D-Day: Today is the 75th Anniversary

Today (Thursday) is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the pivotal event of World War 2. Here's a basic primer on the Allied offensive against Germany.

  • Seaborne troops from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada landed on the beaches of Normandy, France shortly after midnight on June 6th, 1944.
  • The attack was codenamed Operation Neptune.
  • "D-Day" is a generic military term referring to the day an operation is to commence.
  • It was the largest seaborne invasion in history, with more than 160,000 troops coming ashore just on June 6th. Before it was over, more than 875,000 troops had crossed the English Channel to take part.
  • 6,939 vessels took part in the invasion: 1,213 warships, 4,126 landing craft of various types, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels.
  • None of the Allied objectives were actually realized on the first day. It took until June 12th just to connect all five beachheads where troops had landed. The French city of Caen, a major objective, wasn't captured until July 21st.
  • Though the amphibious assault gets the most attention in history books and the movies, the Allies also undertook aerial bombings and airborne assaults, notably by the 101st Airborne Division.
  • The invasion cost the Allies more than 10,000 casualties, with 4,414 confirmed dead. 

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