2 D-DayD-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history and was the turning point in World War II.Between combined Allied forces nearly 156,000 troops on or supported by nearly 4,000 ships crossed the English Channel landing the troops on five beaches in Normandy.The beaches were stormed early that morning supported by about 23,000 airborne troops that had already landed behind enemy lines or getting ready to land in support of the beach assault and the push to Caen.
4 Time LineD-Day The invasion begins. Glider and paratroop units begin landing behind the German beach defenses.British 6th Airborne Division dropped northeast of Caen, near the mouth of the Orne River, where it anchored the British eastern flank by securing bridges over the river and the Caen Canal.On the other side of the invasion area, the U.S. 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions dropped near Ste. Mere-Eglise and Carentan to secure road junctions and beach exits.
6 Pegasus BridgeBridge over the Caen canal near the town of Ouistreham (aka Benouville Bridge)It was a major objective of the British 6th Airborne DivisionThey used gliders to land near it during the Normandy InvasionIt was given the Pegasus name in honor of the attacking British who wore a flying horse on their shoulderThe bridge was taken over to prevent a counter attack from the eastern flank
7 Pegasus BridgeIt was initially carried out by 181 soldiers, flour platoons of D and two of B companies.Led by Major John Howard.The first glider to land was flown by SSgt. Jim Wallwork and SSgt John Ainsworth (No. 92)They landed at 12:16 am pushing through the first belt of barbed wire around the bridge. The two pilots were catapulted from the glider thus becoming the two first soldiers to set foot in France on D-Day
8 Pegasus BridgeEveryone was unconscious, but when they regained their senses a few seconds later, they realized their crash did not alert the enemy.The enemy thought the noise was a piece of debris falling from an allied bomberLt. Den Brotheridge was the first to die by enemy actions on D-Day during this battleWhile the two sides fought Royal engineers from the 249th Field Company had ignored enemy fire directed at them as they climbed over the bridge looking for wires to cut and detonation devices to remove.
9 Pegasus BridgeThe Germans had placed the bombs for demolition, but because the feared an accidental explosion or sabotage by the French Resistance they did not place charges.The Germans did fight back but they would not be able to defeat the British and many fled the scene.
11 GlidersBecause parachute drops left troops dispersed over a comparatively broad area, the appeal of gliders lay in their ability to deliver larger numbers of soldiers into a smaller perimeter as a more cohesive fighting force.Also, gliders could carry some wheeled vehicles, mortars, and light artillery that could not be parachuted from World War II cargo transports. Essentially, the role of glider troops was to make landings ahead of the ground forces and take enemy strongholds by surprise
12 GlidersLanding in a glider was extremely dangerous and was little more than a controlled crash. Even if the pilot had the time and altitude to select a good spot to land, conditions on the ground were normally hostile.The gliders were usually towed behind a C-47 tow plane on a 300 foot nylon rope 1" in diameter.Gliders and their tow planes were slow, fat targets. They had no armor to protect the men inside.
14 Life Expectancy of Pilots in Combat: GlidersNicknamed "canvas coffins," the flimsy gliders had plywood floors and a steel tubing frame covered with a canvas skin.Life Expectancy of Pilots in Combat:Bomber Pilots hour, 46 minutesFighter Pilots minutesGlider Pilots seconds
15 Waco CG-4A Span: 83 ft. 8 in. Length: 48 ft. 4 In. Height: 12 ft. 7 in.Weight: 7,500 lbs. loadedArmament: NoneEngine: None
18 Sainte Mere-EgliseAt about 0140 mixed unites of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions landed directly on and around the town of Sainte Mere-Eglise.Some buildings in town were on fire that night, and they illuminated the sky, making easy targets of the descending men. Some were sucked into the fire. Many hanging from trees and utility poles were shot before they could cut loose. The German defenders were alerted.
19 Sainte Mere-EgliseA famous incident involved paratrooper John Steele, whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He was later captured by a German soldier.Later that morning, about 0500, a force led by Lt. Colonel Edward C. Krause of the 505th PIR took the town with little resistance. Apparently the German garrison was confused and had retired for the rest of the night, giving it the claim to one of the first towns liberated in the invasion.
21 Rommel's WallHitler appointed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel to command Army Group B and with it, the responsibility for the defense of Normandy.Upon taking his new post and setting up his headquarters in France, Rommel set to work attempting to implement the changes he saw as essential.Von Rundstedt’s, Rommel’s Superior, desire to prepare for a decisive inland battle, coupled with Hitler’s demands for heavy fortifications at certain points along the coast had resulted in a disjointed series of efforts.
22 Rommel's WallThe first line of defense would consist of four belts of underwater obstacles, many to be armed with explosives to blow up landing craft, or built to tear the bottoms out of the same. In his own notes, Rommel set out the following plan for the construction of obstacles in the water: A belt in six feet of water at mean high tide. 2. A belt in six feet of water at half-tide of a twelve- foot tide. 3. A belt in six feet of water at low tide. 4. A belt in twelve feet of water at low tide.
23 Rommel's WallRommel building improvements, laying minefields on the beaches and beach approaches and in the English Channel.Fortifications were strengthened, fields of fire were improved, and obstacles of all sorts were placed in the water at approaches to possible landing sites.In addition, flood plains were flooded and fields were positioned with poles to prevent their possible use as landing areas.
27 Time Line0558 The twenty mile wide distance between Caen and Vierville-sur-Mer was filled with an invading armada of Allied troop transport vessels, battleships and other warships than began to make their presence felt as the they began to pound the German defensive shore positions.0630 The assault waves begin to touch down. The situation on Omaha is the worst. 0638 Omaha was there worst at Dog Green, directly in front of strongpoints guarding the Vierville draw and under heavy flanking fire from emplacements to the west.
28 Time Line0710 The Assault on Point du Hoc was led by Col. James Earl Rudder the U. S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion to victory in one of the greatest feats of the Normandy invasion on the German gun emplacements at Point du Hoc.The site of Point du Hoc is located between Omaha and Utah beaches at the tip of a cliff that towers more than 100 feet above a narrow, rock strewn beach.The Germans considered the battery site there to be unassailable but, the Rangers scaled the cliff and killed or captured the garrison.
29 Time LineIronically, the Rangers found that the artillery pieces thought to be in place at Point du Hoc were gone.A Ranger patrol located these missing guns arranged in firing positions in a field some distance beyond the site near the village of Cricqueville-en- Bessin.Thinking quickly the patrol placed thermite grenades in the firing mechanisms, effectively rendered these guns inoperable and accomplished their mission.
34 Time Line0700 As the second wave touched down at Omaha the conditions were unbearable. Enemy mortar and artillery batteries, unscathed by Allied fire Inch by inch the troops on Omaha moved forward, up through the bluffs and onto the flatland above. In the absence of much room to maneuver, their attack had been unoriginal, a straightforward frontal attack.
35 Higgins BoatConstructed from plywood, this shallow-draft, barge-like boat could ferry a platton-sized complement of 36 men to shore at 9 knot (17 km/h). Men generally entered the boat by climbing down a cargo net hung from the side of their troop transport; they exited by charging down the boat's bow ramp.35
36 Omaha BeachThe largest of the D-Day assault areas, Omaha Beach stretched over 10 km (6 miles) between the fishing port of Port-en-Bessin on the east and the mouth of the Vire River on the west.The western third of the beach was backed by a seawall 3 meters (10 feet) high, and the whole beach was overlooked by cliffs 30 meters high.The American forces 34,250 troops on Omaha Beach and of those about 2,000 were killed, injured or were missing in action (MIA)
43 Utah BeachThe Utah landing area was approximately 5 km (3 miles) wide and was located northwest of the Carentan estuary on sandy, duned beaches.The American forces landed numbered 23,250 at Utah Beach and the casualties were relatively light: 137 dead and 60 MIA. About one-tenth the about of the casualties at Omaha.
48 German ReactionsGerman reaction to the landings was slow and confused.Though reports of airborne and seaborne attacks had been pouring into German headquarters since early morning, it was believed that these were only diversions and the real weight of the invasion would come near Calais.The problem was compounded by the German command structure which had been deliberately set up by Hitler to ensure that he himself was the only person who could deploy several key Panzer divisions.
49 German ReactionsBecause he always slept late and no-one dared wake him, on the morning of the invasion it was some time before Hitler was informed.by the time these divisions were released, it was too late – the allies were firmly ashore and the opportunity to drive them back into the sea had gone.Only the 21st Panzer Division attempted a major counter-attack on D-Day, and this fizzled out due to a lack of infantry support.
50 Gold Beach Gold beach was in the center The sector called ‘gold’ was five miles wideCommander of the invasion force for Gold: Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey.Main assault Unit: British 50th Infantry Division, part of the British 2nd ArmyMain regiments used: Dorsetshire, Hampshire, East Yorkshire and DevonshireGerman force: 716th Division and units of the 352nd Division
51 Gold BeachMany of the defenders were in exposed positions and were vulnerable to Allied naval and aerial gunfire.The time for landing at Gold Beach was set forThey however had problems because the sea water raised and covered the anti tank creations or marines.This made it so engineers could not go in and disarm them
52 Gold Beach The first twenty armored cars were damaged because of this. However, the naval and aerial bombardment neutralized the German defenders By midday the beach was in control of the British.Only 400 casualties while taking the beach.
53 Juno Beach Juno beach was the location of their first landing 14,000 troops stormed the beach on that dayOnce on shore, faced German strongholdsMachine gun fire11 heavy batteries of 155mm guns and 9 medium batteries of 75 mm gunsBeaches laced with mines
54 Juno Beach 340 Canadian lives were taken 574 severely wounded Toronto’s Queen’s Own Rifles received the worse beating/loss of all the Canadian unitsOnce the beach had been taken them and the allies moved inland through the towns ofThe 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had penetrated further into France then any other Allied force had, despite strong resistance at the water’s edge, and later counter-attacks on the beachhead by Germans.
58 Sword Beach Furthest East of the five beaches About 9 miles to the NE of Caen and less then 10 miles from Gold Beach and 4 from the start of Juno BeachSword Beach was about five miles across the town of Ouistreham.Sword Beach was lightly defended compared to other places.
59 Sword BeachThey met little resistance at Sword and the troops went inland to meet with paratroopers.Although it took very little time for the fighting on Sword Beach many casualties happened because of arial attacks, and a few Panzer Divisions from the Germans.In all there were 630 casualties.
60 SummaryWhat you have just hear about and seen were some of the major conflicts and highlights of the D-Day assault.This by no means won the war; however, this did sway the power from the Axis to the Allies in Europe.The years of tedious planning and preparation had proved to be important to the outcome of the war.
61 ConclusionIn a time when everyone in American Culture current can talk about the effects of war in either first hand knowledge or in having felt the pain of separation of a friend or loved one deployed to a combat zone, it is important to understand the nature of war.Do not let us speak of darker days; let us rather speak of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days--the greatest days our country has ever lived Winston Churchill ( ), From a speech, October 29, 1941.