6/6/2014: Top Ten Origins: D-Day 70 Years AgoBy Greg Hope. Greg is a U.S. Army captain who is doing his graduate work in preparation for his next assignment, as a military history instructor at West Point.
The Normandy Invasion (June 6, 1944) was the supreme joint effort of the Western Allies in Europe in World War II and remains today one of the best known campaigns of the war.
Code named Operation Overlord, it was a battle marked by its courage, meticulous planning and logistics, and audacious amphibious approach. It was also in many ways inevitable. Following Germany’s conquest of France in 1940 and declaration of war on the United States in 1941, a confrontation somewhere on the shores of Northern Europe became a waiting game, with only the date and location left to be answered.
On D-Day, over 125,000 British, American, and Canadian soldiers supported by more than five thousand ships and thirteen thousand aircraft landed in Normandy on five separate beaches in order to carve out a sixty-mile wide bridgehead. This foothold would be the launching point from which the liberation of France and Western Europe would proceed. Opposed by German units in strong defensive positions, the Allies suffered more than twelve thousand casualties on the first day of the invasion.
This year we mark the 70th Anniversary of Overlord. To commemorate the battle, Origins offers ten of the most important things to know about the invasion.