D-Day

April 24, 2018
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In military terms, D-Day is an army term used to indicate the date for a specific operation. The term D-Day was used to keep military mission dates secret to keep the enemy from finding out. The specific date and time of the D-Day invasion couldn’t be decided until they had information about tide, weather, clouds, and moon phases. In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, Americans invaded Omaha Beach.  First the Allies had to plan their attacks. They had to pick out an area to attack in order to get good leverage in the war. During the planning stage, there were many operations and plans made for different infantries and divisions. One of those operations was Operation Neptune. D-Day would have been harder to win without the air raids. The ground infantry was also really important in the raids because they were the ones to help turn the tides of the war. Overall, every single part of D-Day, from planning to the actual fighting was important for the war to be won by the Allies. 

D-Day had several key points for the invasion to work. One of the most important pieces to it was planning. Planning the invasion was the hardest part to D-Day. If any little part got out to the Germans they would’ve been ready for the attack. One was that the Americans and the British kept it a secret was by using a certain military name. If they were planning for the invasion to happen two days later than planned, they would say D-Day plus two to indicate the change of date. The entire part of planning D-Day was rough. They had to wait for the perfect time. If the weather was bad, if the winds were too strong, if there were too many clouds. All of this affected the invasion. As said by general Sir Richard Dannatt, “Airborne troops jumping in high winds might miss targets, and cannot jump at all in winds higher than 20 mph; rough seas make beach landings more dangerous”(Failure). He is saying that no matter what we did even if we waited there was always a possible chance for failure. Even if the U.S, Canada, and the British called it off for twenty-four hours, the Germans had more of a chance of finding out. Overall, the invasion planning was one of the hardest parts of the invasion.
    

The invasion army of D-Day was also important in the attack. The armies had to come together and make one unified strong army that could withstand the Germans fire power and artillery. The armies came from the British, Canada, and the United States. On the night of June 6, 1945, 150,000 troops from the three main allies all invaded the beaches of Normandy, France. As General Sir Richard Dannatt says, “Once the Normandy beaches were captured, massive reinforcements of troops, vehicles, equipment, food and fuel were needed. By 18 June they were both were operational and could move up to 7,000 tonnes of vehicles and supplies a day” (Failure). What Richard Dannatt is trying to say is that these temporary piers really helped the invasion work. If the piers weren’t made then they wouldn’t be able to get the necessary materials into Normandy. The piers really helped the invasion plan go through. Another really important part was tricking the Germans. In the article, How Was The Biggest Ever Seaborne Invasion Launched,“Roads and fields were lined with dummy tanks, trucks and aircraft. Fake landing craft were placed along the southeast coast of England. German Luftwaffe planes were occasionally allowed to fly over to take aerial photographs. The Allies also simulated the radio communications that would be expected for such a group” (How). The Allies were really clever in that they made it seem like they were going to attack in the Pas de Calais. They had double agents that were trusted by the Germans telling them that the Americans and the British were going to attack in the narrowest part of the English Channel, or through Gibraltar, and even Norway. The double agents were named,‘Garbo’, ‘Brutus’ and ‘Tricycle.’ They were most trusted by their German controllers. All in all, the Allies’ armies were a key element of D-Days success.

During World War II and during D-Day, there were many operations; one major operation during D-Day was Operation Neptune. Operation Neptune was an operation of landing crafts, warships, planes and tanks all getting on the beach for the invasion. There were five types of landing crafts used in Operation Neptune. There was the landing craft vehicle or personal, landing craft assault, landing craft infantry, landing ship tanks, and landing craft mechanized. Each of these crafts had a specific job. Some held troops, tanks or anti-aircraft guns. While setting up for the invasion there were gooseberries and mulberries put down. Gooseberries were special barriers made of steel and concrete that stopped the surf crashing on the piers. 55,000 workers using 250,000 tons of steel and 1,000,000 tons of concrete constructed the piers in six months. The piers was code-named Mulberry. While the cargo ships and the troops were being brought in, some seven hundred warships came to help defend the ocean territory and help attack the beaches. There were three thousand five hundred troop carriers that each had about a thousand or so troops inside. When the Allies first went into the beaches in the early mornings of June sixth, the German radar detected the warships and started using their giant guns to attack them. The giant guns were blown up by air raids soon after they started shooting at the warships. “If the Allies’ navies didn’t come together in Normandy, they wouldn’t have succeeded” (D-Day).  One of the key parts of D-Day actually succeeding was how the Allies came together to form one big navy. The navies and armies had to all come together so that the armies and navies had the strongest possible defenses against the Germans. “Transporting thousands of troops across the English Channel and landing them on beaches in full view of enemy fire risked high casualties. To succeed would require intricate planning, ingenious invention and the mounting of the largest sea and airborne invasion the world had ever seen” (How). All of these ideas and plans had to come together so the Allies could defeat the Germans. There was one great idea that came from the citizens living in France and up to Norway. “As early as 1942 the BBC was asked to issue a public appeal for postcards and photographs of the coast of Europe, from Norway to the Pyrenees. Millions were sent in. Combined with the aerial images, these holiday snaps helped the Allies choose their landing sites, and RAF model-makers used the data to create detailed 3D terrain models” (How). All of these snapshots helped the Allies find an ideal place to land that wasn’t too fortified but also where you could sneak into the area without being detected. In final consideration, several of the operations planned out during D-Day were very important for D-Day to go according to plan.

Last but certainly not least, the fighting in Normandy was really important for the invasion to go as planned. For the next five days after June sixth, they spent trying to get troops and supplies further into France. All the meanwhile, there were still German forces attacking them. By June seventh the Allies were all in on the five beachfronts. But one thing was missing. The Americans. The Americans were several hours behind schedule and didn’t arrive till late June 6. When the Americans were fighting they were in desperate need of tanks and more supplies, so General Eisenhower thought of a plan to link up the Utah and Omaha beachfronts. The Americans could use that way the British who have most of the tanks and artillery as well. There was another reason that Eisenhower combined them; it was so that the panzers couldn’t get in between and separate them.


As the Allies pushed further inland, the fighting went from beaches and sand to family farms separated by thick hedges made up of trees, vines and bushes. The hedges were so thick that the Allies couldn't see through it, which gave the Germans an advantage. The Germans could shoot at the Allies and the Allies wouldn’t know where it was coming from. One way the Allies got through this was by putting steel blades on the tanks and pushing through them. Another way was using flamethrowers. They also used them when attacking the bunkers that the Germans used. All throughout July, the Allies were pushing so far inland that they made it to Saint-Lo. The Germans heavily fortified Saint-Lo so the British and the Americans had to come up with a plan to get through. The plan was called Operation Cobra and Operation Goodwood. Operation Cobra was where the British rushed the Germans from the east while the Americans went in and killed as many Germans as they could.
General Omar Bradley was the person who oversaw Operation Cobra and Goodwood. As The History Learning Site says, “The Americans wanted to use the attack on Caen as a smokescreen for their breakout from Normandy – Operation Cobra – and from Normandy into Brittany. The great prize in Brittany was the deep-water port of Cherbourg. While the Mulberry Harbour had done its job, it had only been a temporary solution to the Allies problem of supplying its huge force in France. The capture of Cherbourg, completed on June 27th, solved this at a stroke” (Cobra). The operation was a success. As well, Operation Goodwood gave the British fighting in the east major leeway. During the attacks on the Germans in Brittany, Omar Bradley ordered a huge air raid to be conduct to mostly dishearten and annihilate the German forces stationed there. In just three-square miles, the US and Britain dropped a total of five thousand tons of heavy artillery, bombs and missiles on them. Their plan was to carpet bomb them , which means to send layers of bombs all onto a certain area to completely destroy all life and all structures inside the area of the bombings. At the end of the air raid, the German forces were mostly wiped out of the area. Later in July and even into early August, the Allies were advancing full speed into Saint-Lo and even farther into Southern and Eastern France. All the German forces in Normandy and Brittany were either dead or mostly dead and beaten. The breakout of Normandy had begun. Finally, after three weeks of fighting in Normandy the Allies may finally have a chance to win the war.

Overall, D-Day doesn’t mean anything besides just a placeholder for a certain day of military action, yet the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944 was the turning point of World War II. The planning action by the Allied Leaders of D-Day was all a key part for it to go as planned. Every single one of the operations and divisions all had to play a key role in helping World War II turn into the Allies favor. If any part of the air raids or the ground troops had not gotten there quickly, D-Day could’ve ended in a different way. All in all, Doomsday’s role in World War II was a major turning point for the Allies to succeed.






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