D-Day took place on 6th June 1944. It marked the start of the Battle of Normandy when the Allies (Britain, Canada, and America) landed on the beaches of Normandy, in northern France, to start to liberate (free) mainland Europe from German occupation. This attack was called Operation Overlord and it aimed to break the heavily-defended 'Atlantic Wall' created by the Germans.
During the months before, thousands of troops had gathered in Britain to train for the battle in secret location all over the country. The roads and depots of southern England were cluttered with: tanks, lorries and field guns.
When nice weather conditions arrived, over 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel in the largest amphibious (from the sea to the land) attack in military history. It was code-named Operation Neptune. To keep the destination of the landings a secret, the British created a plan to distract the Germans into thinking that the main target was near Calais, much further east. Another 23,400 troops from parachute units were landed by air to stop any Germans inland too, at places like Pegasus Bridge.
Bloody battles took place between the allies and the Germans along the Normandy coast on: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. Many Allied officers were killed and many soldiers struggled to avoid being injured by the powerful German machine guns and artillery.
After two months of heavy fighting however, the Allies won. Their 2 million troops had heavily outnumbered the half a million Germans. Paris (the capital of France) was liberated from German control on 25th August 1944 and a major turning turning point in the war was reached, with the Axis powers now beginning to lose their control over Europe.
World War II >