D-Day: The Beginning of the End for Nazi Germanyquestions were when and where the Allies would storm ashore.
Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:49 AM
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: June 12, 2006
The road to the invasion of Nazi-controlled France began more than two years prior to its actual execution. In its early stages, the invasion plan was a British operation called Roundup, which would move troops onto the mainland in the event of a German collapse. When the United States entered the war, the idea was resurrected as a combined British-American operation to cross the English Channel and pierce Adolf Hitler's 'Atlantic Wall defenses.
Roundup had to wait, however, in favor of Operation Torch, the British-American invasion of North Africa. After Torch, the Allies began planning Operation Overlord, as Roundup came to be known, and fixed the target date for May 1, 1944.
The Germans also had been preparing. They knew that the Allies must invade France in order to carry the ground war into Germany. The Germans' major unanswered questions were when and where the Allies would storm ashore. Most German strategists felt that the target would be the Pas-de-Calais area, where the English Channel was narrowest. Therefore, the strongest defenses were constructed there.
The German forces in Western Europe, commanded by Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, consisted of Army Groups B and G. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commanding Army Group B, was given the responsibility of throwing the Allied invasion force back into the sea.
Opinions on the best method of defeating the Allies differed greatly. Rundstedt and others advocated a central reserve that would be used to repel the invaders after their intentions were known. Rommel challenged that plan because he believed that Allied air superiority would prevent the central reserve from conducting an effective counterattack. The time to defeat the invasion force, Rommel believed, was when it first hit the beaches. To that end, he worked to have the strongest units stationed along the coastline and built coastal batteries and strongpoints, augmented by thousands of anti-invasion obstacles and millions of mines.
The result was a compromise between these two conflicting philosophies on defense, causing neither to be effective. Another factor that hampered the German defensive posture was that they, unlike the Allies, had no supreme military commander, so rivalries occurred between the individual departments, and there were numerous overlapping responsibilities.
D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5, 1944. SHAEF arrived at this date by considering two factors–moonlight and tide. H-hour would be near sunrise, when the amphibious troops would have a rising tide, which would enable them to land close to obstacles without coming ashore on top of them. The paratroopers needed a full moon for visibility. The days with the proper tide-moonlight formula closest to the target date were June 5, 6 and 7 Read More
Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:11 AM
While in no way taking anything away from what happened on D Day, and what it meant for the downfall of the Nazis. It could be said they were doomed to defeat on the day they went to war with the USSR. Of course even then the Nazis could have won, were it no for Nazi Ideology.
H/T The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
“Elegantly balances fact, thought and fresh, clear prose. . . . Roberts has set a high bar for future historians of mankind’s greatest bloodbath; Roberts splendidly weaves a human tragedy into a story of war’s remorseless statistics.” (The Wall Street Journal )
Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:48 PM
June 7, 2010
Yesterday was June 6th, the 66th anniversary of the successful 1944 Allied invasion of France. Several operations were combined to carry out the largest amphibious invasion in history - over 160,000 troops landed on June 6th, assisted by over 5,000 ships, aerial bombardment, gliders and paratroopers. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives on those beaches on that day - many thousands more would follow as the invasion succeeded and troops began to push German forces eastward, eventually leading to the Allied victory in 1945. Collected here are some photographs of the preparation, execution and immediate aftermath of the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy, and a few images from 2010. (42 photos total)
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