“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.” Letter from Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to all the military personnel involved in D-Day (a copy of the letter is below)
Welcome to Factual Friday! This is a special edition in light of the 70th anniversary of the landing on the beaches of Normandy.
D-Day (which, depending on your source, either stands for “Day” or nothing) was the first part of the overarching campaign known as Operation Overlord. Here are some facts:
- Officially known as “Operation Neptune”
- Was originally scheduled to launch on June 5, 1944 but owing to bad weather, was rescheduled to June 6, 1944
- Operation Bodyguard and Operation Fortitude were deceptive operations to mislead Germany as to the actual location of Operation Neptune
- Divided into 2 phases: the airborne assault and the amphibious assault
- There were 5 sectors to the Normandy beach: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword
- Approximately 156,000 Allied troops to the 50,000 German troops
- Approximately 12,000 Allied casualties (at least 4,000 dead) to the approximate 4,000-9,000 German casualties
- The amphibious assault involved cooperation from 8 different navies and included over 1,200 warships, over 4,100 landing crafts, over 700 ancillary craft, and over 800 merchant vessels. There has been no larger amphibious assault in history to date.
Operation Overlord was the Allied campaign for the invasion of Europe. It ran from June 6, 1944 through August 25, 1944.
- Approximately over 2,052,000 Allied troops to approximately over 1,000,000 German troops
- Over 226,000 Allied casualties (not including civilian, see next point) to approximately over 450,000 German casualties
- Civilian deaths were approximately 11,000-19,000 in pre-invasion bombings and over 19,000 killed during the invasion campaign (does not include deaths at camps which was over 6,000,000)
The cost of both Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord was great and we owe a debt of unending gratitude to the men and women and families whose losses were immeasurable. If not for their willingness to sacrifice their lives for the greater good, the world would be a markedly different and darker place. I’m confident that between myself and other military bloggers, their sacrifice will not only never be forgotten, but honored long after they are gone. Thank you to all our veterans and especially our WWII veterans!