6 JUNE 1944
I- Political context and the preparation for the invasion
Number of deaths in World War I (1914-1918)
Russian Empire: 1,250,000
The United States: 117,000
The first battleground of World War II
September 1st, 1939 : The invasion of Poland by Hitler forced France and Britain to declare war on Germany
May 10th, 1940: Germany invades France.
May 22nd, 1940: Germany occupies the north
and west of France.
The Atlantic Wall
June 22nd, 1941: Over 3 million German troops invaded Russia and, knowing that an invasion from the west would occur, Hitler ordered an
Atlantic Wall to be built with fortification and obstacles on the shore.
The Allies Plan
Keeping the D-Day secret and misleading the
Germans of the exact landing location with an entire fake army.
Isolating the landing zone by destroying the
German Air fields, aircraft industry, the rail and road bridges.
Landing before dawn on Tuesday June 6 th,
Using the good lighting condition from the full moon and the low tide to expose the obstacles and metal structures on the beach.
The German Plan
The first 24 hours would be decisive. The Allies had to be stopped on the beach.
Concentrating the troops in the northern beach of
France, the Pas-de-Calais. The Germans thought the Allies would cross the Channel from England to the shortest crossing point, the Pas-de-Calais.
The 4th Infantry Division
The 4th I.D. arrived in England on January 29 th
1944 and were commanded by Major General
Raymond O. Barton.
II- The D-Day
The Allied forces involved in the landings were the British,
Canadians, the Americans and the Germans.
During the previous night of the landing, 3 Airborne Divisions are dropped on each side of the landing area to prepare and secure the area.
The 4th Infantry Division landed at Utah Beach at 0630. The beach was located more to the west of the landing zone and east coast of the Cotentin peninsula.
The objective was to capture Cherbourg.
A major event that contributed in the success
of the landings at Utah Beach was the wrong location. The few German troops expected the landing more to the north. There were less fortifications . This helped turn the Utah Beach landings into the least costly of the day.
One of the obstacles was that the plains behind the beaches were flooded by the
Germans to create swamps.
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., 56
years old assistant commander of the 4 th
Infantry Division, was the only general to land with the first assault wave on D-Day. When
Roosevelt realized the landing craft had drifted south with the current more than a mile from their objective, he personally made a reconnaissance of the area. Roosevelt’s famous quote was “We’ll start the war from here!” D-Day Timeline
First airborne troops begin to land
First bombers take off to attack targets
German radar detects