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The D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy

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1943: Roosevelt and Churchill's decision to launch Operation Overlord.
6th June 1944: D-Day
Allied landing of 130,000 men across 80 km of Normandy coastline.
21st August 1944: German defeat in the Falaise – Chambois pocket.

OVERLORD: prélude
1943: a second front is opened in Europe to take pressure off the Red Army. The Normandy shoreline is chosen for the allied landings. The intervention force assembled on British soil comprises 5 land divisions and 3 airborne divisions under the command of Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery.

Aim of the operation: to create a bridgehead for the Western allies in order to gain access to the German territories

The operation unfolds: the first hours of the allied landings known as D-Day.

Operation assessment on the evening of the 6th of June: the planned advancement towards Caen and Bayeux has not been achieved; however a solid 80 km bridgehead has been set up along the Channel coastline.
From the 6th of June to the 21st of August: the British Army is in charge of controlling German armoured divisions around Caen. The Americans succeed in isolating the Cotentin peninsula and take control of Cherbourg. To the South, Operation Cobra halts the German armoured divisions.
Overlord ends on August 21st with the fall of the Chambois pocket, thus leading the way to the liberation of Paris on August 25th.

- 5 beaches, the operation's focal points: Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Sword Beach
- 135,000 men landed; 22,000 paratroopers; 20,000 vehicles including 900 tanks; 5,000 boats of which 4,000 landing
- 130 warships; 12,000 planes, 5,000 tons of bombs dropped on the Normandy coast
- 2 artificial bridges at Arromanches and opposite Omaha Beach
- The allies lost some 10,300 men, the Germans 230,000 together with 2,200 armoured tanks
- Across the 3 departments, more than 13,000 civilian losses during the battle, essentially due to allied bombing.

Today in Normandy:

- Battle of Normandy historical site (8 arrowed routes in Normandy)
- Memorial de Caen, Memorial du Mont Ormel, Arromanches, Pointe du Hoc, Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer
- Utah and Omaha beaches, several Allied and German military cemeteries (Colleville-sur-Mer, La Cambe)
- Sainte-Mère-Eglise
Late June 2006, the Normandy Regional Council decided to initiate proceedings to request that the D-Day landing beaches, together with other major sites having left their mark on Normandy in 1944, be registered on the Unesco World Heritage List.

  • Carte du débarquement
  • Parachutage à Sainte-Mère-Eglise
  • Pointe du Hoc
  • Char Shermann - poche de Falaise
  • Cimetière américain à Colleville