-aircraft fire. Despite these difficulties, notable successes included the British 6th Airborne Division capturing the crucial Pegasus Bridge.

Simultaneously, preparations for the seaborne invasion were underway. At around 4:00 AM, Allied naval forces began a massive bombardment of German defenses along the Normandy coast. This bombardment aimed to weaken fortifications and clear obstacles on the beaches. Bombing runs by Allied aircraft complemented the naval barrage, targeting key German positions. These early morning hours set the stage for the main landings, as paratroopers engaged in fierce fighting to achieve their objectives, and naval and air bombardments aimed to soften up the coastal defenses for the imminent arrival of infantry and armored divisions.

<h2>D-Day: Early morning (5:00am - 8:00am)</h2>
06 June 1944

D-Day: Early morning (5:00am - 8:00am)

On the early morning of June 6, 1944, D-Day commenced with a massive Allied naval bombardment of German coastal defenses starting at 5:00 AM. This bombardment aimed to weaken the fortifications along the Normandy coast in preparation for the amphibious landings. By 5:30 AM, British minesweepers began clearing channels for the landing craft, ensuring safer passage for the incoming invasion force.

At 6:30 AM, American forces began landing at Utah and Omaha beaches. The landing at Utah Beach proceeded relatively smoothly with lighter resistance, allowing the troops to advance inland. However, the situation at Omaha Beach was starkly different, as American forces encountered intense German resistance, leading to significant casualties.


Meanwhile, at 7:00 AM, British naval forces bombarded German defenses at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. At 7:25 AM, British and Free French forces landed at Sword Beach, facing lighter resistance compared to Omaha. By 7:30 AM, the first wave of British infantry began landing at Gold Beach, followed closely by additional British forces at 7:35 AM. Canadian forces landed at Juno Beach at 7:45 AM, and by 7:55 AM, both Canadian and British troops were coming ashore at Juno, encountering varied levels of resistance as they moved inland.

<h2>D-Day: Late Morning (8:00am - 12:00pm)</h2>
06 June 1944

D-Day: Late Morning (8:00am - 12:00pm)

On the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion forces made significant advances despite facing formidable German defenses. By 8:05 AM, British tanks had landed at Gold and Sword beaches, bolstering the infantry forces already engaged in combat. At 8:30 AM, British paratroopers successfully assaulted and captured Brecourt Manor, a heavily fortified German artillery battery, further weakening enemy defenses. By 9:00 AM, the Allies secured Pegasus Bridge over the Orne River canal, a critical objective for facilitating troop movements.

At 9:30 AM, US Rangers began scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to destroy German artillery, a daring operation that faced intense resistance. By 10:00 AM, British forces secured the town of Ouistreham at Sword Beach, consolidating their beachhead. At 11:00 AM, US forces at Omaha Beach finally managed to break out from the heavily contested beach, marking a turning point in the battle.

By noon, the 101st Airborne had secured four exit routes at Utah Beach, the 8th Infantry reached Poupeville, and Dog Company of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment reached Angoville. Around the same time, the last German defenders at Pointe du Hoc surrendered to the US Rangers. British commandos linked up with the 6th Airborne Division at Pegasus Bridge at 12:02 PM. By 12:14 PM, American forces reached the village of Colleville-sur-Mer at Omaha Beach, and at 12:23 PM, the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st US Division climbed the cliffs at Omaha Beach, solidifying their gains and pushing further inland.

<h2>D-Day: Afternoon (12:00pm - 6:00PM)</h2>
06 June 1944

D-Day: Afternoon (12:00pm - 6:00PM)


On the afternoon of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Allied forces continued to consolidate their positions and make significant advances. By 1:00 PM, British troops had secured Arromanches, where they began landing vehicles and supplies, establishing a critical logistical hub for the invasion. At 2:00 PM, US forces at Omaha Beach finally linked up with the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, ensuring the elimination of key German artillery positions and solidifying their hold on the area.

By 3:00 PM, British and Canadian forces successfully linked up between Juno and Gold beaches, creating a continuous front and strengthening their beachheads. At 4:30 PM, US forces at Utah Beach linked up with paratroopers from the 101st Airborne, further securing their position and facilitating coordinated operations inland. By 6:00 PM, British forces secured the city of Caen, their primary D-Day objective, after intense fighting. This achievement marked a crucial step in the Allied campaign to liberate Normandy and advance further into occupied France.

<h2>D-Day: Evening (6:00PM - 12:00AM)</h2>
06 June 1944

D-Day: Evening (6:00PM - 12:00AM)

On the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, Allied operations continued to bolster their foothold in Normandy. By 7:00 PM, the first PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Ocean) pipeline was deployed at Omaha Beach, allowing fuel to be pumped directly to the advancing Allied forces, which was critical for sustaining the momentum of the invasion. At 9:00 PM, the Mulberry temporary harbors began arriving at the British and Canadian beaches. These portable harbors were essential for offloading troops, vehicles, and supplies, significantly enhancing the logistical capacity of the Allied forces.

By 11:00 PM, the Allies had successfully landed over 135,000 troops and 20,000 vehicles in Normandy, establishing a strong beachhead despite fierce resistance and challenging conditions. This massive influx of men and materiel set the stage for the subsequent phases of the campaign, enabling the Allies to push further inland and begin the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation.

<h2>Post D-Day: Consolidating the Allied Foothold in Western Europe</h2>
07 June 1944

Post D-Day: Consolidating the Allied Foothold in Western Europe

In the days following the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, the Allies worked to solidify their tenuous foothold in Normandy and break out from the beachheads against fierce German resistance. Here are some of the key events:

June 7: The British launched Operation Perch to capture the city of Caen, a major objective on D-Day that was not taken. Caen was heavily defended and the operation stalled after initial gains.

June 10: The RAF bombed and knocked out the headquarters of Panzer Group West at La Caine, disrupting German counterattacks.

June 11: The Battle of Le Mesnilpatry saw British and German armored forces clash as the British tried to take the village.

June 13: American forces at Omaha Beach finally linked up with the airborne troops from the 101st Airborne Division inland at the Battle of Bloody Gulch. British troops captured the village of Tilly-sur-Seulles in Operation Perch after heavy fighting.

June 18-21: The First U.S. Army launched Operation Buckland to cut off and isolate the Cotentin Peninsula, culminating in the capture of Cherbourg on June 27.

June 25-30: Operation Epsom was launched by the British to outflank Caen from the west but was stopped by German counterattacks after some gains.

June 26: American forces at Omaha Beach finally linked up with the VII Corps at Carentan, securing the base of the Cotentin Peninsula.

<h2>Key facts and statistics of D-Day</h2>
30 June 1944

Key facts and statistics of D-Day

Over 2 million Allied troops, including soldiers, sailors, pilots, medics, and personnel from twelve different nations, participated in Operation Overlord, the campaign to liberate western France from Nazi control, which commenced on D-Day.

Forces Deployed

160.000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on D-Day, including 73,000 American troops, 83,000 British and Canadian troops. The British troops also consisted of troops from commonwealth countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  The remaining troops were from other allied countries, such as France, Poland, Belgium, and The Netherlands, fighting under the French general Charles de Gaulle.

Utah beach23,250 American Troops
Omaha beach34,250 American Troops
Gold beach24,970 British troops
Juno beach21,400 Canadian Troops
Sword beach28,845 British troops

Aside from the troops landing on the beaches, 15,500 American and 7,900 British paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines. In total, 50,000 German troops were stationed in the Normandy landing areas on June 6th, 1944. 

Equipment Deployed

Landing craft4,125+
Naval warships1,213
Aircraft (bombers, fighters, transport, gliders)11,590
Tons of bombs dropped by allies on D-Day10,395
Vehicles landed on D-Day200,000+

Over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies landed by June 30th making it the largest amphibious assault in history. A record that still stands to this day. 


Around 10,000 Allied casualties (killed, wounded, missing, captured) by the end of D-Day, including:

  • 6,000 American casualties, of which 2,500 American casualties at Omaha Beach alone
  • 1,063 Canadian casualties at Juno Beach
  • 630 British casualties at Sword Beach
  • 413 British casualties at Gold Beach
  • Estimated 4,000 - 9,000 German casualties

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