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D-Day: The Day That Changed American Society

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What day in your life was the most important? One of the most important days during World War II was D-day. Don’t be mistaken by the word D-day it did not all happens in just one day but many days. D-day was just a code name for the day that Operation Overload started. D-day is very well known for the beginning of the end of the war in Europe and Hitler’s rule over most of the ruined continent of Europe. Many say that if it were not for D-day Europe would have definitely fell to Hitler. So was your day this important? Did your most important day change a whole continent? (1-1) There are a few terms used when people talk about D-day.

One of them is D-day, which is a military term used telling the unknown date in the future when an attack will be launched. It is most commonly used for the invasion of Normandy. (1-2) The second term not often herd but, still is used is H-hour. H-hour is the hour that D-day is supposed to start. H-hour for the three Normandy invasion sites were varied, because of weather, as much as eighty-five minutes. (1-3) The third term used is Overload. Which was the code name for the entire Allied plot to invade and free France and Western Europe. (1-4) The fourth term used when talking about D-day is Neptune. Neptune stood for the first phase of Operation Overload. Which was the planning of the Normandy assault, the movement of the armada across the English Channel, and the battle for the beaches. (1-5) The fifth term sometimes used when talking about D-day is The Atlantic Wall.

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The Atlantis Wall was the Germans first line of defense in the west, which was along the English Channel coast of France. The wall was only partly completed by June of 1944. It had many guns placed on it, beach obstacles, and mine fields. The part of the wall directly across from England and manned by Field Marshal Rammel’s seventeenth and eighteenth armies containing thirty-seven divisions. (1-6,7) Another word people use when they talk about D-day is landing craft. There are six different types of landing craft used on D-day.

The first type is LCVP, which stands for Landing Craft Vechile and Personal; it took thirty-two men ashore. The second type is LCA, which stands for Landing Craft Assault; it was and armored wooden craft, which delivered troops. The third type is LCI, which stands for Landing Craft Infantry; it carried one hundred fifty-eight small landing craft, which individually delivered two hundred troops. The fourth type is LST, which stands for Landing Ship Tank; it was three hundred twenty-seven feet long. It cost one and a half million dollars a piece, and there were two hundred and twenty-nine of them used in the invasion at Normandy.

The last two are LCM and LCT, which stands for Landing Craft Mechanized and Landing Craft Tank, which both carried tanks and guns to the shore. (1-8) The seventh term that some people use when they talk about D-day is infantry. The infantry formed the backbone of the attacks and defending forces on D-day. An American infantry division contained fourteen thousand thirty-seven men, who were divided into three regiments. Germany’s infantry divisions had twelve thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine men but had a greater number and more powerful firepower. (1-9) The last term some use when talking about D-day is artillery.

Artillery supported the Allied landings came mainly from warships. Then varied from five-inch guns of destroyers to the fifteen-inch batteries of the British battleships Waspite and Ramillies. (12-1) There were many things for war used on D-day besides the one hundred and fifty thousand Allied troops on the ground of Normandy. These are a few of the Allied numbers for D-day. (15-5) There were two million tons of supplies and weapons, and mountains of food all used on D-day. There were one thousand five hundred tanks for two divisions.

Also there were five thousand three hundred ships and landing craft. All the fighting was not on the ground either. There were twelve thousand airplanes and twenty thousand air troopers. (4-2) There were many different types of weapons used on D-day. The Allies used mainly jeeps, C-47 transports, Sherman tanks, and two and half trucks. For the most part the Allies mounted machine guns on their vechiles. The Germans used mainly machine guns, panther tanks, antitank guns, and MK IV tanks. (4-3) Here was the basic plan of attack of D-day.

The United States would take four divisions to Utah and, one division to Omaha. The British were to take fifty divisions to Gold and, three divisions to Sword. The Canadians were to take three divisions to Juno. All the towns were on the coast of France. (3-1) At 3:00 AM the pre-invasion breakfast would be served. The troops would have pancakes, sausage, eggs, and coffee. (3-2) One soldier said, At 4:00 AM soldiers were assembled on the deck and at first ray of light two thousand men were at perfect silence on the USS Chase. (11-2) While crossing the English Channel the ships would break off into ten lanes and clear away for the rest of the troops. (11-3) Then at low tide at 6:31 AM the first landing craft would drop its ramps and US soldiers would wade in water one hundred yards to the shore. (11-1) While the troops were going ashore the was to be a massive air attack on the Germans. Many of the airdrops for supplies were unsuccessful because of very heavy clouds. Most of the troops dropped by airplane were thirty-five miles off target.

Despite all the problems they would seize their first town, Saint-Mere-Eglise. (15-1) Only the D-day Commander could give the word for this major battle to start. (3-3) The Commander was, our thirty-fourth President after the war, Dwight D, Eisenhower. (15-2) This would be the biggest fleet in history with fifty-nine convoys over one hundred miles. (15-2) The day before D-day Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory warned that only seventy-five percent of the twenty three thousand air dropped troops would survive the drop after midnight behind the German lines. (15-3) On the morning of July 6, Dwight D. Eisenhower had a message in his wallet. My decision to attack this time and place was based upon the best information available.

If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone. (15-4) By the end of the day Commander Eisenhower had smoked four packs of cigarettes and drank fifteen cups of coffee. (4-1) It is surprising when looking at Germanys numbers on D-day because if you knew that they did not have as many soldiers as the Allies you would wonder how they took over Europe in such a short time. Germany only had eighty thousand troops, and only eight hundred and ninety airplanes. (5-1) Germans also had many miles of barbwire and planted four million mines. They did not need any landing craft because they were already there. So you would think that they would invest more time into something else. They only had twenty-one ships and one hundred and twenty-seven tanks. The reason most people think that the Germans lost was because most were defending inland of France. (12-2)

On D-day there were sixty infantry divisions and ten tank divisions defending France. (3-4) The Russians also did their part on D-day. Also called the Red Army, the Russians had taken out fifty-six of the one hundred and fifty-seven German divisions. In ten days the Red Army, one hundred and thirty divisions, had destroyed three German armies. They had killed, wounded, or captured three hundred and fifty thousand German men. (12-3) D-day was turned about a lot better than many people panned. Some D-day planners had thought there maybe as many as ten thousand dead by the end of the first day of the invasion. They were wrong of course. There were only two thousand five hundred Allied soldiers dead by the end of the day. (5-2)

Some soldiers died wading in the water because of their heavy helmets. Only five of the thirty-two first tanks survived the waters. (15-5) At the end of July Allies had five hundred and sixty-six thousand tons of supplies, one million troops, and one hundred and seventy-seven vechiles at Normandy. (15-6) While at Normandy the Allies used six hundred and fifty tons of supplies per day. (8-1) For all these courageous things done and those who died on D-day there is going to be a memorial in their honor. It is an eighty-eight acre site. Just across State 122 and the US Route 460 bypass in Bedford, Virginia, and with a direct view of the Blue Mountains. The memorial is a granite arch with OVERLOAD in the top of the arch. It will have a riffle stuck into the top with a helmet on the top of it.

The helmet will have The Final Tribute engraved at the top. In conclusion I would have to say that if you think you have a more important day than D-day then you must be selfish, but thats my opinion. World War II was not just about the Holocaust and Hitler. It was about D-day, the day where many lost their lives to keep the rights that we have today, and showed the importance of getting involved, and helping ones neighbor.


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