Courtesy of Wikipedia commons
It was a day that many humans died… They called it D-Day. The Normandy Invasion during World War 2.
As time moves forward and new generations come alive, the memories and lessons of past conflicts and battles can be lost. This should never happen, so here at Part Time Commander, we want to make sure that children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all generations following know about these actions taken by past generations that have kept us a free democracy.
Here are 20 cool facts about the WW2 Normandy Invasion. They are in no particular order, so be sure and read through them all to know more about the Normandy Invasion.
The Normandy Invasion was the largest amphibious invasion in history. It is doubtful that record will ever be broken.
#2: When And Where?
It all occurred on June 6th, 1944. It happened at Normandy (duh) on the Northern coast of France.
#3: The Ultimate Secret
The secret of the place of the invasion was so secret that even the military units tasked with the initial assault did not know where they would be landing.
#4: Military Codename
The Normandy Invasion was given the codename, Operation Overlord.
#5: Initial Assault Numbers
Figures show that approximately 156,000 troops landed on the beaches that day. They were American, Canadian and British and they landed on 5 beaches along about 50 miles of the Northern France area.
Everyone should know why but some may not… The Germans had occupied much of Europe and the Normandy Invasion was done to liberate these countries.
Before the Invasion, over 3,000 reconnaissance missions were run to photograph vital locations.
#8: The Demise Of A Company
If you hear of the Virginia National Guard’s A Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, give thanks for these brave soldiers. They were some of the first to go in and “luck” was not on their side.
Over 60% of A Company was killed or wounded. All of A Company’s officers were killed and the majority of NCO’s.
#9: The Number Of Crafts
I mentioned it being the largest amphibious assault ever. Just to give you an idea…
- Over 5,000 ships were used
- And over 13,000 aircraft were used for bombing and dropping Airborne troops.
#10: David Vs Goliath
The start of the Normandy Invasion was similar to a David Vs Goliath scenario. The Germans had 55 divisions in France and the initial landing only brought 8 divisions of allied forces.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The Top 20 Military Mistakes of World War 2
- The Role of the 101st Airborne in World War 2: What They Did
- Top 5 WWII Military Generals and Leaders
- The Uniform That Won: Army Pink And Green
- Battle Of The Bulge: 20 Cool Facts
#11: The Primary Commander
The primary commander in the Normandy Invasion was General Dwight Eisenhower who would go on to become the President of the United States.
#12: It Really Started The Night Before
To gain some cover from the rear, the night before the Invasion, Airborne troops and gliders landed behind enemy lines. Their mission was to take out certain gun batteries that were defending the beaches.
#13: # Of Planes Lost
On D-Day, 127 allied planes were shot down or crashed.
#14: The Beaches
The 5 beaches allies landed on were:
- and Sword
The original plan called for everything to happen June 5th, but bad weather forced the leaders to postpone the invasion 1 day.
#16: An Old General Who Didn’t Even Have To Be There
Theodore Roosevelt Jr
He was the son of one of the United States Presidents and cousin to the President at the time of the Invasion of Normandy…
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was 56 years old and had medical problems including heart issues.
A hero of heroes, BG Roosevelt requested that he be able to go in the 1st wave and was given permission. Landing at Utah Beach, the old General changed plans because of heavy fire and saved lives doing so.
1 month later, General Eisenhower phoned for Roosevelt to tell him he was being awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor and a promotion to Major General. But Eisenhower could not talk to the old General as he had died of a heart attack the night before.
You can bet that his Father, President Teddy Roosevelt met his son at the gates of Heaven with pride and a better award than the Medal Of Honor. (excuse me, I have tears in my eyes.)
#17: American Graveyard
There is an American graveyard for fallen soldiers from the Normandy Invasion at Colleville-sur-Mer, France. There are over 9,000 graves and every grave faces West looking towards America. (wow, more tears.)
#18: The Term D-Day Was Used More Than Once
This is why I call it the Normandy Invasion. The term D-Day was used in military operations did not have the exact day and time listed. There were many D-Days in Italy during World War 2.
#19: The Ghost Army
At both Kent and Essex, fake camps were set up making it look like military divisions were preparing to invade at Calais. This did throw off the German high command.
#20: When Ike Returned
Just 5 years before he passed on, General/President Eisenhower (Ike) made a visit to Colleville-sur-Mer. His words seem fitting for the last fact I am leaving you with today:
“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.”
Never… NEVER should this day… this war be forgotten!
I ask that you please share these facts with the younger generations. Ask them to print and keep these to remember and teach the coming generations.
Many died so that freedom is preserved.
And that is the main reason I am publishing this post just days before Independence Day… Because Independence is not just for America, Independence needs to be worldwide.
Thank God for all who braved the beaches and the battle at Normandy and all throughout Europe. Let their memory live on even though their bodies have died.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.