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D-Day 1944

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June 6th 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, a combined land sea and air effort by the Allies to liberate Europe from the Nazis. The operation began with D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history, where over 168,000 Allied troops landed on five beaches in Normandy, France.

The scale and scope of the invasion – from codebreaking and counter espionage to supplying the troops and scheduling their safe transport across the channel – was a colossal challenge. The Allies braced for 40,000 casualties but in fact 10,000 were recorded from the beaches. The battle for Normandy cost many more lives after the invasion on D-Day, including 15,000 French civilians killed.

‘When you run over unconscious men, or men lying on their bellies, it’s tough to keep your balance. There is no room. You go into the water, but the water is washing bodies in and out. Everywhere there are body pieces … Intestines, intestines, intestines. That’s what Omaha beach was.’ –US veteran, D-Day, 1944

Operation Overlord did not end the war, but the German Army was now fighting a second front in Europe, stretching their manpower and supplies in many directions. By the end of August 1944 the Germans were in retreat from France.

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