D-Day: Allied Landings in Normandy

D-Day: Allied Landings in Normandy


By the fall of 1941,
the German war machine, fed by the strong economic
resources from their occupation of countries throughout Europe,
was determined to target Moscow next. The Red Army and the
civilians fought back vehemently and suffered
enormous casualties. As events unfolded, the creation of a front in Western
Europe became as important as ever. It was crucial to disperse the German
forces and weaken their economic power. But Western Allied forces couldn’t
create a full-scale front until 1943. With battles stretching from the Pacific
to Africa to this point in World War II, it simply wasn’t possible to strike
and liberate German-occupied France. Only during the conferences
in Casablanca and Tehran in 1943 was the decision
made to regroup. As a result, the Normandy landings,
as part of Operation Overlord, was planned for May 1944. The Allies already had
experience in similar operations. The first attempt to deploy British and
Canadian troops in Western Europe was in 1942 in Dieppe, France. It was an unsuccessful
and costly battle for the Allies, one of the reasons being
the supporting British tanks that couldn’t get there in time. Some of the vehicles were
unable to reach the French town due to engineering
structures blocking their path and unfavorable
road conditions. The Dieppe Raid, along
with other military actions— especially landing operations— provided the Allies with the experience
they later used in Operation Overlord. The Normandy shoreline was
a strongly reinforced bridgehead. Back in 1942 the Germans
started building the Atlantic Wall, a coastal defense
and fortification system. Erwin Rommel, the commander of
Army Group B in Northern France, understood that the chance
of stopping a possible landing with just fortifications
was pretty small. This is why he counted on using
the reserves of Panzer Group West that were deployed in France
along with the fortification structures. The Panzer Group consisted
of a big number of units equipped with contemporary
vehicles including Tigers and Panthers, the troops were battle-hardened
in Africa and on the Eastern front. The Allied landing was guaranteed
to be hard and demanding. In the meantime, the Allies
decided on the landing spot. It needed to be close to the British
Isles, so that the allied air force could efficiently support the
landings and engage the Germans. Also, landing heavy vehicles
required proper beaches that were suitable
for heavy vehicles. The most fitting places were on the coast near
Calais, Normandy, and Brittany. The idea of landing
in Calais was declined as it was seen
as the most obvious. The Germans thought so too;
they posted military reserves there and the region’s defensive
structure system was reinforced. A risky decision was made: the landing must happen
on the Normandy shoreline. However, they were far
from ideal for this purpose. The German forces were least
expecting to encounter the Allies here, as they reasoned it was impossible
to perform long combat operations without the access to
infrastructure of a large port. To solve this problem, Allied forces
developed artificial Mulberry harbors and a piping system to provide fuel
straight across the English Channel. Tanks played a very
important role in the operation. They would cover the infantry
and help with the advance. But how do you deploy vehicles
at the same time as the infantry? How could
these heavy vehicles traverse the beaches and
German engineering structures? The tanks were modified with
additional modules for this purpose. The Americans invented Deep
Wading Kits to traverse shallow waters. Every hole in the hull and turret
sides were sealed to be waterproof, and the air intakes were
equipped with special devices. Their upper parts
were easy to remove, decreasing the time needed
to make the tank battle-ready. This helped to considerably increase
the maximum forwarding depth. Duplex Drive was
a more radical modification that converted a tank
into an amphibious vehicle. A metal frame was
attached to the tank’s hull that held a deployable
rubbered tarp screen. The screen was raised with the help of
rubber tubes filled with compressed air, which made the tank buoyant and it
could move with the help of propellers. It was lowered into the water from the
landing ship along with the infantry. The British side decided
to focus on the vehicles that could surpass the German
engineering structures and defenses. This task was assigned to
military engineer, Percy Hobart. His inventions were
named Hobart’s Funnies. One of his most peculiar
Funnies was the Churchill AVRE. Instead of the
standard 6-pounder gun, these vehicles got a 290-mm Petard
Mortar with incredible firepower that was meant
to destroy reinforced walls. Another of Hobart’s Funnies was
a Churchill modified with a flamethrower that was called
the Churchill Crocodile. The flamethrower was mounted
instead of the hull machine gun, and the fuel was towed in
an armored wheeled trailer. The mine-clearing Crab tank
cleared the way for heavy vehicles, and the bridge-laying Churchill ARK
helped them cross tough terrain. Almost everything
was now ready. However, the weather
had to be considered as well. For a successful landing,
a good tide was necessary, as landing vessels could be damaged
by German underwater defense structures. Also, the British wanted
to expand the landing territory. As a result, Operation Overlord
was shifted to June 1944. Three British landing
zones were defined: Gold Beach, Juno Beach,
and Sword Beach, as well as two Americans ones:
Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. The British command allocated
a separate tank unit for each zone. Hobart’s 79th Armored Division and
their Funnies were operating on Gold. On June 6, 1944 at 7:25 AM, hundreds
of soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment,
heard the “Ashore!” command. The tension among
the personnel was unbearable. Clenching and squeezing
their weapons in anxiety, soldiers approached the shore in the
landing vessels through the gusting wind. But the German forces were ready
to meet them with heavy fire. The British suffered heavy losses
within the first minutes of battle. The Duplex Drive tanks were landing directly on the
beach because of the storm. As soon as the vehicles
started supporting the infantry, German defenses in the landing
zone were quickly penetrated. Sherman “Crabs” and
other engineering tanks cleared the paths
through minefields, and the British forces started advancing
deeper into German-occupied France. The tensest events
unfolded on Omaha Beach. The 741st, 743rd,
and 745th Tank Battalions were supposed
to support this zone. 27 out of 29 Sherman DDs
of the 741st Tank Battalion sunk while attempting
to reach the shore. The commander
of the 743rd Tank Battalion decided to land their Duplex Drive
tanks straight on the beach. A part of the 745th Battalion’s tanks,
along with the command staff, couldn’t reach the shore
until 10 AM on the 7th of June because of the
storm and heavy fire. The situation with the Allied forces
seemed very dire in some places. The troops were an easy
target on the open shoreline, which led to colossal losses. 4,000 men were killed or went missing
in action that day on Omaha Beach alone. However, the Germans didn’t
manage to place their reserves and coordinate the
actions of separate units, which played
into the Allies’ hand. This, along with the work of tankers
and the engineering equipment, helped retake and expand the landing
zones further, and hold the bridgehead. After the Allied landing, their forces would go on to liberate
France from German occupation and pierced through Western boundaries
of Germany, despite heavy losses. At the same time, Operation Bagration,
a massive Red Army assault, was developing
on the Eastern front, which liberated the Byelorussian SSR,
the Lithuanian SSR and part of Poland. From this point onwards, the Allies
had the upper hand, and as a result, the end of the Second World War
in Europe came much quicker. Operation Overlord was the
largest landing operation in history. The great and valiant
contributions of the UK, the US, Canada, France, Belgium,
Netherlands, Poland, and Norway all played their part in the
victory on the Normandy shoreline.

100 thoughts on “D-Day: Allied Landings in Normandy

  1. Normandy was a monumental event in our history. What did you learn about Normandy from the video?

  2. Most people commenting "jUnO wAs cAnAdiAn" In fairness, the majority of the forces at Juno were Canadian but too ignorant to realise that the British also landed at Juno to assist the Canadians with No.48 Royal Marine Commandos. Nevertheless, it should have been the Canadian flag represented in the video.

  3. The mine clearing Crab tank, was the Flail Tank , that was first seen at El Alamain. My Dad was there and saw them in action. It was a South African engineer that first developed the Flail Tank.

  4. Really? British beach-heads Gold, Juno, Sword??? Juno was Canadian you ignorant facsimile! Over 45,000 Canadian died in this war and you want to call them British? The Canadian were the only army that secured their objective on D-Day. Typical American ignorance; get your facts straight!

  5. 99% of coments: JUNO BEACH ARE INVADE BY CANADIANS NOT BRITISH

    Me: Bro, Sword are invade by Free French troops with British equip and Juno are Invade with Canadians and Free Poland Army

  6. In real history, the war was won and lost in the East" not because this event ! In total, four in five Germans killed were by Russia and China,, Russia lost 25 million people doing so.. Yet of course America saved the world lol lol

  7. I join the chorus of aggrieved Canadians. Also, you fail to credit the DD tanks to the British, and ,indeed , to Gen. Hobart.It was one of his " funnies."

  8. Y'all screaming for the "Canadian Juno Beach" know that Canada was a British Dominion until 1982, so it's correct to say that Juno Beach was freed by the British because Canada was in fact still a part of Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_Act_1982

  9. The USSR destroyed 75% of the axis military power. 9 out of 10 German soldiers were killed on the Eastern front. USSR fought against: Germany, Austria, Japan, Romania, Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia+ against volunteers from all over Europe. When the allies landed in France, less than a year before the victory, by this time the best German soldiers and divisions were killed on the Eastern front. The biggest and most massive battle of the allies in world war II is "Battle of the Bulge" , the loss of allies in it amounted to 90,000 soldiers, the loss of Germany 63,000 soldiers. For comparison, in the battle of Stalingrad alone, the Germans and their allies lost 1,500,000 soldiers. Just as the Soviet Union contributed to the defeat of Japan in 1945, the Soviet Union destroyed 1 million Japanese army in Manchuria. The losses of great Britain during the second world war amounted to 500,000 soldiers, the United States also lost 500,000 soldiers. Soviet losses 27 000 000 people with the majority found it peaceful not military people-the elderly, women, children. Mass bombing of the allied aircraft were ineffective, as almost until the end of the war, industrial production of military products in Germany only grew. You will say about lend-lease aid, so the UK received from the US three times more aid supplies than us supplies to the USSR. The USSR produced 177,000 aircraft and 148,000 tanks during the second world war. Lend-lease USSR received 10 000 aircraft, 11 000 tanks. Do you feel the difference?

  10. Kind of funny that this video implies that Percy Hobart was the person who created the funnies engineer tanks. He had nothing to do with designing of these specialized vehicles. That was research and development scientists, Hobart was responsible for training the 79th Div for using their new vehicles just like he trained the British Desert tank divisions that became the Desert Rats.

  11. The Soviet Union has never properly been thanked for defeating The Nazis,, No other country shed more blood to crush Fascism. 27 million+ killed without them the British and Americans would have still been fighting the war into the 50s/60s

  12. The reason Omaha was a near disaster was because Omar Bradley refused any of Hobart's Funnies and the American commander responsible for the launching of the DD tanks launched them to far out so most of the tanks sunk, unlike the British commander how launched them nearer the beach thus most reached the beaches.

  13. With respect to the allied invasion and every lost soldier, sailor and airman every beach had a multi-national contingent from Army, Marine, Engineer, Signal, Airborne, Naval and Air Force contingents.
    It looked great from US, Canadian and Uk perspectives, but among every beach-head were units of all the allied nations, the British Commonwealth and Free Polish and Free French forces too.

    Nothing was straight forward as everyone had to work together, Naval to Airborne, Command to Rangers, marines, Infantry and tank units, all requiring ammunition, Artillery, logistics, support and signalling.

    There would not be any heroes out there if it were not for the Heroes who were left there, the resistance who plotted, planned, hid, spied and sacrificed, behind the lines, and the Heroes who came before, with and after the main invasion, bless them all. Amen.

  14. I knew a WW2 veteran from the Maisonneuve Regiment which landed on Juno beach (he was Canadian not BRITISH), unfortunately he died 2 years ago. He always said this to me: If one day China decides to invade everyone with their allies and that you'll have to land somewhere on a beach in South Korea, you will only wait for one thing to arrive, tanks.

  15. So .. This is how i learn History ..

    Not from school , book , teacher ..
    But from game and story from youtube :3

    Sorry for my bad english

  16. The allies during d-day didn’t have that many tanks probably none even made it it’s was mostly the Germans and axis

  17. It is a shame that this well made documentary avoids the most important fact concerning the loss of nearly all US Duplex tanks on D day.
    The captain of the American tank delivery ship launched the Tanks over two miles off the beach where the waves were too large for the tanks.
    At his court martial he was accused of cowardice for not taking his ship to within half a mile as planned. His explanation was that he didn’t want
    to endanger his ship. It was pointed out to him that the American Navy is supposed to get in harms way, he was found guilty of cowardice.

  18. the video pretends not to know who invented the duplex drive : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DD_tank

    Also if the Americans invented something they are credited with it. If the Americans didn't invent something they are credited with it or the "allies" are credited with it. nice

  19. The allies didn’t face the real German army on the beaches , they faced a couple fools with machine guns.

  20. let's not forget the Tuskegee Airmen who flew over 500 combat missions and did not lose a single passenger the Squadron took out tanks from above this was an all-black regiment Squadron

  21. What did I learn? That AMERICA developed the deep wading Sherman but the BRITISH inventions of Mulberry and Pluto plus the Sherman DD tank, without which the invasion wouldn't have been possible were "ALLIED" inventions! At least you got the Hobart Funnies in the right nation!

  22. Did he not mention that us Americans failed on one of our beaches and it took us a day to take just the beach? British engineering was better than ours, our ‘floating tanks’, didn’t exactly float….😂 Maybe we should have asked the British to make and design our ‘floating tanks’!😂

  23. The Germans was so efficient that the fifteen hundred men on Normandy almost stopped the entire invasion by causing over 15,000 casualties it was still not enough by day end the allies had landed 100,000 men in France…

  24. Juno beach was just Canadian troops. The Canadian troops made it the farthest into France on the first day. The Americans had the most difficult beach Omaha.

  25. Bet they didnt need surcurity gaurds on hospitals super markets and pubs then so it was pointless war for the soldiers

  26. Perang hanyalah akan menyisakan penderitaan dendam bahkan kerugian di berbagai hal. Gara gara perang banyak perempuan menjadi janda & anak-anak menjadi yatim.
    Salam Indonesia damai

  27. My heartiest salute to all those soldiers who gave full measure of sacrifice for humanity. That was really a battle for peace. May God bless all those noble souls

  28. You’ve gotta love the German uniforms and hardware
    Beautiful and the best of the best
    Especially those Panzer and tiger tanks
    But the Americans with their amphibious tanks ingenious with the exception of only two out of 29 tanks making it to the shore

  29. Соединённые Штаты,потеряли в войне,около 600 000 солдат и офицеров.Не так уж много,неправда-ли?Всё.

  30. The British were the cowards. Stalin asked them to open the 2nd front and engage the Germans, in his words" if the British fight the Germans, they won't fear them so much “.

  31. Soviets did not liberated Lithuania, once they pushed germans, they occupied Lithuania and other countries in their path. Soviets were worse than Third Reich. And don't forget the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact both Third Reich and SSRS started the WW2 as the bad guys.

  32. This is an atrocious representation of D-Day. Atrocious! Whoever did this should seriously consider selling aluminum siding instead of making documentaries.

  33. Germany made a big mistake by attacking Russia. the American forces and allies grew in great numbers. So many firces against the Nazi s , this made the Germans without rest!!

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