The Western Allies of World War II launched the largest amphibious invasion in history when they assaulted Normandy, located on the northern coast of France, on 6 June 1944. The invaders were able to establish a beachhead as part of Operation Overlord after a successful "D-Day," the first day of the invasion.
Allied land forces came from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Free French forces. In the weeks following the invasion, Polish forces and contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece and the Netherlands participated in the ground campaign; most also provided air and naval support alongside elements of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Navy.[nb 1]
The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks and naval bombardments. In the early morning, amphibious landings commenced on five beaches codenamed Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah, with troops from the United States landing on Omaha and Utah, Britain landing on Gold and Sword and Canada landing on Juno. During the evening the remaining elements of the airborne divisions landed. Land forces used on D-Day sailed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth.
Allied forces rehearsed their D-Day roles for months before the invasion. On 28 April 1944, in south Devon on the English coast, 749 U.S. soldiers and sailors were killed when German torpedo boats surprised one of these landing exercises, Exercise Tiger.
In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allied forces conducted a deception operation, Operation Fortitude, aimed at misleading the Germans with respect to the date and place of the invasion.
There were several leaks prior to or on D-Day. Through the Cicero affair, the Germans obtained documents containing references to Overlord, but these documents lacked all detail. Double Cross agents, such as the Spaniard Juan Pujol (code-named Garbo), played an important role in convincing the German High Command that Normandy was at best a diversionary attack. U.S. Major General Henry Miller, chief supply officer of the US 9th Air Force, during a party at Claridge's Hotel in London complained to guests of the supply problems he was having but that after the invasion, which he told them would be before 15 June, supply would be easier. After being told, Eisenhower reduced Miller to lieutenant colonel [Associated Press, June 10, 1944] and sent him back to the U.S. where he retired. Another such leak was General Charles de Gaulle's radio message after D-Day. He, unlike all the other leaders, stated that this invasion was the real invasion. This had the potential to ruin the Allied deceptions Fortitude North and Fortitude South. In contrast, Gen. Eisenhower referred to the landings as the initial invasion.
Only ten days each month were suitable for launching the operation: a day near the full moon was needed both for illumination during the hours of darkness and for the spring tide, the former to illuminate navigational landmarks for the crews of aircraft, gliders and landing craft, and the latter to expose defensive obstacles placed by the German forces in the surf on the seaward approaches to the beaches. A full moon occurred on 6 June. Allied Expeditionary Force Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower had tentatively selected 5 June as the date for the assault. The weather was fine during most of May, but deteriorated in early June. On 4 June, conditions were clearly unsuitable for a landing; wind and high seas would make it impossible to launch landing craft from larger ships at sea, low clouds would prevent aircraft finding their targets. The Allied troop convoys already at sea were forced to take shelter in bays and inlets on the south coast of Britain for the night.
It seemed possible that everything would have to be cancelled and the troops returned to their embarkation camps (which would be almost impossible, as the enormous movement of follow-up formations into them was already proceeding). The next full moon period would be nearly a month away. At a vital meeting on 5 June, Eisenhower's chief meteorologist (Group Captain J.M. Stagg) forecast a brief improvement for 6 June. Commander of all land forces for the invasion General Bernard Montgomery and Eisenhower's Chief of Staff General Walter Bedell Smith wished to proceed with the invasion. Commander of the Allied Air Forces Air Chief Marshal Leigh Mallory was doubtful, but Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Bertram Ramsay believed that conditions would be marginally favorable. On the strength of Stagg's forecast, Eisenhower ordered the invasion to proceed. As a result, prevailing overcast skies limited Allied air support, and no serious damage would be done to the beach defences on Omaha and Juno.
The Germans meanwhile took comfort from the existing poor conditions, which were worse over Northern France than over the English Channel itself, and believed no invasion would be possible for several days. Some troops stood down and many senior officers were away for the weekend. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took a few days' leave to celebrate his wife's birthday, while dozens of division, regimental and battalion commanders were away from their posts conducting war games just prior to the invasion.
The Allies assigned codenames to the various operations involved in the invasion. Overlord was the name assigned to the establishment of a large-scale lodgement on the northern portion of the Continent. The first phase, the establishment of a secure foothold, was codenamed Neptune. According to the D-Day Museum:
Officers with knowledge of D-Day were not to be sent where there was the slightest danger of being captured. These officers were given the codename of "Bigot", derived from the words "To Gib" (To Gibraltar) that was stamped on the papers of officers who took part in the North African invasion in 1942. On the night of 27 April, during Exercise Tiger, a pre-invasion exercise off the coast of Slapton Sands beach, several American LSTs were attacked by German E boats and among the 638 Americans killed in the attack and a further 308 killed by friendly fire, ten "Bigots" were listed as missing. As the invasion would be cancelled if any were captured or unaccounted for, their fate was given the highest priority and eventually all ten bodies were recovered.
The total troops, vehicles and supplies landed over the period of the invasion were:
The invasion fleet was drawn from eight different navies, comprising 6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 transport vessels (landing ships and landing craft), and 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels.
The overall commander of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, providing close protection and bombardment at the beaches, was Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay. The Allied Naval Expeditionary Force was divided into two Naval Task Forces: Western (Rear-Admiral Alan G Kirk) and Eastern (Rear-Admiral Sir Philip Vian).
The warships provided cover for the transports against the enemy—whether in the form of surface warships, submarines, or as an aerial attack—and gave support to the landings through shore bombardment. These ships included the Allied Task Force "O".
The number of military forces at the disposal of Nazi Germany reached its peak during 1944. Tanks on the east front peaked at 5,202 in November 1944, while total aircraft in the Luftwaffe inventory peaked at 5,041 in December 1944. By D-Day 157 German divisions were stationed in the Soviet Union, 6 in Finland, 12 in Norway, 6 in Denmark, 9 in Germany, 21 in the Balkans, 26 in Italy and 59 in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, these statistics are somewhat misleading since a significant number of the divisions in the east were depleted; German records indicate that the average personnel complement was at about 50% in the spring of 1944.
A more detailed order of battle for D-Day itself can be found at Normandy landings.
Standing in the way of the Allies was the English Channel, an obstacle that had frustrated the ambitions of the Spanish Armada and Napoleon Bonaparte's Navy. Compounding the difficulty of invasion was the extensive Atlantic Wall, ordered by Hitler in his Directive 51. Believing that any forthcoming landings would be timed for high tide (this caused the landings to be timed for low tide), Hitler had the entire wall fortified with tank top turrets and extensive barbed wire, and laid a million mines to deter landing craft. The sector that was attacked was guarded by four divisions.
The following units were deployed in a static defensive mode in the areas of the actual landings:
Other divisions occupied the areas around the landing zones, including:
Rommel's defensive measures were frustrated by a dispute over armoured doctrine. In addition to his two army groups, Rundstedt also commanded the headquarters of Panzer Group West under General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg (usually referred to as "von Geyr"). This formation was nominally an administrative HQ for Rundstedt's armoured and mobile formations, but it was later to be brought into the line in Normandy and renamed Fifth Panzer Army. Geyr and Rommel disagreed over the deployment and use of the vital Panzer divisions.
Rommel recognised that the Allies would possess air superiority and would be able to harass his movements from the air. He therefore proposed that the armoured formations be deployed close to the invasion beaches. In his words, it was better to have one Panzer division facing the invaders on the first day, than three Panzer divisions three days later when the Allies would already have established a firm beachhead. Geyr argued for the standard doctrine that the Panzer formations should be concentrated in a central position around Paris and Rouen, and deployed en masse against the main Allied beachhead when this had been identified.
The argument was eventually brought before Hitler for arbitration. He characteristically imposed an unworkable compromise solution. Only three Panzer divisions were given to Rommel, too few to cover all the threatened sectors. The remainder, nominally under Geyr's control, were actually designated as being in "OKW Reserve". Only three of these were deployed close enough to intervene immediately against any invasion of Northern France; the other four were dispersed in southern France and the Netherlands. Hitler reserved to himself the authority to move the divisions in OKW Reserve, or commit them to action. On 6 June many Panzer division commanders were unable to move because Hitler had not given the necessary authorisation, and his staff refused to wake him upon news of the invasion.
The other two armoured divisions over which Rommel had operational control, the 2nd Panzer Division and 116th Panzer Division, were deployed near the Pas de Calais in accordance with German views about the likely Allied landing sites. Neither was moved from the Pas de Calais for at least fourteen days after the invasion.
The other mechanized divisions capable of intervening in Normandy were retained under the direct control of the German Armed Forces HQ (OKW) and were initially denied to Rommel:
Four divisions were deployed to Normandy within seven days of the invasion:
Three other divisions (the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, which had been refitting at Montauban in Southern France, and the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen and 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg which had been in transit from the Eastern Front on 6 June), were committed to battle in Normandy around twenty-one days after the first landings.
One more armoured division (the 9th Panzer Division) saw action only after the American breakout from the beachhead. Two other armoured divisions which had been in the west on 6 June (the 11th Panzer Division and 19th Panzer Division) did not see action in Normandy.
|GHQ||Dwight D. Eisenhower - SAC
Sir Arthur Tedder - Deputy SAC
Walter Bedell Smith - COSSAC
Bernard Montgomery (ground forces)
Trafford Leigh-Mallory (air forces)
Bertram Ramsay (naval forces)
Gerd von Rundstedt
Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg
Günther von Kluge
Hans von Salmuth
|Naval forces||Alan G. Kirk (US)|
|Utah Beach||Omar Bradley||Theodore Roosevelt Jr.|
Raymond O. Barton
James M. Gavin (airborne landings)
|Omaha Beach||Norman Cota|
|Juno Beach||Harry Crerar|
|Sword Beach||Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat|
The Allied invasion plans had called for the capture of Saint-Lô, Caen, and Bayeux on the first day, with all the beaches linked except Utah, and Sword (the last linked with paratroopers) and a front line 10 to 16 kilometres (6–10 mi) from the beaches. However, practically none of these objectives had been achieved. It took six weeks for British and Canadian troops to capture Caen, as they faced seven Panzer divisions, while their American allies, although advancing more rapidly, faced only two of these divisions. Overall the casualties had not been as heavy as some had feared (around 10,000 compared to the 20,000 Churchill had estimated) and the bridgeheads had withstood the expected counterattacks.
Once the beachhead was established, two artificial Mulberry harbours were towed across the English Channel in segments and made operational around D+3 (9 June). One was constructed at Arromanches by British forces, the other at Omaha Beach by American forces. By 19 June, when severe storms interrupted the landing of supplies for several days and destroyed the Omaha harbour, the British had landed 314,547 men, 54,000 vehicles, and 102,000 tons of supplies, while the Americans put ashore 314,504 men, 41,000 vehicles, and 116,000 tons of supplies. Around 9,000 tons of materiel were landed daily at the Arromanches harbour until the end of August 1944, by which time the port of Cherbourg had been secured by the Allies and had begun to return to service.
In addition, with the installation of PLUTO in August 1944 the Allies had fuel piped over directly from England without having to rely on vulnerable tankers.
The Normandy landings were the first successful opposed landings across the English Channel in over eight centuries. They were costly in terms of men, but the defeat inflicted on the Germans was one of the largest of the war. Strategically, the campaign led to the loss of the German position in most of France and the secure establishment of a new major front. In larger context the Normandy landings helped the Soviets on the Eastern Front, who were facing the bulk of the German forces and, to a certain extent, contributed to the shortening of the conflict there.
Although there was a shortage of artillery ammunition, at no time were the Allies critically short of any necessity. This was a remarkable achievement considering they did not hold a port until Cherbourg fell. By the time of the breakout the Allies also enjoyed a considerable superiority in numbers of troops (approximately 7:2) and armoured vehicles (approximately 4:1) which helped overcome the natural advantages the terrain gave to the German defenders.
Allied intelligence and counterintelligence efforts were successful beyond expectations. The Operation Fortitude deception before the invasion kept German attention focused on the Pas de Calais, and indeed high-quality German forces were kept in this area, away from Normandy, until July. Prior to the invasion, few German reconnaissance flights took place over Britain, and those that did saw only the dummy staging areas. Ultra decrypts of German communications had been helpful as well, exposing German dispositions and revealing their plans such as the Mortain counterattack.
Allied air operations also contributed significantly to the invasion, via close tactical support, interdiction of German lines of communication (preventing timely movement of supplies and reinforcements—particularly the critical Panzer units), and rendering the Luftwaffe ineffective in Normandy.[nb 2] Although the impact upon armoured vehicles was less than expected, air activity intimidated these units and cut their supplies.
Despite initial heavy losses in the assault phase, Allied morale remained high. Casualty rates among all the armies were tremendous, and the Commonwealth forces had to use a recently created category—Double Intense—to be able to describe them.
German commanders at all levels failed to react to the assault phase in a timely manner. Communications problems exacerbated the difficulties caused by Allied air and naval firepower. Local commanders also seemed incapable of the task of fighting an aggressive defense on the beach, as Rommel had envisioned.
The German High Command remained fixated on the Calais area, and von Rundstedt was not permitted to commit the armoured reserve. When it was finally released late in the day, its chance of success was greatly reduced. Overall, despite considerable Allied material superiority, the Germans kept the Allies bottled up in a small beachhead for nearly two months, aided immeasurably by terrain factors.
Although there were several known disputes among the Allied commanders, their tactics and strategy were essentially determined by agreement among the main commanders. By contrast, the German leaders were bullied and their decisions interfered with by OKW. Field Marshals von Rundstedt and Rommel repeatedly asked Hitler for more discretion but were refused. Rundstedt was removed from his command on 29 June after he bluntly told the Chief of Staff at Hitler's Armed Forces HQ (Field Marshal Keitel) to "Make peace, you idiots!" Rommel was severely injured by Allied aircraft on 17 July.
Sixty thousand of the 850,000 in Rundstedt's command were raised from the many prisoners of war taken on the Eastern Front. Many surrendered or deserted at the first available opportunity.
The beaches at Normandy are still referred to on maps and signposts by their invasion codenames. There are several vast cemeteries in the area. The American cemetery, in Colleville-sur-Mer, contains row upon row of identical white crosses and Stars of David, immaculately kept, commemorating the American dead. Commonwealth graves, maintained in many locations by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, uses white headstones engraved with the person's religious or medal (Victoria Cross or George Cross only) symbol and their unit insignia. The Bayeux War Cemetery, with 4,648 burials, is the largest British cemetery of the war. The largest cemetery in Normandy is the La Cambe German war cemetery, with 21,222 burials, which features granite stones almost flush with the ground and groups of low-set crosses. There is also a Polish cemetery.
At the Bayeux Memorial, a monument erected by Britain has a Latin inscription on the memorial reads "Nos a gulielmo victi victoris patriam liberavimus" – freely translated, this reads "We, once conquered by William, have now set free the Conqueror's native land".
Streets near the beaches are still named after the units that fought there, and occasional markers commemorate notable incidents. At significant points, such as Pointe du Hoc and Pegasus Bridge, there are plaques, memorials or small museums. The Mulberry harbour still sits in the sea at Arromanches. In Sainte-Mère-Église, a dummy paratrooper hangs from the church spire. On Juno Beach, the Canadian government has built the Juno Beach Information Centre, commemorating one of the most significant events in Canadian military history.
In England the most significant memorial is the D-Day Story in Southsea, Hampshire. The museum was opened in 1984 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D-Day. Its centrepiece is the Overlord Embroidery commissioned by Lord Dulverton of Batsford (1915–92) as a tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of those men and women who took part in Operation Overlord.
On 5 June 1994 a drumhead service was held on Southsea Common adjacent to the D-Day Museum. This service was attended by US President Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and over 100,000 members of the public.
The Battle of Normandy has been the topic of many films, television shows, songs, computer games and books. Many dramatisations focus on the initial landings, and these are covered at Normandy Landings. Some examples that cover the wider battle include:
| portal2=Military of Germany
| portal3=Military of the United States | portal5=World War II | commons=y | commons-search=Category:Battle of Normandy }}| portal1=British Army | portal2=Military of Germany | portal3=Military of the United States | portal5=World War II | commons=y | commons-search=Category:Battle of Normandy }}352nd Fighter Group
The 352nd Fighter Group was a unit of the Eighth Air Force that was located in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. The unit served as bomber escort, counter-air patrols, and attacking ground targets. It initially flew P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft before converting to P-51 Mustang in April 1944. The group was located at RAF Bodney in England for the majority of its service and were nicknamed the Blue-nosed Bastards of Bodney due to the distinctive blue of the nose and upper cowl of the P-51 Mustangs of the group.359th Fighter Group
The 359th Fighter Group was a United States Army Air Force fighter unit that was active during World War II at RAF East Wretham. The group had three fighter squadrons: the 368th, 369th, and 370th. The fighter group flew 346 combat missions over continental Europe and claimed 373 enemy aircraft in aerial duels and strafing attacks; probable destruction of 23; and damage to 185. It flew its last mission on 20 April 1945.Exercise Tiger
Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was the code name for one in a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which took place in April 1944 on Slapton Sands in Devon. Coordination and communication problems resulted in friendly fire deaths during the exercise, and an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing was attacked by E-boats of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, resulting in the deaths of at least 749 American servicemen. Because of the impending invasion of Normandy, the incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time and was only nominally reported afterwards.French destroyer Mistral
Mistral was a Bourrasque-class destroyer (torpilleur d'escadre) built for the French Navy during the 1920s.
When France surrendered to Germany in June 1940 during World War II, Mistral sought refuge at Plymouth Dockyard in Devon, England. On 3 July 1940, the British executed Operation Catapult, in which they seized or destroyed French warships in French and British ports to prevent them from falling into German or Vichy French hands. That day, Mistral was partially scuttled at Plymouth during the operation. The British later salvaged her and placed her in Royal Navy service as HMS Mistral. Eventually, the British transferred her to the control of the Free French Naval Forces.
Operating with the Free French Naval Forces in support of the Allied invasion of Normandy, Mistral was damaged by German artillery fire in the English Channel off Quinéville, Manche, France, on 10 June 1944. She was declared a constructive total loss.French invasion of Normandy (1202–1204)
The Normandy Campaigns were wars in Normandy from 1202 to 1204. The Kingdom of England fought the Kingdom of France as well as fighting off rebellions from nobles. Philip II of France conquered the Anglo-Angevin territories in Normandy, resulting in the Siege of Château Gaillard. The Normandy Campaigns ended in a victory for France when the Anglo-Angevin territory was greatly diminished.HMCS Georgian
HMCS Georgian (pennant J144) was a Bangor-class minesweeper constructed for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Primarily used as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of the St. Lawrence, the minesweeper had the misfortune of mistakenly sinking the British submarine HMS P514 off the coast of Newfoundland. Georgian also saw service in European waters, taking part in the invasion of Normandy. Following the war the ship was discarded and sold for scrap.HMCS Wasaga
HMCS Wasaga (pennant J162) was a Bangor-class minesweeper constructed for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1941, the minesweeper took part in the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Normandy. Following the end of the war, the vessel was sold in 1946 and broken up for scrap in 1947.HMS Coreopsis (K32)
HMS Coreopsis was a Flower-class corvette, built for the Royal Navy during the Second World War which served in the Battle of the Atlantic.
In 1943, she was transferred to the Royal Hellenic Navy as Kriezis and participated in the 1944 Invasion of Normandy. Shortly before she was scrapped, she took part in the British war film, The Cruel Sea.Mission Detroit
Mission Detroit was a pre-dawn glider-borne combat assault in the American airborne landings in Normandy, made by elements of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division on the early morning of June 6, 1944, during World War II. It was part of Operation Neptune, the assault portion of the Allied invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord. Originally slated to be the main assault for the 82nd Airborne, the glider operation instead became the first reinforcement mission after the main parachute combat assault, Mission Boston. The landing zone for mission Detroit was near Sainte-Mère-Église, to the west of Utah Beach.
The objective of the division was to secure the town of Sainte-Mère-Église and to take the bridges along the Merderet River. By doing this, the U.S. 4th Infantry Division coming in at Utah Beach would have easy access to making their way northwards towards the ports at Cherbourg.
Casualties for the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day were about 1,260 of 6,600, or about 20%.
On 6 June 1944 the heavier elements of the division landed by glider in Mission Elmira.Normandy landings
The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.
Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 US, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled, using specialised tanks.
The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold which the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.
Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year.Operation Cooney
Operation Cooney was the deployment of elements of the 4ème Bataillon d'Infanterie de l'Air - the 4th Free French Parachute Battalion (later renamed 2ème Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes) - also known as 4th Special Air Service.
On 7 June 1944, the 9 aircraft of 38 Group (including two from No. 297 Squadron RAF), dropped the parachutists.
These men were to disrupt enemy communications between West Brittany and the remainder of France, and in all 58 Free French soldiers were dropped on no fewer than 18 undefended drop zones between St. Malo and Vannes. Their goal was to impair the German Army's response to the unfolding invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord.
Breaking into 18 three-man or five-man SAS teams, the commandos scattered throughout Brittany destroying railroad targets. As a sign they had passed through they tied railroad ties around trees.
Some raiders then joined the base established by the Dingson team in Saint-Marcel, Morbihan or the base established by the Samwest team in Duault, Côtes d'Armor.Operation Zeppelin (deception plan)
Operation Zeppelin (along with its follow up subsidiaries, Vendetta and Turpitude) was a major military deception operation run by the British during the Second World War. It formed part of Operation Bodyguard, the cover plan for the invasion of Normandy in 1944, and was intended to mislead German intelligence as to the Allied invasion plans in the Mediterranean theatre that year. The operation was planned by 'A' Force and implemented by means of visual deception and misinformation.
Zeppelin was executed in five phases between February and July 1944. The story behind each stage developed various invasion threats against Greece, Albania, Croatia, Turkey, Bulgaria and France. The latter portions of the operation received their own codenames. Vendetta referred to a threat toward Southern France close to D-Day whilst Turpitude was the codename for the final stage of Zeppelin, an overland threat to Greece and Bulgaria.
It is unclear how much impact Zeppelin had on German response in the region, though the aims of the deception were achieved (tying up German defensive forces in the Mediterranean beyond D-Day). Post-war analysis of German intelligence documents indicated that they did overstate Allied forces in the way Zeppelin intended. However, the German high command did not come to expect a major invasion in the Balkans.The Longest Day
The Longest Day could refer to:
D day, an invasion of Normandy during World War IIUSS Corry (DD-463)
USS Corry (DD-463), a Gleaves-class destroyer, (also known as the Bristol class), was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Lieutenant Commander William M. Corry, Jr., an officer in the Navy during World War I and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Corry was launched 28 July 1941 by Charleston Navy Yard, sponsored by Miss Jean Constance Corry. The ship was commissioned on 18 December 1941, Lieutenant Commander E. C. Burchett in command; and reported to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.USS Glennon (DD-620)
USS Glennon (DD-620) was a Gleaves-class destroyer, the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Admiral James H. Glennon, who was a recipient of the Navy Cross.USS LST-291
USS LST-291 was a LST-1-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II by the American Bridge Company in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.
LST-291 was laid down on 25 September 1943 and launched 14 November 1943. During World War II, the LST-291 was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater, and participated in the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944.In 1954, she ran aground on a coral reef off James Point, Eleuthera in the Bahamas. After 11 days of salvage operations which involved blasting a 1,000 foot channel through the reef, she was freed from the reef and towed back to the drydock at Jacksonville, Florida. The damage she sustained was too extensive, however, and LST-291 was decommissioned, struck from the Naval Register on 19 May 1954, and sunk as a target in July 1954.
LST-291 earned one battle star for World War II service.USS LST-374
USS LST-374 was one of over 1,000 tank landing ships (LSTs) built for the United States Navy during World War II.
Laid down on 12 November 1942 at Quincy, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Steel Company; launched on 19 January 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Victor D. Herbster; and commissioned on 29 January 1943.USS LST-380
USS LST-380 was a LST-1-class tank landing ship of the United States Navy during World War II, later loaned to the Royal Navy.
LST-380 was laid down on 10 December 1942 at Quincy, Massachusetts, by the Bethlehem Steel Company; launched on 10 February 1943; sponsored by Mrs. D. J. Callahan; and commissioned on 15 February 1943.
During World War II, LST-380 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:
Sicilian occupation — July 1943
Salerno landings — September 1943
Invasion of Normandy — June 1944LST-380 was transferred to the United Kingdom on 20 November 1944 and returned to United States Navy custody on 11 April 1946. On 7 June 1946, the tank landing ship was sold to the United States Military Government, Korea, and struck from the Navy list on 19 July 1946.
LST-380 earned three battle stars for World War II service.USS LST-59
USS LST-59 was a LST-1-class tank landing ship which earned one battle star for service in World War II.
The ship was laid down by the Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 7 November 1943. Launched on 18 December 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Richard A. Lewis. Commissioned on 31 January 1944, Lt. R. J. Mayer, USNR, in command.
Between 6–25 June 1944 LST-59 participated in the invasion of Normandy. On 29 June 1944 the 5th Naval Beach Battalion returned from Normandy to England aboard.
The ship was decommissioned on 21 January 1946, and struck from the Navy List on 25 February 1946. Subsequently sold to Southern Shipwrecking Company of New Orleans in September 1947, and scrapped.
Invasion of Normandy
Initial Airborne Assault
Initial ground campaign
Air and Sea Operations
West European Campaign (1944–45)