RANDOLPH, NJ- June 6, 1944, also known as “D-Day”, will forever live on as one of the most remarkable days in the history of mankind. The epic scope of this decisive battle in World War II is difficult to envision happening in today’s world; the fact that it took place 76 years ago is virtually inconceivable.
Technically named Overlord, and later referred to D-Day, the operation was the largest air, land, and seaborne invasion in the history of the world. The Allied invasion of Europe on the beaches of Normandy, France, included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men, mainly from the United States, Great Brittan, and Canada, with help from Poland, France, Australia, Belgium, Greece, New Zealand, and many more.
The invasion had to be timed perfectly, and included requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and time of day. An extensive aerial and naval bombardment preceded the amphibious landing over 5 sections of the Normandy coast.
For the men in the Allied Forces, the mission was simple yet daunting: The Higgins Boat would get close to shore or up on shore if it could, and when ramp went down - jump, swim, run, or crawl to the cliffs. Many of the young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. In some locations, they faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection, navigating land mines, wooden stakes, barbed wire, and heavy gun fire along the way.
When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; yet the operation was a success when they had finally secured and connected all five beaches by June 12. The invasion is widely considered the turning point in World War II, marking the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers ( Japan, Italy, and others ) who were attempting to take over the world.
After gaining the foothold in France, the Allied Powers were able to force the Germans and the Axis Powers back into retreat, starting the demise which led to ultimate surrender 15 months later.