The Day of Defeat
Operation Overlord, more commonly known as D-day, took place on June sixth, 1944; though, it was not originally planned to happen when it did. In August 1943, “President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, meeting in Quebec, Casablanca, or at Yalta with Stalin, would approve or disapprove these plans. One of the first decisions to be made was the agreement to defeat Germany first and fight a holding action in the Pacific until Hitler fell.” (Dank, 7). They agreed that an invasion of Western Europe would be appropriate, almost a necessity, to defeat Germany, and they felt early May would be the proper time for such an undertaking, which was unprecedented at this time in world history due to its sheer size and scope. This would allow enough time for the detailed planning of the invasion, the practicing of paratrooper drops, the build up of troops, and the never ending briefings. After additional planning, the leaders decided that, in the best interests of the invasion, it should be postponed until a later date. “...this operation is fraught with hazards. Unless these hazards are squarely faced and adequately overcome, the operation cannot succeed. There is no reason why they should not be overcome, provided the energies of all concerned are bent to the problem.” (www.army.mil/cmh-pg/documents/wwii/g4-OL/g4-OL.htm). The date that the invasion would finally take place would be June sixth. June sixth was chosen as the date for Operation Overlord because of many factors which included; a lack of troops that would be available at the original set date; tidal conditions; weather; and a late rising moon. Originally the invasion was going to take place sometime in early May, but when early May approached some of the troops were still engaged in battles elsewhere and would not be available by the time the invasion was scheduled to take place. If the invasion was to have been carried out when it was originally planned, the troops would have had to have been spread so thinly, in an attempt to try and cover for absent troops, that the outcome of the mission might have been jeopardized. Since every man was needed for the invasion to succeed it was decided to delay the start date. This invasion would be either a victory over Hitler, or an unfathomable defeat. No matter which outcome, there was going to be a large fatali...
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...Since the Allies were not ready when the original D-Day date approached, a new date had to be selected. Many factors were considered in the selection of a new date, and June sixth was chosen as the soonest date that had conditions favorable to the success of the mission. Since Field Marshal Rommel had ordered debris to be dumped in the water around the Normandy shore, creating huge obstacles, one condition was absolutely essential to the Allies; low tide. The tide had to be low to allow allied troops to deploy from landing craft behind the obstacles placed under water. The light breeze that was forecast would clear the beaches of the smoke screens that the Allies would lay down, and a late rising moon was a definite benefit, as it would greatly increase the paratroopers’ safety, since the enemy would not be able to see them.
• Dank, Milton. Turning Point of World War II. New York: Franklin Watts, 1984.
• “Outline of Operation Overlord” Section VII www.army.mil/cmh-pg/documents/wwii/g4-OL/g4-OL.htm 17 April 2003
• “D-Day: Operation Overlord” www.thirdreichpages.org/normandy.htm 23 April 2003
• “Preparations” www.geocities.com/paddyjoe_m/prep.html 23 April 2003
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