D Day: A Great Crusade
June 6, 1944 marked the beginning of the end of World War II. What made this one day so pivotal? Find out why D Day became a deciding event in of this world war, and why it ultimately changed the course of history.
On that summer day of 1944, Allied Forces banded together and invaded France in an extreme effort to liberate the country from Nazi Germany rule. By the end of that first day of invasion, over 164,000 Allied troops successfully stormed the beaches of Normandy, organizing the largest amphibious assault in military history. So, why Normandy? First, this area was not as heavily defended, and second, air cover was only a short distance away. In total, 39 divisions of Allied Forces participated in the battle, and this number was made up by 22 American divisions, 12 British divisions, 3 Canadian divisions, 1 French division, and 1 Polish division. On D Day, over 4,000 troops died, and thousands more had gone missing or were heavily injured.
Initially, President Dwight D. Eisenhower selected June 5th as the original day of invasion, but intense weather conditions prompted him to postpone the invasion for 24 hours. Upon launch, he remarked to the soldiers, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.”
The eyes of the world certainly were upon the soldiers that day, and each year on June 6th, the world still remembers the incredible unified planning of several countries in the Allied forces and the sacrifices that every one of those troops made that day and throughout the war. This battle was crucial in liberating Northern Europe and eventually bringing about an Allied victory.
What Does the “D” in D Day Stand For?
Several people (including historians and others) have insisted over the years that the “D” in D Day stands for disembarkation, death, decision, departed, or even doom. Others have probably thought of even more names to add to this list of “d” words. However, most historians and military personnel can agree that the “D” simply meant day. D Day was a military term that described the day an attack would happen, and a similar term, “H Hour,” described the hour of the attack. This proved useful in military operations because when a person used plus or minus a given number after the D in D Day and H in H Hour, this would indicate the number of days and hours before or after a planned attack. As an example, “D-4 Day” would indicate a date four days before an attack.
This terminology was used throughout the military, and the day of the first Normandy landings was not the first or only day to receive this name. In fact, there were many battles in WWII that were called D Day, but the starting battle of the Normandy landings was the only one to maintain the nickname.
D Day Code Names
The Normandy landings – series of landings that occurred in Normandy following D Day
Operation Neptune – the role of seapower in bringing troops into Normandy
Operation Overlord – the entire invasion of Normandy
Operation Bodyguard – deceptive plan to protect Operation Overlord
Operation Fortitude – a part of Operation Bodyguard
Utah and Omaha – two beaches in France where the U.S. landed
Juno – beach in France where Canada landed
Gold and Sword – beaches in France where the British landed
D Day Anniversary
Each year on the anniversary of the invasion, demonstrations and other events commemorate the attack and all those who fought. In 2014, part of the commemoration included parachutists landing on Sword Beach and
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing a tribute. In 2015, among the usual ceremonies, there was also an airshow and a military vehicles parade. The year 2016 is the 72nd anniversary of D Day, and commemorations will include Wreath Laying and an official ceremony at the German military cemetery. Historical images will be played on a giant outdoor screen, and there will also be fireworks with music. At any other time of the year tourists can visit several museums and memorials that are located around the area.
At Low VA Rates, we know how important it is to remember these important historic moments and the brave men and women who sacrificed on those days. We try to help our veterans every day of the year, and you can visit our site at lowvarates.com to learn more.