The D-Day invasion, or Normandy landings, were the landing operations of the Allied forces as part of Operation Overlord in World War II. The landings began on June 6, 1944, and they marked the beginning of the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe from Nazi control.
The invasion involved a series of military beach landings along the coast of Normandy and has since been known as the largest seaborne invasion in history. The battle also involved a massive airborne invasion.
Preparing for D-Day
The D-Day invasion took years of planning, and, in months leading up to it, the Allies began a military deception strategy known as Operation Bodyguard. This operation was intended to mislead German forces as to the exact day and location of the suspected invasion.
Those planning the invasion determined specific weather conditions based on moon phases, time of day, and ocean tides that would be most ideal for a successful invasion. When the appointed time of the invasion came, the weather was far from these conditions, and the invasion was pushed back a day.
What Happened on D-Day?
On the morning of D-Day, paratroopers and glider troops were sent behind enemy lines by the thousands to secure bridges and exit roads. Then, at 6:30 in the morning, the beach landings began. By the end of the day, over 150,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed and captured Normandy’s beaches—but at a high price. By some estimates, over 4,000 of the Allied forces lost their lives. Thousands more were recorded as wounded or missing.
The Importance of D-Day
The D-Day invasion is significant in history for the role it played in World War II. It marked the turn of the tide for the control maintained by Nazi Germany; less than a year after the invasion, the Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany’s surrender.
It was a day that cost many lives on all sides of the conflict, changing not only the future of countries, but of families as well. Because of that, there is much to be learned from those who experienced its victories and its horrors firsthand. Do you have D-Day veterans in your family? Record a memory or upload a photo to help preserve their legacy.