The Success and Weapons Used on D-Day of World War II

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“We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall never surrender! ”(Winston Churchill) World War II is often portrayed as the war that ended with ease on the legendary D-Day. But, the past recalls that D-Day took years of planning and had many complicated components and setbacks.

The main plan on D-Day was to misinform Hitler that 350,000 Allied soldiers were in Scotland ready to invade at any moment. In response to this, Hitler immediately sent most of his troops to defend the Eastern front. But, what he didn’t know was that about 156,000 Allied troops were coming by boat or plane to invade one of five beaches, Juno, Sword, Omaha, Utah, or Gold on the Western front of France, a country he had already invaded(Bedin).

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Juno Beach was first invaded by the 3rd Division of Canadian Infantry. Their main job was to reach the road that went from Caen to Bayeux and cut off all German reinforcements(Bedin). Sword Beach was seized by the 3rd Division of UK Infantry, 79th Armored Division of UK, and the 6th Division of UK paratroopers in the beginning. The main job of the 3rd Division of UK Infantry and the 79th Armored Division of UK was to reach and gain control of the airport in Carpiquet. The main job for the 6th Division of UK paratroopers was to conquer the bridges near the canal of Caen and the Orne River as these bridges could be used for a counterattack. They were also tasked with the duty to deactivate the batteries of the cannons at Merville(Bedin).

Omaha Beach was first taken over by the 29th and 1st Divisions of the US Infantry. They had the responsibility of conquering the towns along the coast, Colleville, St. Laurent, and Vierville. After that, they had to meet up with the British and reach the principal road(Bedin). Utah Beach was conquered by the 4th Division of US Infantry at the start. Their role was to reach the principal road and toward Cherbourg, while protected by airborne forces(Bedin).

Gold Beach was first occupied by the 5th Division of UK Infantry. Their mission was to conquer the Arromanches, a specific group of communes in northwestern France(Bedin). The Allies came to these beaches in many costly waves. Each wave was very costly because one slight mistake could ruin the entire operation. For example, if troop 1 landed in the wrong location, troop 2 won’t be able to find them. And if troop 2 was dependent on troop 1 for materials or soldiers, it would completely ruin the operation. Luckily, none of these mistakes took place and the operation, although lost almost 40,000 Allies, succeded in defeating the Nazis.

The weapons the Allies used are the M1 Garand, Winchester Trench Gun, M1903A4 Springfield, and the Thompson Submachine Gun. The M1 Garand was the most common gun used by American soldiers. It was and still is effective today due to its 30-06 round. The Winchester Trench Gun was a 12 gauge shotgun with a fast fire rate and extremely powerful shell. The M1903A4 was a more modern gun at the time with a 30-06 round, high powered scope, improved barrel, and a bolt-action system. The Thompson Submachine was a gun used by officers. It had a 45 caliber round and was capable of blowing limbs off enemy soldiers(“Allied Technology at D-Day”).

The tanks the Allies used are the AVRE and the M10 Destroyer Tank. The AVRE was a tank included in Hobart’s Funnies or tanks that were used to make landing easier during D-Day. It was equipped with a 29 cm Petard spigot mortar that fired a 40-pound bomb. This bomb was capable of destroying steel and concrete bunkers and worked well in the destruction of enemy placements. The M10 Destroyer Tank, also known as the Wolverine Tank, was built with an M4 Sherman Tank body and could take out enemy armor and fortification with its high firepower(“Allied Technology at D-Day”).

The Axis used a range of different types of equipment such as tanks, fighter aircraft, weapons, and ships to defend themselves during D-Day and various other battles. The most effective tank the Nazis used was the Panzerkampfwagen VI or Tiger Tank. This tank was invented by the British in WW I but wasn’t used by the makers in WW II. This humongous tank weighed 54 tons and had the ability to destroy any Allied tank with its 88 mm KwK 36 gun. This tank was also unique as it was designed to have firepower and protection over mobility(Mizokami).

The most efficient fighter aircraft deployed by the Nazis was the Messerschmitt Bf 109 Fighter. It was the most lethal fighter in WW II. It was equipped with two .51 caliber heavy machine guns and dominated all forces except the Royal Air Force. This plane was piloted by only the most skilled and was used in many places such as Europe, North Africa, and European Russia(Mizokami).

The two most successful weapons used by the Nazis were the MG-42 Machine and the Panzerfaust. The MG-42 was a major contributor to the high death rate and was a more developed version of the MG-34. The Panzerfaust was a single shot recoilless weapon that resembled a large egg-shaped warhead attached to a tube. It had a 30-yard range and frightened Allied soldiers as it could easily blow up a tank(Mizokami).

The most beneficial ship used by the Nazis was the U-Boat or Unterseeboat. This boat was highly useful in WW I and continued being beneficial until the end of WW II. It brought down 2779 Allied ships in 6 years but was eventually brought down by the Allies. Only 765 U-Boats were lost in WW II(Mizokami).

World War II commenced when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Many historians believe this is the sole start because after the Nazis invaded Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany which means that was when the English and French started fighting back, making it a true war. The Germans’ invasion of Poland was a result of Hitler’s rise to power, the League of Nations being passive, and Germany becoming more militaristic and nationalistic (“Crash Course World War II” 00:00-13:12).

Hitler obtained power in 1933 and advanced right into developing the state police, the Gestapo, and creating a security force that was dedicated to stamping out anyone who questioned his party. He also allied himself with Japan and Italy, two other countries that would do anything to increase their land (“Adolf Hitler is Named Chancellor of Germany”).

The League of Nations was passive by allowing Hitler to invade and control so much land. They were allowing him to do this because they felt guilty for holding all the charges of World War I against Germany and forcing Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles required Germany to fund all costs of the war and get charged for the entire war. They were also restricted from building up their military.

Germany became more belligerent and nationalistic by building up their army, overlooking the Treaty of Versailles, and invading Sudetenland and Austria in 1938 and Czechoslovakia in March of 1939(“Beginning of World War II” 00:00-07:54). Also, China was involved because at the time China and Japan had their own war going on, the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). This was a really bloody war that encouraged China to join the Allies as Japan was allied with the Axis Powers(“Rise of Militarism in Japan”).

The countries involved in this war were split up into two categories, the Allies and the Axis. The Allies were America, Canada, Great Britain, France, China, and the Soviet Union(“Beginning of World War II” 00:00-07:54), and the Axis were Germany, Japan, and Italy (“Crash Course World War II” 00:00-13:12).  

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