D Day: The Battle of Normandy
The Battle of Normandy or “D-Day” was the beginning of the end World War II. With over 20,000 American lives lost in a span of one single day, it was the bloodiest battle to date that the Americans have ever been involved in.
The allied forces were made up of American, British, Polish, Canadian, and Free French Armies all under the command of General Eisenhower. General Eisenhower was named the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces by President Roosevelt in December 1943. At which point he dedicated all his available time to planning the invasion of France. (Williams, 2000)
Several years of meticulous planning went into every detail of the ...view middle of the document...
Preparing for the actual invasion proved to quite a challenge. General Eisenhower had several conditions and requirements for the invasion itself. He thought it best that the Airborne units go in first, but under a full moon. The water crafts needed to land in the early morning after a few minutes of heavy daylight. Because of many different obstacles the landings also needed to be just as the tide was beginning to rise on the beach. Meeting all these conditions proved to be a challenge, and as such were only able to be met between the 5th and 7th of June. Allied forces began preparing on the 2nd of June, but a violent storm rolled in on the 4th of June causing a 24-hour delay. Later in the 4th of June, the weather forecast called for a break in the weather on the 6th of June. At that time, Eisenhower gave the green light for the invasion. The amphibious units also needed to land in the early morning hours of dawn, to be able to give the most protection at night, and yet allow for the most hours of daylight once the invasion began. Another plus side to morning operations is many units would not be fully ready for an invasion at dawn. The invasion of Normandy began at 00:15 hours on the 6th of June, 1944 with 17,000 British and American paratroopers landing behind enemy lines in Normandy. The battle ended at close to 00:00. (King, 2004) The landings consisted of five areas of beach operations along with three jump zones (for airborne attack).
The areas were given different names for ease of radio communication. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches were simultaneously attacked by Allied forces. The U.S. forces concentrated on the western landings taking over Utah and Omaha beaches, while the British and Canadians were more focused on the central and eastern landings taking over Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. While all the areas were all with their own battles and casualties, the most noted and talked about among Americans even still is the battle at Omaha beach. The battle at Omaha beach’s main objective was secure a beachhead between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, then to advance southwards toward St. Lo. Another key objective of the battle at Omaha beach was for V Corps was to link with the VII Corps in the east through the small town of Insigny.
Even with the meticulous planning on the part of the Allied forces, the German Army was just as meticulous in planning their defenses. There were approximately 32 fortified areas between the Vire River and Port-en-Bessin. The most fortified of these were the Vire Estuary, Grand camp, and Port-en-Bessin. The Germans set up three types of obstacles on Omaha beach. They called it the Atlantic Wall. It consisted of 10 feet high gate like structures that were strapped with mines. They were placed about 250 yards from the water line. Up a little further were heavy logs that were driven into the ocean floor at an angle, also strapped with mines. These were...