6 June 1944: D-Day – Anglo-American Invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944 / 6. Juni 1944: D-Day – Angloamerikanische Invasion in Europa am 6. Juni 1944
The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.
Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, but postponing would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days in each month were deemed suitable. Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France starting at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks.
The Allies failed to achieve all of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five bridgeheads were not connected until 12 June. However, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day were around 1,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 12,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area host many visitors each year.
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Allies on Normandy.
D-Day, Normandy, and the Falaise Pocket.
The Volkischer Beobachter about the Invasion of Europe, 7 June 1944.
Invasion Front, The Eagle , Issue 16, August 1944.
Black and White Photos
D-Day, when hell broke over Europe.
From left to right: Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel (Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe B) and SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Josef “Sepp” Dietrich (Kommandierender General I. SS-Panzerkorps) photographed at the invasion front in Normandy, Summer of 1944.
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel inspects troops of the 21st Panzer Division under Lieutenant-General Edgar Feuchtinger on the Atlantic Wall in France a few days before the invasion of the enemy, 30 May 1944.
German soldiers with an MG 34 in France, 1944.
German paratroopers in the Battle of Carentan, in the foreground a fallen US American Airborne soldier of the 101st Airborne Division.
Paratroopers of the Fallschirm-Jäger-Regiment 6 at the invasion front, June 21, 1944.
Briefing with Kurt Meyer (right), Bernhard Krause (center) and Max Wünsche on the invasion front, 1944.
Young paratroopers at the invasion front in Normandy, 1944.
Wilhelm Falley was the first German general who fell during the Invasion of Normandy.
Utah Beach wrecked equipment.
An unknown young German paratrooper as a prisoner of war in 1944 on the invasion front in the west evades the propaganda photographer of the enemy. The corporal carries the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Luftwaffe Parachute Marksman ‘s Badge, the German Reichsport Badge, and the HJ Achievement Badge.
Obergefreiter Nacken surrenders to the British Corporal Bob Roberts at Calais, end of September 1944.
Yang Kyongjong, a foreign volunteer in the army with his German comrades after the capture at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944. The men are members of an Airborne Division of the United States Army that are registering the prisoners of war.
Wounded German soldiers; a few thousand German soldiers directly on the beach sections fought heroically like lions against 150,000 invading invaders, against an enemy air force with absolute air superiority and an all-destroying ship charterer. Many machine-gun nests were occupied only by two, some only with a single, lonely Landser, which sometimes lasted ten hours and fiercely resisted. All in all, at the three beach sections (Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach), only about 840 German soldiers were deployed over an area of about 35 kilometers, against a barely comprehensible superiority.
American paramedics of the III. Battalions/508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were allowed to pose with the looted items such as a flag, Luger, and an officer’s visor cap.
Paintings and Art
The post-war artists depicting Bunker 62.
Tiger I of a heavy tank division on the invasion front.