Today marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings which undoubtedly shaped the modern world. Allied forces from the United Kingdom, America and Canada stormed the beaches of Normandy with no promise of return. A mix of soldiers, sailors and airmen united with the common goal of reaching the beaches. Their sacrifice 75 years ago secured our today.
More than 150,000 soldiers were involved in the carefully shaped deception plan, which was formed weeks ahead of the attack. Airborne troops were dropped behind enemy lines, whilst more than 7,000 ships were gathered off the Normandy coast for the main assault. The attacks on the beaches were shared between five assault divisions from 06:30 onwards on the 6th June.
Although the landings and progression into Normandy was successful, allied forces remained at risk as they continued to advance into France and defend the towns of Normandy. By August, 1944, around 10% of the 2 million allied troops who reached France over those months were dead, wounded or MIA.
The World War II operation, code-named Neptune, still remains the largest military operation by sea in the history of war. After capturing Caen, which was the significant objective for the D-Day operation, it was finally liberated on the 18th July.
D-Day ultimately led to the liberation of France; it created an opening for the American army to advance and take back the country’s economic and physical resources, whilst also leading to the capture of Germany’s weapons and air defence network.
Although the victory wouldn’t win the war before Christmas, Imperial War Museums state that the victory acted as a key turning point for success in 1944. Ultimately, the loss in France convinced the German High Command that total defeat was now inevitable…
World leaders have arrived in France for the big commemorative event. Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,000 uniformed graves overlook Omaha beach, is a fitting location for today’s remembrance.
Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump will be joined by 170 World War II veterans, 35 of those who landed on the beaches of Normandy. 15,000 others will also join them in the service and flyover of US and French Jets.
In an attempt to finish this blog with a fitting end, author Stephen Ambrose captures the significance of the day perfectly…
‘At the core, the soldiers knew the difference between right and wrong, and they didn’t want to live in a world in which wrong prevailed. So they fought, and won, and all of us, living and yet to be born, must be forever profoundly grateful.’