BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
To most, in the general public, ‘D-Day’ refers to the Allied landings in Normandy of Tuesday, June 6, 1944.
The ‘D’ does not actually stand for anything but is related to the word ‘day’ and references the day on which a military operation begins.
Allied forces began planning for the invasion of Normandy in 1943 and gave it the code name “Operation Overload”. The allied landing operation on the beaches of Normandy was given the code name “Operation Neptune.”
During the years leading up to the assault, troops, supplies, and equipment, were amassed in England with “Operation Bodyguard” providing elaborate deceptions to prevent the Germans from learning the timing and location of the invasion.
The majority of troops who landed on the D-Day beaches were from the United Kingdom, Canada and the U.S. Troops from many other countries also participated in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy to include Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland.
On D-day, the Allies sent over 160,000 troops to Normandy. Five beaches were assaulted, which included Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
The U.S. sent 73,000 troops. 23,250 troops went to Utah Beach, 34,250 to Omaha Beach and 15,500 airborne troops were dropped behind enemy lines.
Britain and Canada sent 83,115 troops. 24,970 troops went to Gold Beach, 21,400 to Juno Beach, 28,845 to Sword and 7,900 airborne troops were dropped behind enemy lines.
By June 11, 1944, 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.
11,590 Allied aircraft were available to support the landings. They flew 14,674 sorties and lost 127 aircraft. The airborne landings on both flanks of the beaches involved 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF.
Operation Neptune, including D-Day, involved 6,939 vessels, including 1,213 naval combat ships, 4,126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels.
Research by the U.S. National D-Day Memorial Foundation indicates that 4,414 Allied personnel were killed on D-Day. 2,501 were from the U.S., 1,449 British, 391 Canadians and 73 from other Allied countries.