June 18, 2019

75th Anniversary of D-Day

(Franklin, GA) — The James Stewart Chapter, NSDAR, would like to thank Heard County’s World War II veterans for their service to our country.

During World War II, the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region.

Photo: www.nationalww2museum.org

The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

After World War II began, Germany invaded and occupied northwestern France beginning in May 1940.

The Americans entered the war in December 1941, and by 1942 they and the British were considering the possibility of a major Allied invasion across the English Channel.

Eisenhower selected June 5, 1944, as the date for the invasion.

Bad weather on days leading up to the operation caused it to be delayed for 24 hours. On the morning of June 5, Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord. He told the troops, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.”

Later that day, more than 5,000 ships and landing craft carrying troops and supplies left England for the trip across the Channel to France, while more than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support of the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines. The amphibious invasions began at 6:30 am.

U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties. By the day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

Less than a week later, on June 11, the beaches were fully secured and over 326,000 troops, more than 50,000 vehicles and some 100,000 tons of equipment had landed at Normandy.

By the end of August 1944, the Allies had reached the Seine River, Paris was liberated and the Germans had been removed from northwestern France, effectively concluding the Battle of Normandy.

The Allied forces then prepared to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet troops moving in from the east.

The Normandy invasion began to turn the tide against the Nazis.

A significant psychological blow, it also prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front against the advancing Soviets. The following spring, on May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

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