Normandy Invasion - STUNNING D-DAY FACTS

STUNNING D-DAY FACTS (Illustration) Biographies Famous Historical Events Famous People Social Studies American History World War II

Many photographers took pictures of Allied forces landing on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day.  This image was taken by Charles Turner.  It is online via the BBC.  Click on the image for a greatly enhanced view.


It isn't just stories like the capture of Pegasus Bridge which boggle the mind. Consider the following D-Day facts:

  • Until the very last minute, the place of invasion - Normandy - was the most heavily guarded secret on the planet.
  • Even the units conducting the initial assaults did not know the locations of their landings.
  • Surprise was crucial since Germany had 55 divisions in France - the Allies could transport no more than 8 divisions on D-Day morning.
  • It is estimated that nearly 2 million soldiers, sailors and airmen were involved in Operation Overlord, including U.S., British, and Canadians who were scheduled to fight after men on the ground secured a Normandy bridgehead.
  • 195,000 naval personnel manned 6,939 naval vessels (including 1,200 warships and 15 hospital ships).
  • Training maps used fake names.
  • The United States shipped 7 million tons of supplies (that translates into 14 billion pounds of material).
  • Of those supplies, ammunition accounted for 448,000 tons.
  • Air-support operations - often overlooked in the success of D-Day - sustained significant losses:  Between the 1st of April and the 5th of June, 1944, the Allies flew 14,000 missions losing 12,000 airmen and 2,000 aircraft.
  • 127 more planes were lost on D-Day.
  • By the end of the Normandy campaign, 28,000 airmen were dead.
  • Instead of two days, it took Germany's 2nd Waffen SS Division two weeks to reach the front. Allied air power, Eisenhower's spies and French Resistance contacts all contributed to that result.
  • There are 9,386 graves in the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Each grave faces west, toward America.
  • 307 of those graves contain the remains of "unknown" soldiers.
  • 1,837 British names are listed at Bayeux for those who were never found.
  • 21,500 German dead are buried at LaCambe.

Had it not been for the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming (in 1928) and further research and testing by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain (in the late 30s and early 40s) - proving that penicillin could successfully treat infections - the death tolls would have been far greater.

Five years before he died, General Eisenhower (who was a conquering hero at war's end and later served two terms as America's president) came back to Colleville-sur-Mer. It was the first, and only, time he made that journey after the war. Looking over Omaha Beach, he spoke from his heart:

. . . these men came here - British and our allies, and Americans - to storm these beaches for one purpose only, not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom. . . . Many thousands of men have died for such ideals as these. . . but these young boys. . . were cut off in their prime. . . I devoutly hope that we will never again have to see such scenes as these. I think and hope, and pray, that humanity will have learned. . . we must find some way . . . to gain an eternal peace for this world. ("Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life," by Carlo D'Este, p. 705.)

Decades after D-Day, even though humanity seems farther than ever from finding "some way to gain an eternal peace for this world," everyone can agree on at least one point. Those who fought, and died, to free Europe on that day altered the course of history.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: May 06, 2019

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"STUNNING D-DAY FACTS" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2004. Jun 06, 2020.
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