Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: D-day from Philip's Encyclopedia

(June 6, 1944) Codename for the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War 2. Commanded by General Eisenhower, Allied forces landed on the French coast between Cherbourg and Le Havre. It was the largest amphibious operation in history, involving c.5,000 ships. Despite fierce resistance, bridgeheads were established by June 9. It was the first step in the liberation of Europe.


Summary Article: D-day
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

6 June 1944, the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy under the command of General Eisenhower to commence Operation Overlord, the liberation of Western Europe from German occupation. The Anglo-US invasion fleet landed on the Normandy beaches on the stretch of coast between the Orne River and St Marcouf. Artificial harbours known as ‘Mulberries’ were constructed and towed across the Channel so that equipment and armaments could be unloaded on to the beaches. After overcoming fierce resistance the allies broke through the German defences; Paris was liberated on 25 August, and Brussels on 3 September. D-day is also military jargon for any day on which a crucial operation is planned. D+1 indicates the day after the start of the operation.

Five beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword – were selected as the landing points for the Allied forces. The operation was preceded by airborne landings to secure the flanks and destroy vital bridges and gun positions. The landings commenced at 0630 hrs, and by midnight 73,000 US and 83,000 British and Canadian troops and their equipment were ashore and the beachheads were being linked into a continuous front. The German response to the landings was hampered by the damage done to their communications, by a rigid command structure which required a personal directive from Hitler before any of the reserve elements could move, and by the belief that the landing was a feint and that the major Allied attack would come in the Pas de Calais region, a belief fostered by Allied deception operations.

Although the operation was a success, casualties were heavy: Allied losses during the day amounted to 2,500 killed and about 8,500 wounded. Allied air forces flew 14,000 sorties in support of the operation and lost 127 aircraft.

documents

Eisenhower, Dwight: The Order of the Day

Government Code and Cipher School: Normandy landing decrypt

Reagan, Ronald: Let Us Make a Vow to the Dead

weblinks

D-Day

Radio Broadcast of the D-Day Landing at Normandy

images

American cemetery, Omaha Beach

D-day invasion

D-day troops

Museum of the Battle of Normandy

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article D-Day
Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

In the Second World War the day appointed for the Allied invasion of Europe and the opening of the long-awaited Second front . It was...

Full text Article D-DAY
Encyclopedia of Leadership

The amphibious assault by the Allies on the beaches of Normandy, France, on 6 June 1944 —D-Day—was the largest military operation of World War...

Full text Article D-DAY
Encyclopedia of United States National Security

Beginning of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The term D-day remains standard military parlance for the first day...

See more from Credo