Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day: Facts and Remembrance

US WWII veterans have touched down in Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

American, British, Canadian, and French leaders will commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday. Here are some facts about the Allies' D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The assault marked a decisive stage in the liberation of Europe from German forces in World War Two.

  • Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted Operation Fortitude, which led the Germans to believe the landings would occur in Pas-de-Calais, to the east, rather than in Normandy. Dummy tanks, landing craft, and planes were positioned in eastern England.
  • D-Day commenced on June 6, 1944, marking the assault phase of the Allied invasion of mainland Europe, known as Operation Overlord. U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower served as the Allied Supreme Commander. Originally scheduled for the day before, it was postponed by 24 hours due to adverse weather conditions.
  • According to the United States European Command, 156,115 Allied troops either landed by sea on beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword or were airdropped behind German coastal defences. This included 83,115 British and Canadian troops and 73,000 U.S. troops.
  • The Allies incurred approximately 10,250 casualties on D-Day, including killed, wounded, and missing servicemen, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with about 4,440 killed. German casualties are estimated to range between 4,000 and 9,000.
  • Soldiers participating in the Normandy landings hailed from the United States, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Luxembourg, Greece, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, and Australia. Additionally, 177 French commandos took part.
  • The landings and associated operations were codenamed Neptune, with the aim of establishing beachheads in northwest France.
  • Nearly 7,000 ships and landing craft, including 1,213 naval warships, were deployed in Neptune and targeted German land and naval positions, landing troops and creating two artificial harbours towed across the Channel.
  • Neptune officially concluded on June 30, 1944, during which time 850,279 men, 148,803 vehicles, and 570,505 tons of supplies were landed.
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