Please keep in mind that 100% accurate figures about the number of casualties cannot be given with complete certainty.
On June 6 1944, one of the great turning points of the Second World War took place. Although the Allies had already achieved some great success in the fight against Nazi Germany, and moreover had already landed troops in Southern Europe (Sicily) and had already liberated Rome, an invasion of Western Europe turned out to be the key to the liberation of Europe. In particular, the Americans and French continued to insist on an offensive in the west, while England preferred to attack from the south. Churchill said "it was better to attack the soft belly of the crocodile than its hard snout". By this belly he meant an extension of the front in Italy.
At the Tehran Conference (1943), the Allies decided to relieve pressure on the Eastern Front by launching a major offensive in the West. In 1944 large groups of people and equipment were mobilized in England. It would be the largest military build-up to date.
The purpose of this build-up, the operation was called Overlord, was a crossing to northern France, initially Brittany was on the agenda but this was later shifted to Normandy. Commanders of the operation were Dwight Eisenhower for the US and Bernard Law Montgomery for the British.
Three months before the actual invasion, the Allies had already started massive bombardments on the French and Belgian railways to hinder the supply of German soldiers and military equipment. Many bridges also had to suffer. In addition to the area around Normandy, bridges and railways around Calais were also destroyed to make the Germans believe that the invasion might take place there. Also on the coasts of England (except the south coast) many "dummy" military constellations were built. Cardboard and wooden vehicles and fake buildings. All this to give German reconnaissance the idea that preparations were being made for an invasion around Calais or Belgium.
All preparations were made in the run-up to D-Day. D-Day, which is misinterpreted by most people as "Decision-day", is a military term to designate the day of action if it is not already known. D-day comes from the first letter of Day, as is written in French: Le Jour J. The schedule is indicated in D+1, D+2, D+3 and so on. Initially, the invasion was planned for May 1944, but Eisenhower determined that it should be June 5. On June 5, however, a major storm raged in the Channel and the operation was delayed for 24 hours.
General Eisenhower, despite the continuing bad weather, decided to have D-Day take place on June 6, 1944. "O.K. Well go." he said. At night British and American soldiers were parachuted behind the Normandy beaches to secure the routes from the beaches to the interior. After a large-scale bombardment (by 13.000 aircraft) and landing paratroopers in the middle of the night the actual landings on the beaches started at 6:30 am. More than 6.000 ships were used for this plus the use of 4.000 landing craft.
The left flank was made up of Gold (British), Juno (Candian) and Sword (British) beaches. These names had been given to the beaches by the Allied military. The right flank was for the Americans on Omaha and Utah beaches . The troops on the flanks had a fairly successful landing. However, the center had to deal with a lot of German resistance on Omaha Beach. This became the bloodiest area of D-Day and became known as "Bloody Omaha".
Nevertheless, at the end of the day the Allies managed to secure their positions in Normandy by landing more than 150.000 soldiers. In the days that followed, the fighting shifted inland around Caen. In any case, the beaches of Normandy were an open gateway to Fort Europe for the Allies.
This website is made out of respect for the victims, the civilians and the veterans of WWII. It generates no financial gain what so ever and it is merely a platform to educate the visitor about WWII.
A big THANK YOU to the United States Army Center of Military History for their help in providing the input for these pages. All pages on this website are constantly being refitted with acurate data and texts and it is an ongoing process.