D-Day, also called “Operation Overlord,” is the name given to the landing of 160,000 Allied troops in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
“D-Day” most likely comes from the army’s use of the term “undefined day,” or the first day of any operation.
American General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the invasion.
D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5, but the weather did not cooperate. The operation was pushed back to June 6, 1944.
There were five separate landings on 60 miles of the Normandy coast by American, British, and Canadian troops.
Code names for the five beaches where the Allies landed: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
The D-Day invasion involved 5,000 ships carrying men and vehicles across the English Channel as well as 800 planes dropping over 13,000 men in parachutes. A additional 300 planes dropped bombs on German troops defending the beaches.
More than 100,000 Allied troops made it to shore that day.
The most difficult landing of D-Day was at Omaha Beach, where navigation issues lead to many men drowning before they even reached land. Omaha Beach also had the largest number of German troops. It is the Omaha Beach battle that is re-enacted in the opening of Private Ryan.
Allied Troops landed in Normandy: 156,115
- American (Omaha and Utah beaches incl. airborne): 73,000 (23,400 airborne)
- British (Gold and Sword beaches incl. airborne): 61,715
- Canadian (Juno Beach): 21,400
- Aircraft support: 11,590
- Aircraft lost: 127
- Combat ships: 1213
- Landing craft: 4126
- Ancillary craft: 736
- Merchant vessels: 864
- American: 52,889
- British: 112,824
- Other allied: 4988
Travel on the D-Day to the Rhine Tour!
“This D-Day tour is a dream trip for any WWII history buff who wants to stand on the beaches at Normandy, experience the powerful emotions brought forth by the military cemeteries in France and Luxembourg, stand in a foxhole in the Ardennes, and tour General McAuliffe’s office in Bastogne.” – H. Roger Barksdale, New Palestine, IN