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D-Day 75th anniversary: Facts about World War II

Posted: 7:19 AM, Jun 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-04 08:19:08-04
D-Day 75th anniversary: Facts about World War II

On D-Day, allied troops invaded Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, to fight Nazi Germany in World War II.

As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day, take a look at facts about the military action:

Facts:
• It was the largest amphibious (land and water) invasion in history.
• The code name for the invasion was Operation Overlord.
– General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the operation, and plans were made to land in Normandy, west of where the German troops and artillery were built up.
More: See historic photos from the landing.
• The "D" stands for Day. D-Day is code for the day an important military attack is scheduled to begin.
• Code names for the five beaches where the Allies landed: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
• More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supported the operation.
• The exact number of casualties is not known. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded and or went missing in action: 6,603 Americans, 2,700 British and 946 Canadians.

Timeline:
August 19, 1942 - A raid on the French port of Dieppe resulting in heavy losses convinces D-Day planners to land on the beaches. Preparations begin for an Allied invasion across the English Channel.
May 1943 - The Trident Conference, a British and US strategy meeting on the war takes place in Washington, DC. Winston Churchill, President Theodore Roosevelt and their military advisers discuss crossing the English Channel.
August 1943 - British and US military chiefs of staff outline Operation Overlord during the Quadrant Conference .
November and December 1943 - British and US military chiefs discuss the specifics of the assault on France during the Sextant and Eureka Conferences .
1944 - The Germans expect an invasion along the north coast of France, but they do not know where it will occur. They build up their troops and artillery near Calais, where the English Channel is the narrowest.
June 5, 1944 - Allied paratroopers and gliders carrying heavy equipment leave England to begin the invasion of France by air.

In a broadcast message to troops before they leave, Eisenhower tells them, "The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory.... We will accept nothing less than full victory!"

June 6, 1944 - Overnight, a military armada and more than 160,000 troops cross the English Channel. Minesweepers go ahead to clear the waters in preparation for the thousands of landing crafts that will be carrying men, vehicles and supplies.

Between midnight and 8 a.m., Allied forces fly 14,674 sorties.

At 6:30 a.m. troops begin coming ashore on a 50-mile front.

In a broadcast to the people of occupied Europe, Eisenhower says, "Although the initial assault may not have been made in your own country, the hour of your liberation is approaching."

More about World War II and veterans :
By the numbers: Veterans from US wars
Heroes: Making life easier for disabled veterans
Daughter faces demons of father's war
WWII Marine's diary found by sweetheart years later
Must-see sights for military buffs