Sunday, 7 June 2015

38 Quick and Interesting Facts About D-Day

Image result for omaha beachThe Allied Invasion of Western Europe in 1944: D-DAY.

1. The Normandy Landings were the Allied invasion of Normandy on the 6th June 1944 during Operation Overlord, in World War 2.

2. They are commonly known as the D-Day Landings and were codenamed Operation Neptune.

3. The Normandy Landings was the largest sea-born invasion in history.

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4. For months before D-Day, the Allies planted misinformation, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to deceive the Germans as to the date and location of the real invasion.

5. There were over 3,000 reconnaissance missions in the weeks before the invasion, taking photos of key locations.

6. In 1943, draft copy of the plans blew out the window of Norfolk House, London. A passer-by retrieved them and handed them in.

7. There were five landing zones along the beaches of Normandy, stretching 50 miles along the coast. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno.

Image result for omaha beach8. The Americans landed at Utah and Omaha.

9. The British landed at Gold and Sword.

10. The Canadians landed at Juno.

11. The "D" in D-Day stand for Day. It was used to preserve secrecy.

12. The Invasion was originally planned for the 5th of June 1944, but was delayed for a day due to bad weather.

13. On the 28th April 1944, almost a thousand US servicemen were killed during a dress rehearsal for the invasion. They were in a convoy of ships off Slapton Sands, Devon, when German torpedo boats sank their convoy.

Image result for the crocodile d day14. New technology and gadgets were designed especially for the D-Day landings. These included a flame-throwing tank nicknamed "The Crocodile" and a collapsible motorbike.

15. 156,000 soldiers were involved in the Normandy Landings.

16. The expectations of casualties was 10,000 dead and 30,000 wounded.

17. Because of this high expected cost, 30,000 stretchers and 60,000 blankets were issued to cope with the casualties.

18. “Do you realise that by the time you wake up in the morning 20,000 men may have been killed?” Were the words of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, to his wife, the night before.
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19. The number of Allied casualties was 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.

20. There were up to 9,000 German casualties.

21. 7,000 naval vessels were involved in D-Day, the largest single day amphibious invasion of all time.

22. 24,000 airborne troops were dropped behind the German lines to secure vital roads and bridges.

Image result for omaha beach23. The first British casualty on D-Day was Lt Den Brotheridge at 00:16am, who was shot in neck a few minutes after he landed in France in a glider.

24. Thousands of condoms were issued to the troops for D-Day. They were pretty much all used for covering the end of their rifle to keep them dry.

25. The day before the invasion, Eisenhower told his troops, "You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.

26. In case of failure, Eisenhower wrote a draft statement, “I have withdrawn the troops… If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

27. The first American soldiers landed on the beaches at 6.31am.

28. At 7:30am the British and Canadians poured onto their beaches.

29. The Germans had 50,000 troops.

Image result for omaha beach30. Over a million rounds of ammunition were fired in one day.

31. On Omaha beach, American forces suffered over 2,000 casualties.

32. The Canadian soldiers on Juno beach suffered a 1 in 2 casualty rate.

33. The British force at Gold suffered over 1,000 casualties.

34. At Sword beach, the British had another 1,000 casualties.

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35. Scottish piper, Bill Millin played his bagpipes on the beaches to encourage the troops. Surprisingly, not one German sniper fired at him. He survived the battle, the invasion, and the rest of the war.

36. Richard Todd who starred in The Longest Day, a 1962 film about the Normandy Landings, as Major John Howard, was in the real landings. He was an officer in the 7th Parachute Battalion.

Image result for scotty37. James Doohan, who played Scotty in Star Trek, was a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Artillery during the D-Day landings and lost one of his fingers on the day.

38. Two prefabricated harbours, called Mulberries, built with 600,000 tonnes of concrete, were hauled across the English channel to supply the beachhead with equipment from naval vessels.

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