On Tuesday, the 6th of June, 1944, began the largest invasion in the history of the world to ever be conducted by sea. This is known as the Normandy Landings and had the code name: Operation Neptune. This day, which was called D-Day, began the final push of the Allied Forces against Germany, who had conquered northwestern Europe, and culminated in the Allied Forces winning the war on the western battle front.
Though this operation would be carried out in 1944, the planning had begun several months earlier even as at 1943. Added to that, Operation Bodyguard was another Allied Forces operation to throw off the Nazis from deciphering when and where the landings were going to occur. The 6th of June, 1944 (D-Day) had a less than perfect weather, however the operation could not be postponed because doing so would delay the invasion for another two weeks. To defend against the Allied invasion was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was tasked by Adolf Hitler to shore up German forces on the Atlantic Wall.
The Normandy landing involved about 24,000 airborne troops of various nationalities, who rained down from the sky after severe bombardment by the air force and navy. Foot soldiers and tanks began rolling unto the French coast at exactly 6:30. These soldiers had to deal with heavy gunfire from the opposition as well as wade through a minefield and obstacles. Some landing crafts were deviated from their course because of the fierce winds and soldiers had to land away from their planned locations.
The Normandy coast was subdivided into regions which were named thus: Omaha, Sword, Utah, Juno, and Gold. Most of the casualties realized during this operation occurred in Omaha, while the heaviest resistance was experienced in Omaha and Utah. Some of the casualties resulted not from enemy fire but from the obstacles the infantry faced as they advanced along the French coast. The high cliffs of Omaha was another reason for the casualties experienced.
The Allied Forces did not realize any of their planned goals on the first day of the incursion. One major objective of the operation, the city of Caen, remained within the possession of the German forces until the 21st of July when it was finally liberated by the Allies. Juno and Gold were the only two beaches that were linked on Day 1 of the operation. All five regions would not be linked until June 12. In spite of these facts, the operation was a success as the Allies gained ground in the German controlled northeastern Europe, which expanded as the months unfolded.
On the first day, the Allied Forces lost at least 10,000 men, while the German casualties was estimated to be between 4,000 and 9,000 men. Over 3,000 noncombatants were estimated to have lost their lives as well, on D-Day and the next day. Today, in the area, there are several memorials, museums, and cemeteries that play host to many visitors all year round.