World marks anniversary of D-Day

Posted at 3:00 PM, Jun 06, 2013

Here is a look at what you need to know about D-Day. Allied troops invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944. Learn more about D-Day at the Army’s official site.

Facts: June 6, 1944 – D-Day, World War II, the allied invasion of Normandy.

The largest seaborne invasion in history.

The invasion’s code name was Operation Overlord.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower commands the operation and plans are made to land in Normandy, west of where the German troops and artillery are built up.

The “D” stands for Day. D-Day and H-Hour stand for the secret time/day an operation is scheduled to begin.

Code names for the five beaches where the Allies landed: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

The date June 5, 1944 was originally chosen for the invasion, but bad weather forced the Allies to postpone one day.

Timeline: August 19, 1942 – A raid on the French port of Dieppe that resulted in heavy losses convinces D-Day planners to land on the beaches, so discussions and preparations for an Allied invasion across the English Channel begin.

1944 – The Germans expect an invasion along the north coast of France, but they do not know where. They build up their troops and artillery near Calais, where the English Channel is the narrowest.

June 5, 1944 – Between 11 pm and 3 am 13,000 allied paratroopers and gliders carrying heavy equipment leave England to begin the invasion of France by air.

In a broadcast message to the troops, delivered before they leave, Eisenhower says: “The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory…. We will accept nothing less than full victory!”

June 6, 1944 – Overnight, a military armada and more than 156,000 troops cross the English Channel. Minesweepers go ahead to clear the waters in preparation for the more than 2,300 landing crafts that will be carrying men, vehicles and supplies.

Between midnight and 8 am, Allied forces of more than 11,000 aircraft, fly 14,674 sorties.

6:30 am – Troops begin coming ashore on a 60-mile front.

In a broadcast to the people of occupied Europe, Eisenhower says: “Although the initial assault may not have been in your own country, the hour of your liberation is approaching.”