From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
June 6th, the Allied Nations of World War II celebrated the invasion that began the end of German occupation; the turning point of the war. The planning for D-Day took months; with a deception plan utilizing General Patton commanding First Army Group to stage as though the invasion would be through Calais (he actually commanded Third Army). This deception was in the hopes that much of the German forces would be shifted to meet the Allies at that location. It worked in part.
On D-Day, Allied forces consisted primarily of American, British and Canadian troops but also included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealander, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air or ground support. The troops landed at five beaches around Normandy, France, code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. The main body consisted of 156,115 U.S., British and Canadian troops, 6,939 ships and landing vessels, and 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders that delivered airborne troops. It was the largest naval, air, and land military operation in history.
A few facts:
- The landing craft boats were originally designed for use in Louisiana swamps.
- The son of President Roosevelt was part of the unit that stormed the beaches of Normandy; he was killed in action.
- At Omaha Beach alone, 9,387 Americans are buried.
Friends of the National World War II Memorial held a special ceremony June 6th at the WWII memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Wreaths were placed at the Atlantic Arch of the memorial. If you get a chance, visit the memorial in Washington, DC; the National WWII Museum in New Orleans; or any of the American cemeteries in Europe (the only land we requested, as there was no way to bring our service men and women home at that time).