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Operation Overlord

explanatory Essay
1270 words
1270 words
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Operation Overlord

Operation Overlord was the code name used for the Allied attack on German-occupied Northern France in the summer of 1944. The organization responsible for planning this task was SHAEF, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, and the officer in command of Overlord was Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Command of ground forces was given to General Bernard Montgomery, while naval forces would be commanded by Admiral Bertram Ramsay. Air forces were under the control of Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallary, and supply and logistics the task of Lt. General John Lee.

Operation Bolero

The extensive buildup of troops and supplies required to support Overlord began in April of 1942. Known as Operation Bolero, this effort eventually saw the movement of over 1.5 million military personnel to England, as well as the materials required to house, clothe and feed them. The total number of soldiers participating in all aspects of the invasion numbered 2.8 million.

Operation Bodyguard

The overall effort to deceive the Germans was known as Operation Bodyguard, and consisted of ten smaller operations including Operation Fortitude North, Operation Fortitude South, Operation Graffham and Operation Royal Flush. Operation Fortitude was specifically designed to provide deception for Operation Overlord. Among the many tools used by Fortitude were double agents, fake radio traffic and inflatable vehicles and craft designed to convince the Germans that the buildup of forces were intended to strike at Norway and/or the Pas-de-Calais region of France.

Operation Neptune

The seaborne aspects of Operation Overlord were known as Operation Neptune, and involved the embarkation of the troops, their transport across the English Channel, and their landings at Normandy. The Neptune forces were also responsible for providing covering gunfire during the landings and for continued supply operations following the landings.

Air Superiority

By early June of 1944 the Allies had achieved air superiority over the skies of France, and had reduced the Luftwaffe to an almost token force. The Allied control of the air would play a key role in limiting the Germans ability to maneuver their forces once the Overlord landings began. With complete control of the skies, Allied planes could easily identify and destroy German forces moving during daylight.
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...s were more difficult to locate and disable. Although the fighting at Juno Beach was more intense than that at Gold or Sword, the Canadians managed to exit the beach only a half an hour after landing.

Sword Beach

The British troops at Sword Beach encountered relatively little initial resistance from the Germans, but were later tasked with repelling a counterattack by the German 21st Panzer Division. Although the 3rd Infantry Division did manage to link up with the 6th Airborne forces, most of their initial objectives, including the capture of Caen, were not met.

Aftermath

In spite of the myriad of problems encountered by the various landing forces, especially those at Omaha Beach, the Allied forces had established positions inland by the end of June 6th. The Germans, still suspecting that the Normandy landings were a diversion from expected landings in the Pas-de-Calais, failed to launch any significant counterattacks. With beachheads established, air superiority over northern France, and relatively little organized resistance from the Germans, the Allied forces began setting up the necessary supply lines that would be needed for their push into France and on to Germany.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains operation overlord was the code name used for the allied attack on german-occupied northern france in the summer of 1944.
  • Explains the extensive buildup of troops and supplies needed to support overlord began in april 1942. operation bolero saw the movement of over 1.5 million military personnel to england, as well as the materials required to house, clothe and feed them.
  • Explains operation bodyguard, which consisted of ten smaller operations, and was specifically designed to provide deception for overlord. double agents, fake radio traffic, inflatable vehicles and craft were used to convince the germans that the buildup of forces was intended to strike at norway and/or the pas-de-calais region of france.
  • Explains the seaborne aspects of operation overlord were known as the operation neptune, which involved the embarkation of the troops, their transport across the english channel, and their landings at normandy.
  • Explains that the allies had achieved air superiority over france, and had reduced the luftwaffe to an almost token force. the allied control of the air would limit the germans ability to maneuver their forces once the overlord landings began.
  • Explains that the overlord planners were restricted to the days of june 5th through june 7th to allow for possible delays. bad weather forced a one-day delay.
  • Explains that the 82nd, 101st, and 6th airborne divisions commenced their jumps for several reasons, including overreaction by the c-47 transport planes to anti-aircraft fire.
  • Describes how naval vessels bombarded the normandy coast in order to soften up the german defenders, but both aerial and naval attacks were relatively ineffective.
  • Explains that the first of the assault craft were scheduled to land at their respective beaches at 6:30 a.m. on june 6th. the naval bombardment would switch from coastal targets to those inland.
  • Explains that the 4th infantry division landed at utah beach in the wrong positions due to a current that pushed their landing craft to the southeast.
  • Explains that the 1st and 29th infantry division soldiers faced heavy german resistance at omaha beach. many landing craft failed to make it ashore, and the naval and aerial bombardments were particularly ineffective.
  • Explains that high tide occurred later at gold, juno and sword beaches, so british and canadian forces were set to land at 7:25 a.m.
  • Explains that although the initial wave of lcts at gold beach suffered damage from obstacles and mines, german infantry defenses had been significantly reduced by pre-landing naval bombardments and the british 50th infantry division was able to accomplish almost all of its objectives.
  • Explains that the canadian 3rd infantry division's landing craft at juno beach had to navigate through partially submerged beach obstacles due to a delay in the landing.
  • Narrates how the british troops at sword beach encountered relatively little initial resistance from the germans, but were later tasked with repelling a counterattack. although the 3rd infantry division managed to link up with the 6th airborne forces, most of their initial objectives were not met.
  • Explains that the allied forces had established positions inland by the end of june 6th. the germans failed to launch any significant counterattacks after the normandy landings.
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