June 6, 1944 is truly a day of infamy that will live forever in the hearts of millions of civilizations and servicemen. This day was thefirst day of Operation Overlord; the official name General Eisenhower gave it. Never before had a greater invasion been planned or executed (Ambrose 71). Over 200,000 allied troops were involved in the operation along with over 150,000 German troops (Ambrose 33). The buildup of so many troops took well over a year, coming from primarily three nations: Canada, Great Britain, and The United States (Ambrose 42). The strength of all these nations would be needed for the assault on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe.”
During thefirst six months of 1944, the United States and Great Britain gathered land, naval, and air forces in England to prepare for Operation Overlord, the assault on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe.” During this time, the Soviet Union tied down large amounts of German troops on the Eastern Front, while the Western Allies gathered their resources and trained their forces. They also spent a great amount of time searching the French Coast for a suitable landing point. Throughout 1942 and 1943, the BBC sent out broadcasts telling anyone who had postcards of the French coast to send them in. By the end of 1943 they had over 10 million pictures (Ambrose 74). The allied air force also flew many reconnaissance missions over France in the months before D-Day (Ambrose 72).
The US Navy and Air Force played a critical role in the time leading up to the operation. The Navy cleared mines out of the channel as well as run covert operations along the French coast (Ambrose 47). The Air Force bombed inland targets such as railroads, gun emplacements and supply depots. Throughout 1943 and 1944, the Air Force had also driven the German Air Force, “The Luftwaffe”, out of France and deep into Germany, protecting the heartland from the 8th Air Forces relentless stagic air attacks (Ambrose 105,106).
As we all know, th…