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D-Day was a United States offensive attack on the Axis power in Europe. It took place on the shores of Normandy, which is located in France, south of England, across the English Channel. D-Day was the major turning point of the war and began to force the Axis powers into submission.
World War II was the fight between the Axis powers and the Allied powers. The lead countries on the Axis powers were Japan, Italy, and Nazi Germany. The lead countries on the Allied power were the United States, Britain, Russia, and China. Each of the countries that made up the Axis powers wanted more land and a larger amount of power. Germany and Italy wanted Europe, and Japan wanted territory to expand its large industrial industry. The U.S. wanted to stay out of the war but still tried to help Britain by sending war supplies across the Atlantic. Japan soon realized that America being drawn into war was inevitable, and destroyed our only port and airfield that could reach Japan, Pearl Harbor. America jumped into the fight during December 1941. During this time the U.S. was in a depression, but with war comes a spur of jobs. In war time there was plenty of work in the factories and in the military. This helped the U.S. come out of the depression better than most polices could achieve. When the U.S. joined the war, Germany was already flying across all of Europe using the tactic called Blitzkrieg, a word in German that means “lightning war”. This tactic means the Axis power would speed across Europe in tanks, jeeps, and planes, with limited infantry because they were too slow for this kind of attack. They were able to capture a country in a matter of days instead of weeks.
After Germany had captured most of Europe, they finally reached France. This hurt the allied powers because they would now have to pile all of their supplies in Britain and could not conduct any land operations because of the heavily defended beaches along the English Channel. It mostly threatened Britain because Germany could send over missiles and planes to attack Britain. Britain could not do the same because of Germany’s wide range of Anti-aircraft guns surrounding Europe. But this caused one of the most important tools aboard aircraft and planes today to be possible, radar. When Britain realized its potential they quickly surrounded the East and south side of Britain with radar and could finally give early warning to the beachside towns and cities of a possible air raid. Now that Britain was adequately defended the U.S. began to look at an offensive attack to be able to gain entrance into France and then Europe, to push back the Axis powers.
Many places were thought about to attack and many ways of doing so. There were a number of variables to take in to consideration, from level of defenses, types of defenses, most easily accessible, and the easiest place to gain a foothold in Europe. Most places were heavily guarded but there were some weak spots, but these would be difficult to launch attacks from. There were many types of these scenarios and the U.S. soon came up with the beaches of Normandy. They chose five beaches, Omaha and Utah (U.S.) Gold and Sword (Britain) and Juno Beach (Canada). Before the attack the allied powers set up fake armies in different places to pretend they were attacking much further away than thought.
The attack was to be carried out minute by minute and called for great precision. On June 6, 1944 at 12:15 AM British and U.S paratroopers parachute behind Axis lines; soon after major bridges are captured. At 1 AM the navy begins to lower the landing craft into the water and paratroopers begin severing communication lines. At 2 AM bombers in England are getting ready for flight. At 3:09 AM German radar spots the allied ships and the axis powers prepare for the attack. At 3:30 AM troops begin to board the landing craft. At 4:30 AM Allied cannons begin firing upon the beach code-named “sword beach”. At 5:30 AM the allied powers begin firing upon all attack points and solders begin capturing islands off shore. From 6:30 AM to 7:45 AM allied ships begin bombing and shelling enemy beaches. At 7:00 AM U.S rangers begin to assault Omaha Beach. At 8:00 am Allied troops begin to move inland at the Omaha beach. At 9:00 AM German high command learns of the beach landing and at 9:00 AM the world knows about the attack but by this time troops are already one mile inshore. At 10:30 AM panzers, German tanks begin to move toward the Allied troops. At 12:03 PM British commandos and allied paratroopers meet at Orne Bridge. From 12.03 PM to 11:10 PM all beach assault troops begin to move inland and capture beachside towns. At 11:00 PM reinforcements in gliders begin to land. By 12:00 AM, all five beachheads have been achieved with 9 allied divisions ashore.
In all 23,000 American and British troops parachuted behind enemy lines and 130,000 troops crossed the English Channel. There were about 7,000 ships, 11,500 planes, and 14,000 sorties. The solders crossing the English Channel faced heavy fire and beach obstacles. 70,000 Axis forces guarded the beaches in bunkers. The battle of Normandy lasted for two months which included the inland fighting and unloading of supplies. Over the two months the Allies lost 12,000 soldiers and 2,000 aircraft. On the allied beach assaults 10,000 soldiers, sailors, and aviators were killed, were wounded, or missing. On the Axis side the number is not confirmed but is believed to be from 4,000 to 9,000. D-day was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
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