Remembering D-Day


During World War II (1939-1945), 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. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

What does the “D” in D Day mean?

There has been some confusion regarding the meaning of the “D” in D-Day. The most likely explanation is offered by the U.S. Army in their published manuals. The Army began to use the codes “H-hour” and “D-Day” during World War I, to indicate the time or date of an operation’s beginning. So the “D” may simply refer to the “day” of invasion.

How many Allied troops were involved in D-Day?

On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British): 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.

11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. By the end of 11 June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.

For many years, the Allied casualty’s figures for D-Day have been estimated at 10,000, including 2,500 dead. Broken down by nationality, the D-Day casualty figures that have been cited for many years are approximately 2,700 British, 946 Canadians, and 6,603 Americans. However recent painstaking research by the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation has achieved a more accurate – and much higher – figure for the Allied personnel who were killed on D-Day. They have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have verified 2,499 American D-Day fatalities and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413 dead (much higher than the traditional figure of 2,500 dead).

After further studies over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from 21st Army Group (British, Canadian and Polish ground forces), 125,847 from the US ground forces. The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded. The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the 425,000 total, above).

Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9,386 American, 17,769 British, 5,002 Canadian and 650 Poles. The bodies of many American casualties were repatriated to the USA, where they were reburied.


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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bettylouise31
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 14:59:21

    Thank you very much. I knew D – DAY was,coming up soon. I don’t need to check it out. I remember the day very much and the excitement here at home that war would soon be over. The horror of watching the news reels (theater) every Saturday as we watch the invasion.


    • The Crafty Lady In Combat Boots
      Jun 06, 2015 @ 17:08:24

      Wow I can’t imagine watching the news and it was happening then. I just have stories from my father. Not just that I love history but also being retired military I want to let people know what are country has done and not to forget the people that helped and gave their lives so we have what we have today. Have a great day.


  2. NickyB.
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 18:20:28

    Thank you for this post. I learn so much from you.


  3. theoldfellowgoesrunning
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 00:22:39

    Thank you for sharing. Such a well researched and presented post, and so important to keep this date alive. I never knew what the “D” represented. It would have been such an incredible operation to put together and coordinate without the communication technology we embrace today.
    Remembering those that gave of themselves and gave their lives.


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