1944. USSR winning on the Eastern Front. How do they stop the enormous communist expansion in the peace treaty? Answer was simple: A naval landing. So the preparations began.
D-Day. An operation that brought together Canada, Britian and USA for just one purpose: Naval landing.
At this point, British MI5 Agency was the most important thing, because they had to make sure Germans were in a suprise when the Allied soldiers land. They have to confuse Germans about where the Allies would land, when they would land and how many of them. Film industry played a role at this point: An entire fake army that is in the Scottish Highlands to confuse the Germans. An ironic army because there were no actual people in them.
Two fakecorps, a radio casts, dummy soldiers, inflatable tanks, wooden aircraft and landing crafts. King George VI even made an inspection visit.
Juan Pujol Garcia, codenamed Garbo, was a double spy, actually working for the Allies. He make the Germans belive that Pas da Calais will be the invasion point. Fun fact: Germans award him with iron cross. But that wasn’t enough.
Allies need the detailed beach map for the actual invasion like Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. 2 of the beaches was responsible for Americans, 2 of them was British, and one of them was Canadian.Anyway, for the photos, reconnaissance flights was made, but that wasn’t enough. So Allies ask for vacation photos for the giant puzzle. Then Chad Valley was tasked to do this mission. When finished, it was sent in two cargos by two men. One of them is fake, but none of them know which one it is. And these men were kept in prison until D-Day was over. So we know that MI5 was obssesive about security, and they should. And so D-Day begin for the British and Canadian forces.
The invasion fleet was collected from eight different navies, comprising 6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 landing craft of various types, 736 ancillary craft, and 864 merchant vessels. The majority of the fleet was UK ships, which provided 892 warships and 3,261 landing craft. There were 195,700 naval personnel involved.
The invasion fleet was split into the Western Naval Task Force (under Admiral Alan G Kirk) supporting the American sectors and the Eastern Naval Task Force (under Admiral Sir Philip Vian) in the British and Canadian sectors. Available to the fleet were five battleships, 20 cruisers, 65 destroyers, and two monitors.German ships in the area on D-Day included three torpedo boats, 29 fast attack craft, 36 R boats, and 36 minesweepers and patrol boats. The Germans also had several U-boats available, and all the approaches had been heavily mined.
English and Canadian forces
It’s 7:25 at the Sword beach. First wave was the engineers and mine clear tanks. Then flamethrowers and normal tanks. Then landing craft hit the beach. British forces was succesful. By 9:00 pm. many units were of the beaches and moving inlands. But in Juno beach, Canadian losses were heavier, but they breaktrough anyway.
101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Division
In the American beach, Utah, paratrooper operations was made. According to plan, they need to land the pathfinder units to signal paratroopers with 4 plane. It was a disaster. One of them overshoots their target, another has to bail before ever getting to France, and the remaining two leave most of their signaling gear in the ditched plane, leaving them desperatly waving flaslight to the paratrooper planes. And if that wasn’t enough, planes caught in enemy anti-aircraft fire. Paratroopers either land too low, injuring their bodies, or too high, doing nothing but watching enemy guns shreding apart them.
What were they look like?
Their faces were painted with cocoa; sheathed knives were strapped to their ankles; tommy guns strapped to their waists; bandoliers and hand grenades, coils of rope, pick handles, spades, rubber dinghies hung around them, and a few personal oddments, like the lad who was taking a newspaper to read on the plane… There was an easy familiar touch about the way they were getting ready, as though they had done it often before. Well, yes, they had kitted up and climbed aboard often just like this – twenty, thirty, forty times some of them, but it had never been quite like this before. This was the first combat jump for every one of them.
Massive Allied bombardment has been damaging the Atlantic Wall for a while, and now it was the landing time. Fun fact: About 1500 ton of bomb has been drop on Omaha Beach, without killing a single German. American landings were a diffrent story than the English, they lost too many soldiers than the Englishs do. I think it’s because lack of armored support for the Americans. Meanwhile, resistance groups start to bomb railroads, communication sites and drive roads to slow the German reinforcements.
In the Utah beach, things were awkard. First of all, they landed on wrong beach. Luckily, an old general named ‘’Teddy Roosevelt Jr.’’ command them. Soldiers ask him what should they do. He simply responds: ‘’We’ll start the war from right here’’. And, turns out, Utah beach is a easily capturable point for the Allies. His beach would be the first beach to succesfuly overrun. Omaha, though, was a diffrent story. Pre bombardments was less effective, but the most important factor was lack of armored support. Many tank support that supposed to follow them just sink or picked off as they hit the shore. Canceling the landing was suggested but it was a linking point between American and British forces. But at the same time, some ships get dangerously close to beach to provide effective bombardment support. By to end of all this, Omaha beach wasn’t truly cleared by the end of 6th.
Pictue sources: www.washingtonpost.com, dday-overlord.com, warfarehistorynetwork.com, deanoworldtravels.wordpress.com, theatlantic.com, sandiego.edu