The Battles Of World War II

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Normandy Invasion, D-Day In December 1943, the chiefs of staff of the Allies chose American General Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander for the Allies in Europe. British General, Sir Frederick Morgan, developed a number of plans for the Allies, most extraordinary was Operation Overlord, a full-scale invasion of France across the English Channel. This was the code name for the most secret command in the war. The invasion force was to cross the English Channel, land in France, and push on into Germany. The invasion was set for the spring of 1944. British and American troops, already gathering in England for the invasion, numbered more than 50 divisions (more than 150,000 troops), with thousands of bombers, fighter planes, and ships. The Allies decided that the beaches of Cotentin would be the landing sites for Operation Overlord. The invasion day, called D-Day by the military, was set for June 5. On the 4th, a storm swept into the English Channel and Eisenhower had to postpone the invasion. In the early morning hours of June 5 he met with his officers. The heavy rain and wind from the storm was expected to end by afternoon and the weather on June 6 was supposed to be acceptable for the amphibious assault. Nearly 175,000 soldiers were waiting for their orders. Either they would go out that night, or they would have to stay and wait for June 19, the earliest date when the tides would again be right for a landing. After waiting for a few moments, Eisenhower stopped, stuck out his chin, and said, "O.K., let's go!" The first step in the invasion began a day late, on June 6 around 12:15 am. The D-Day invasion began with a dangerous attack by American paratroopers. Dropped behind enemy lines to soften up the German troops and to secure targets, the paratroopers knew that if the assault by sea failed, there would be no rescue. Leaving from Portland Bill on the English coast, the 101st and 82nd U.S. Airborne Divisions were dropped on the Cherbourg peninsula. From that point, the 101st was to secure the western end behind UTAH and head off an eastern German advance. The 82nd, landing farther inland, was to seize the bridges and stop advance from the west. Heavy fog and German guns caused many challenges. The pilots were unable to drop the paratroopers accurately as planned. The 101st Division suffered great
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