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Invasion Of Normandy

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Colonel George A. Taylor quoted, "Two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die, now let's get the hell out of here". (World War II: pg 503)

George A. Taylor

At the beginning of World War II, Germany invaded Poland, causing France, Great Britain, and Canada to declare war on Germany. Later in the spring of 1940, the German army was ready to invade France, and within six weeks, the Germans defeated the Allies and seized control of France. (The History Guy: pg 2) Hitler's chain of fortifications around Europe ran from the channel on the west to the Apennines and Aegean Islands on the south and the Vistula on the east. To seize the control of northern Italy, Hitler sent a raiding force of five thousand men, primarily Canadian, attacked Dieppe, and more than half were killed, wounded, or captured. (World War II: pg 481). However, the control in Hitler's hands was about to hit its peak and fall.

By the spring of 1944, Hitler's chain of fortifications around Europe was formidable but uneven. The firmness of Nazi control was corrupted as internal forces of liberation organized with ever-mounting effect. (World War II: pg 481) At this point in time, the Germans knew that the Allies, also now including the United States, among others, would attempt an invasion of France to liberate Europe from Germany. (The History Guy: pg 2)

The Planning for then began in the spring of 1944. The Allies had spent more than a year preparing for the greatest amphibious invasion in history. (20th Century America: pg 178). The governments of America and England agreed that France should be the target of the invasion. The presidents of these governments, Roosevelt and Churchill, agreed that Eisenhower should command the operation.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

The main reason that Eisenhower was chosen to command the invasion was that he was fresh off of victories in Africa and Italy. (World War II: pg 481). After much debate, American and British planners had agreed to attack the Normandy coast instead of the Pas de Calais; which, being closer to England was the more obvious spot for and invasion. With Pas de Calais being the obvious spot of invasion, Allies started to convince the Germans that Calais was the spot to invade. To carry out this trick, landing craft, which in reality could barely float, gathered in English ports across from Calais and phony sabotage orders were sent to French resistance forces in the area. (20th Century America: pg 481). With how stupid Hitler was, German forces easily believed this prank. Hitler then ordered that the marquis, saboteurs, and spies of the resistance to prepare for the final struggle.

General Officers: Senior Army leaders Maj. Gen. Hugh Keen, left, Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower observe activity of the Normandy coast from the USS Augusta June 8.

Eisenhower had decided, after intensive consultation, that because of tide schedule, the most feasible days for landing were June 5th, 6th, and 7th. (World War II: pg483). Eisenhower chose June 5th for the start of the invasion, but had to be postponed due to bad weather that negated the Allies' biggest advantage, control of the skies over the 50-mile front. (20th Century America: pg 178). General Eisenhower told press that the invasion would be the largest of its type ever launched and that the Allies had assembled their mightiest land, sea, and air force for the purpose. (20th Century America: pg 180). The actual attack was to be accomplished by 176,475 men, 20,111 vehicles, 1,500 tanks, and 12,000 planes. (World War II: pg 482). In all Britain, Canada, and the United States, as well as the navies-in-exile of France, the Netherland, Norway, Poland, and Greece, supplied 1,213 warships for the invasion. The main task of the warships was to provide shore bombardment firepower for the troops going ashore, to guard the transports, and to conduct minesweeping and antisubmarine patrols on the flanks of the invasion corridors. The naval component of the operation was code-named operation Neptune. (Department of the Navy: pg 1). Neptune was very important because the operation backed up the men. If Neptune was invalid the outcome of the attack may have been different.

On the Morning of June 6th, the forecast had improved enough for the Supreme Allied Commander, General D. Eisenhower, to give the order: "O.K. We'll go". (20th Century America: pg 178). After the command to attack he also gave the men his respect by quoting one of the greatest war quotes in history. "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." "Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking." (20th Century America: pg 178).

At the same time Rommel, the German commander, told his troops, "The war will be won or lost on the beaches". (World War II: pg 482). The invasion then began bright and early at 5:00 in the morning of June 6th, when Eisenhower

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