Operation Overlord Essay

Operation Overlord, also known as Normandy Invasion, Operation Neptune and commonly known as D-Day. This was considered the best known D-Day, the day of the Normandy landings-initiating the Western Allied effort to free the mainland of Europe from Germany. It was launched on June 6, 1944 and ended on August 25, 1944 (period of 2 months 2 week, and 4 days). This battle was the most important victory of the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The Western Allied forces would create a headquarters on the beach of Normandy.

Before engaging the German Army, the Western Allies would reinforce their army and then charge into the French region and begin their attack. After this fight, the Germans would suffer a greater number of men than that of the Battle of Stalingrad, the enormous Soviet Union summer offensive, or defeat in North Africa. Without the Normandy Invasion, the turning point of World War II would never have happened. The Germans would have been able to make the Soviet Union fall and take over the Russia continent.

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The world would have been a different place. Before the starting of the Normandy Invasion, the Allies have already planned this invasion ahead of time, but it could have been canceled or delayed because of the bad weather. Instead of waiting for the weather to get better, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Western Europe, decided to attack regardless of the overcast skies. This was a good thing though because it gave an advantage to the Allied forces, it caused the Germans to thinking that the Western Allied forces would not attack in such weather. They were clearly wrong and weren’t prepare for this surprise attack. The invasion began with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower sending in 500 naval vessels, 3,000 landing craft and 2,500 other ships. Towards the night of June 5, 1944, 822 aircraft would be sent out to begin the attack with paratroopers. That was only a fraction of the air armada out of 13,000 aircrafts that were supporting D-Day. Their landings were a success, but the 82nd and 101st airborne division suffered many deaths from drowning, but they did manage to fortify their objective. The Airborne Divisions towards the eastern part of the island had an easier time, and they also took over many of the key bridges on the Orne River and Caen Canal. As time goes by, on June 6, 1944, the Canadian and British seaborne units finally landed on Sword, Juno and Gold beaches. The United States would send their 1st Division to Omaha Beach to handle the German’s coast division. The attack on Omaha beach was thought to fail, but was eventually handled, but costed more than 2,000 casualties. In retaliation, Hitler decided to send out his armoured divisions for a counterattack. Because of this choice, the 21st Panzer Divisions was able to drive the British and Canadians 3rd divisions back towards the sea, but they managed to defend the counterattack with fierce resistance from the British anti tank gunners. If the 21st Panzer Division were to drive the 3rd divisions out, this would have caused a failure in the landings of the Western Forces. On June 7, the beaches were separated into districts that consisted of the Canadians and British, between Bayeux and Caen. The United States V Corps was between Saint-Pierre-du-Mont and Port-en-Bessin; and the United States VII Corps was west of the Vire River behind Utah Beach. Gold and Omaha Beach was closed, but that happened on June 12. Meanwhile, the British were working on completing the Mulberry harbours, that were supposed to be used to unload supplies and vehicles until Cherbourg was fortified. By June 19, 1944, floating piers were being designed to rise and fall with the waves. They were designing floating piers so their materials wouldn’t be destroyed during heavy storms. The United States then abandoned Mulberry, while the British harbour was not being used until July. Because they abandoned the harbour, supplies had to be dropped off by landing craft, landing ships, or DUKWs. While moving inland, the Allies were having problems with the dense hedgerow country known as the bocage. The bocage was handled by flanks from the airborne division and the British armoured thrust on June 13, 1944. Off to the west of Caen, Operation Epsom was defeated on June 25. At this time, a stalemate was descending, and to get out of this stalemate, the Western Allies were relying on Montgomery’s plan. Montgomery’s plan was to attract the German armoured divisions to the British front and weaken the division with tank forces. The United States had some doubt to this plan because of how good the German defense was at the time. This was wrong though, the German defense was becoming weak because they were losing men and equipment fast, with no replacements to come. Furthermore, the United States was able to profit off of the German armour and take over the base of the Cotentin Peninsula and move on towards Cherbourg. The last defense then fell on June 28, 1944, and made the ports open once again. Germany was in a crisis, many unpredictable casualties came about such as: General Friedrich Dollmann, General Erwin Rommel, General Gerd von Rundstedt, and General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg. Gen. Dollmann supposed died from a heart attack or he committed suicide on June 28. Gen. Rommel was injured by a strafe run from British fighter on July 17. Gen. Rundstedt and Geyr were dismissed because they confessed to defeatism. They were then replaced by Gјnther von Kluge and Heinrich Eberbach. On July 20, 1944, many German officers were planning to set peace with the Allies by attempting to kill Hitler in East Prussian, this was known as July Plot. The plan failed and Hitler began taking revenge on those who were suspected on being involved in the July Plot. Many more casualties came about after Operation Overlord with Gen. Kluge committing suicide on August 18, 1944 and Gen. Rommel committing suicide in October. The German defense of Normandy was going downhill, but was able to defeat the British in Operation Goodwood on July 18, 1944. On July 25, 1944, the United States was facing the front while the British Goodwood distracted the German tanks making the United States having superiority in the infantry and tank divisions. Another operation was then scheduled on July 25 called Operation Cobra, this was for a chance of the Western Allies releasing a destructive air attack. Coming to July 30, 1944, the Western Forces took over Avranches and were trying to surround the Germans in Brittany. Hitler had other plans and saw an opportunity to bring back the front. By bringing the 2nd, 116th, and 1st and 2nd Panzer SS divisions westward, he ordered for Operation Lјttich. This was a fail counterattack by Hitler and on August 7, 1944, the Western Allies stopped the counterattack with strong anti tank defenses. On August 16, 1944, Hitler declared for a retreat and succeeded in escaping pass the Polish 1st Armoured Division.

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