The Anniversary of the Normandy Landings

Earlier in June of this year, the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy landings was celebrated by veterans and their families. They gathered together to honor one of the largest and deadliest assaults of the Second World War, which many believe helped give the Allies an increased chance of liberating France and winning the war against the Germans. No armada as large as that used in the Normandy landings had ever been previously put together.

It was on the sixth of June in 1944 that the Allies hit the beaches of France in an attempt to obliterate the German defenses there. Over one hundred and fifty thousand Allied troopsstormed the coast with the help of more than two thousand landing crafts and seven hundred warships The Normandy landings were also aided by an incredibly large supply of aircraft as the Allies aimed to move their way through the nation of France and eventually drive the Nazis out of Paris. Due to the air support as well as paratroopers, they were able to attack from behind as well.

The men fought for well over two months after the initial coastal attack, and hundreds of thousands of casualties befell their ranks. They had thought they might make it to Paris within seven days, but they had underestimated the German defense forces. The Normandy landings were only the start of a much greater conflict. In the first month, the Allies were advancing less than one mile per day. The last few days of that first month saw increased progression, though the battles were still quite deadly, the Stars and Stripes reports.

The Allies did not manage to liberate Paris until August 25, just shy of three months following the assault on the beaches. It was close to a year before they had overtaken Germany. The push that began with the Normandy landings ended with the surrender of German forces. While it took much longer than anticipated, the Allied advance through France into Germany was ultimately successful in netting the Allies a victory on the European front.

On the seventieth anniversary this year, the Normandy landings were not just honored by veterans and relatives but also by many tourists and other visitors who showed appreciation for the sacrifices made by so many thousands of men to secure a victory in the war. The bravery of the men who fought in the Normandy landings and the battles thereafter is uncontested, and all who have benefited from the liberation they achieved are eternally grateful that they were willing to show such courage in fighting against fascism to secure the freedoms of an entire continent.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE