"The Germans moved out of Britain to prepare for an attack that they knew would come, but didn't know when." The attack came on June 6, 1944. D-Day was the name for this attack as 150,000 troops poured onto the beaches of Normandy. Code name "Overlord" is what is was called. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the man in charge of the operation, and once D-Day was in operation, there was no turning back. It was now or never.
Germans were taking over cities like they were stealing candy from a baby. Every offensive they came against, they destroyed. The allies were undoubtedly losing, or were going to lose because Germany was building it's country in size. The Allies needed to do something and fast. The allies needed to stop the Germans, but how? They decided the only way to successfully conquer the Germans was to make a mass invasion across the English Channel.
Bernard Law Montgomery was appointed the Allied invasion commander. He proposed that the invasion be scattered over 5 areas by different countries. The British would control two beaches, the Americans two beaches, and Canada one beach. The beaches were code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Two American airborne divisions were to land behind the assault area while the ground troops were herded across the English Channel in about 6,000 ships.
There were many contributions of why D-Day was successful. Some winning factors of D-Day were because of single soldiers who thought they had nothing to lose. Some reasons why D-Day was a success was because of sheer miracles; others, sheer strategy.
The strategic planners of D-Day deployed 11,000 planes between April 1 - June 5, 1944. These 11,000 planes were set on a mission to destroy every base and bridge they could find in France. The planes succeeded in their mission, thus isolating Normandy from the rest of the major bases.
A few of the reasons D-Day was a success was because of the German's unpreparedness. Their torpedo boats were at anchor, and they believed noone would cross the English Channel on such a bad day. Front-line officers were miles away from the destination point. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was away to visit his wife on his birthday. Hitler refused to release armored divisions, which could have caused the Allies to lose on D-Day. German fighter planes were also farther south because the German Air Force redeployed them the day before.
Hitler had a vague idea that there might be a possible attack on the beaches of Normandy, so he ordered troops to lay as many traps as possible. Over four million mines were layed by June 5th. All 150,000 troops had to dodge mines, bullets, and drowning obstacles. "There were boats where all the men were dead before they stepped out of a boat." (Saving Private Ryan)
Allied forces had to battle their way 100 yards to the beach shore. The attack was based at 6:00 a.m. because that was when the tide was low. This was planned to expose most beach obstacles. Army engineers were in the first wave, and were usually the first to die. They were responsible for setting the bombs that destroyed the gun-firing Germans in the cliffs above. Overall, D-Day was well planned and was in the Allies favor. However, not everything went smoothly.
The attack was well planned, but there were a countless number of errors. There were terrible conditions for fighting on that day. The skies were overcast and foggy. Lots of troop transports overshot their drop zone by miles. About sixty percent of all the equipment that was paruchuted for the troops was lost. The troops had to improvise with hardly nothing. The lucky who made it to the bluffs had to make the slow climb up the 100 foot cliffs. Making it to the top almost meant certain death.
Omaha beach is the starting point of the movie "Saving Private Ryan." Saving Private Ryan has been called the most realistic World War II movie ever made. Everybody wonders what went wrong on that beach, and I'm about to tell you why.
Omaha Beach was the largest of all the assault areas. It stretched six miles. The beach also had bluffs that were one hundred feet high. The beaches and waters were heavily mined. The Germans had built heavy defenses around the "enclosed" battlefield. The weapons were set to cover the beach as well as set fire on people in the sea and on the cliffs. Omaha beach was the most deadly beach on Normandy.
Omaha beach was split into 4 code named divisions. From east to west, the code names are Fox, Easy, Dog and Charlie. Omaha was invaded by the U.S. 1st infantry division. They were accomponied by the 116th Regiment and the 29th division of the army.
Landing boats were hit from hundreds of yards away before they landed on Omaha. Men were killed as soon as the ramps were released. The water was red with blood, and bodies littered the beach. They were killed by mines, or heavy guns. Many hid behind beach obstacles, while others ran fearlessly toward the beach cliffs. The wounded were screaming; some missing arms and legs from mines. Others were severely mutilated and hardly recognizable.
Everything seemed to go wrong at Omaha. "DD" tanks that were supposed to assist the 116th regiment sank in the water. Only 2 out of 29 made it to shore. Everybody landed out of place. Confusion was the first element that set in when the troops landed; then the dying started to happen.
Many destroyed vehicles and ships were littered on shore or near. By eight o'clock in the morning, all of the ships had landed at Omaha. Many felt they were trapped with no way out. Miraculously, Navy Destroyers came to assist Omaha. Their bottoms were scraping Omaha's shallow waters, but they were close enough to get a point-blank shot at the German fortifications on the cliffs above. By twelve o'clock, German fire had stalled. The exits outside the beach were opened and the Americans had successfully completed part of their mission.
The 1st and 29th division had positions at Vierville, Saint-Laurent and Colleville. 2400 casualties were suffered by Americans at Omaha Beach. 34,000 troops were landed at Omaha alone, so the mission was a success. Germans only lost 1,200 men. There was no reinforcement to fight for the Germans, so Omaha beach was America's property.
D-Day was a success because of all the teamwork and strategy. D-Day has changed history forever and was the beginning of the end for Germany.