EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Culture & Literature
D-Day

D-Day

D-Day

In the early hours of 6 June 1944 the largest land, sea and air operation in history got under way in northern France, as more than 150,000 Allied troops began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe. Failure was not an option. Inside we tell the remarkable story of D-Day, from the months of meticulous planning and preparation that made it possible, to the invasion itself and the fierce fighting that followed as the Allies fought to liberate France. We celebrate some of the heroes of Operation Overlord, speak to D-Day veterans as they share their experiences, and discover the Allied leaders who conceived, shaped and executed the ambitious plans. We look at the role the French Resistance played in the run-up to and during the invasions and how the German response may have helped the Allies gain a vital foothold, while also exploring the potentially devastating consequences for the world if the landings had failed.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
One-off
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in this issue

1 min.
welcome

In the early hours of 6 June 1944 the largest land, sea and air operation in history got under way in northern France, as more than 150,000 Allied troops began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe. Failure was not an option. Inside we tell the remarkable story of D-Day, from the months of meticulous planning and preparation that made it possible, to the invasion itself and the fierce fighting that followed as the Allies fought to liberate France. We celebrate some of the heroes of Operation Overlord, speak to D-Day veterans as they share their experiences, and discover the Allied leaders who conceived, shaped and executed the ambitious plans. We look at the role the French Resistance played in the run-up to and during the invasions and how the German response…

9 min.
assault on fortress europe

1940 OPERATION DYNAMO 4 JUNE 1940 THE FRENCH PORT CITY OF DUNKIRK Operation Dynamo, the ten-day effort to evacuate soldiers of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force from the continent of Europe at the port city of Dunkirk, concludes with the rescue of nearly 340,000 troops from annihilation or capture by victorious German forces following their invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10 May. Dynamo involves scores of small civilian watercraft as well as military vessels and succeeds beyond expectations as planners expected to evacuate only about 30,000. The Battle of France ends in shattering defeat, and the Allies do not return to Western Europe until D-Day in 1944. 1942 ROOSEVELT RECEIVES OPERATION ROUNDUP PLAN 1 APRIL 1942 WASHINGTON, DC US Army Chief of Staff General George C Marshall presents President…

12 min.
the road to d-day

“IN ORDER FOR AN INVASION TO SUCCEED, SEA LANES WOULD NEED TO BE SECURE, BASES WOULD NEED TO BE SET UP, MEN AND MATERIEL AMASSED AND STRATEGIC TARGETS IN GERMANY BOMBED” On 4 June 1940, the evacuation from Dunkirk was completed. The British Expeditionary Force had lost more than 66,000 men, but almost a quarter of a million had been snatched from the clutches of advancing German units. It did not mark the end of Britain’s involvement on the Continent in the early months of the war–there were still British soldiers fighting alongside the remnants of the French Army, and 60,000 more were sent back to France after the evacuation from Dunkirk, forming a second British Expeditionary Force. It was a futile gesture, as General Sir Alan Brooke found the French in…

1 min.
engineers in the firing line

As well as planning on what might be considered the ‘macro scale’ for D-Day, units had to plan on the micro scale too. Nowhere was this more true than for the engineers who would accompany the assault troops onto the beaches of Normandy. The landing would have three phases: the assault phase, an initial dump phase (where ammunition and other supplies would be left on the beach for subsequent waves of troops) and a maintenance dump phase. The first two phases would take place on D-Day itself. In the US 1st Army, allocated to Utah and Omaha beaches, Engineer Special Brigades were charged with supporting the assault infantry. One quarter of the men that landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day were engineers. In the first phase of the landing, special assault gapping…

1 min.
the rehearsals

As well as the raid on Dieppe, various other smaller scale operations (including a landing at Anzio in January 1944) provided valuable experience in the build-up to D-Day, and significant rehearsals for amphibious landings were staged. They would prove that even rehearsals could go badly wrong. One such rehearsal took place in the Pacific, where the Americans were preparing for an amphibious assault on the Solomon Islands in 1942. The US Army’s amphibious warfare doctrine had been laid down in a 1938 paper, but almost no training had been undertaken. Suitable beaches on Fiji were selected for practice landings and extractions on 28 and 30 July. Problems included the fact that most of the landing craft used did not have front ramps, so heavily laden Marines had to clamber over the sides…

8 min.
why was normandy chosen for d-day?

Western Europe had been under German occupation for four years when the decision was made to punch a hole in the Atlantic Wall. World War II was entering its final stages and the Allies believed that the time was right to grasp a foothold in France and begin the liberation of Western Europe from the grip of National Socialism. The plan for D-Day was to land a task force on the French coast, where the Atlantic Wall–a system of defences featuring machine guns, artillery and fortifications that stretched from Norway to Spain–was at its weakest. The British high command was adamant that any invasion would not be a repeat of the failed 1942 attack on Dieppe, a miscalculation that had resulted in 3,000 Allied soldiers being cut down by German bullets…