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Topic overview The planning phase and build-up

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2 Topic overview The planning phase and build-up
D Day,the securing of the beachhead and the break-out from Normandy

3 The furthest extent of Hitler’s empire in 1942

4 Section 1: The planning phase
Preparations for a ‘second front’ against Nazi Germany date back to 1942. The Allies knew they would have to capture a port to ensure the success of the invasion of France. A ‘dress-rehearsal’ took place in 1942 when a British-Canadian raid on the port of Dieppe was carried out. The aim was to capture and hold a French port for a short period to test German defences. The raid was a total disaster: of the 6,086 men who made it ashore, 4,384 were killed.

5 The raid on Dieppe ( )

6 Lessons learned The Dieppe raid had a major influence on the planning for D Day. The Americans would not commit to an invasion until they had ensured the following: Overwhelming force was assembled Air superiority over the invasion zone The Americans resisted strong political pressure from the USSR to launch a second front in 1943. The American troop build-up in Britain continued rapidly in , as did the intensity of air raids on Germany.

7 Roosevelt knew the risks of the invasion
Roosevelt knew the risks of the invasion. He resisted Stalin’s pressure for an early launch of the second front. This delay was the cause of much bitter feeling between the Russians and Americans.

8 American locomotives sent to England being unloaded from a Liberty Ship.

9 Air raids in preparation for D Day
The British and Americans began bombing targets in occupied France in preparation for D Day. The French railway system came under continuous attack. Raids were concentrated in the Calais region to mislead the Germans in to believing that was the intending invasion area. The Normandy region was bombed, but less heavily.

10 Operation Fortitude The Allies began a massive deception of operation to conceal the intended landing zone. A massive build-up of fake armies and equipment was concentrated in Kent to fool the Germans in to thinking Calais was the intended target. Canvas and rubber tanks were assembled to confuse any German aerial reconnaissance aircraft. (In fact there were no German spy planes over England in 1944)

11 Fortitude – an inflatable rubber tank

12 Fortitude – canvas aircraft
What do such operations reveal about Allied planning for D day ?

13 Fortitude- fake radio signals
Enormous amounts of ‘fake’ wireless messages were transmitted relating to possible invasion plans in the Calais region in the hope the Germans would believe them.

14 Agent ‘Garbo’ The British Secret Service (SIS) managed to infiltrate a double agent in to the German intelligence apparatus. Agent Garbo (Juan Pujol Garcia) passed false intelligence to the Germans leading them to believe the invasion would come in the Pas de Calais region of France. Normandy was the best kept secret of the war.

15 Hitler expected the invasion here in the Pas de Calais

16 The French resistance (Maquis) assisted the preparations for D Day by disrupting French railways and causing other acts of sabotage to the telegraph and telephone system. Such acts brought terrible retribution on the local populations.

17 June 1944 The timing was now favourable for an invasion
The U boats had been defeated The German air force was largely grounded for lack of fuel.

18 Hitler’s Festung Europa (fortress Europe)

19 The Atlantic Wall Despite all Allied efforts, the Germans obviously expected an Allied invasion somewhere in France. Hitler appointed two of his ablest Generals, Gerd Von Rundstedt and Erwin Rommel to take charge of strengthening the French coast line from attack.

20 Von Rundstedt with Hitler and at his trial at Nurenberg.

21 From Norway to the South of France the Germans built up a defensive line against the expected invasion. Tens of thousands of Russian POWs were put to work to construct elaborate defences. The line was by no means complete or evenly spread by the time of D Day.

22 Despite gaps in the line, the defences were formidable in some places.



25 Futuristic looking German blockhouse on the island of Jersey.

26 The remains of a German blockhouse today.
                                                                The remains of a German blockhouse today.

27 Rommel inspects anti-tank defences on a French beach.

28 ‘Operation Overlord’ planning meeting.
General Eisenhower Admiral Ramsay General Montgomery Leigh-Mallory ‘Operation Overlord’ planning meeting.

29 Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower gives a pep talk to American paratroopers the evening before D Day.

30 Southampton docks

31 Landing Craft

32 Churchill visits Southampton



35 The capture of Cherbourg was a key objective
The capture of Cherbourg was a key objective. It was not captured until the end of June and was badly damaged. The Allies could not risk launching the invasion without a useable port. They constructed an artificial harbour which could be towed across the channel.

36 Sections of a Mulberry Harbour today in Normandy.

37 Towed to France in sections the Mulberry Harbours allowed the Allies to unload supplies until Cherbourg was captured.



40 Section 2: D day and the breakout from Normandy

41 The troops spent up to four hours in the landing craft and most were violently seasick.


43 American troops on Omaha Beach, scene of the heaviest fighting and over 5,000 US deaths on D Day.


45 British troops approaching Sword Beach

46 British troops landing at Sword Beach



49 Secured beachhead area D Day +1
156,000 men ashore on day 1


51 German POWs arriving at Southampton

52 French civilians ponder their liberation from Nazi occupation as they survey the ruins of their homes.

53 Caen was a D-Day objective, but took more than two months to capture, by which time the town lay in ruins.


55 The capture of the town of Carentan, linking Utah and Omaha beaches, was crucial to the survival of the Allied beachhead

56 The Mayor of Southampton honours the millionth American soldier to embark for France. D Day + 1 month.

57 French civilians place flowers at a US cemetery in Normandy.



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