D-Day is the largest seaborne invasion in history
EUROPE will tomorrow mark the the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. But what was D-Day and what does the D stand for?
D-Day refers the Normandy Landings when Allied troops invaded Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War.
The largest seaborne invasion in history took place on June 6 1944 and led to the liberation of now-West Europe from Nazi control.
Allied forces suffered about 10,000 casualties on D-Day as British, US and Canadian troops landed by air and sea and moved inland.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill described it as the “most complicated and difficult” operation in history.
What does the D in D-Day stand for?
Now synonymous with the Normandy Landings, D-Day is a military term referring to the day on which a attack will be initiated.
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The invasion, code-named Operation Overlord, needed to ambush German troop so that D-Day replaced June 6, 1944, in all communications between the Allies.
We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it
General Dwight Eisenhower
The use of military term was used to prevent the Nazis thwarting the attack if these communications were intercepted.
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The days surrounding D-Day could be determined using plus and minus signs. For example, D-1 would mean the day before June 6 and D+3 would refer to third day after D-Day.
A similar method is used by the military when discussing the hours within a day.
Allied forces suffered about 10,000 casualties on D-Day
H-Hour is the exact hour an operation is started and H-2 means two hours before an attack in launched.
Was D-Day a success?
Operation Overlord is hailed as a turning point in the Second World War, but there were also significant problems to overcome.
D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5 but bad weather conditions forced the Allies to postpone.
The invasion relied on the phase of the moon and tides so it was decided that the attack would go ahead the next day, rather than waiting two or three weeks for the conditions to return.
Strong winds on the night of the invasion blew the landing crafts east of their targets and soldiers were forced to regroup while under heavy German fire.
The impact of this was most devastating on Omaha beach. The US 1st and 29th Divisions suffered approximately 2,000 casualties on D-Day.
British, American and Canadian paratroopers enter Normandy
General Dwight Eisenhower said: “This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be.
“We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success.”
The Normandy coast was divided into five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The plan was to ambush German troops and mount an devastating attack on the Nazi army.
British, American and Canadian paratroopers were deployed before infantry soldiers landed on the French coast via the English Channel.