World - D-Day at 78: Remembering the Largest Seaborne Invasion in History

June 6, 2022 marks the 78th anniversary of the launch of Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day. The beach landings at Normandy, France are perhaps the most enduring symbol of Allied courage in the face of Nazi aggression, and are especially symbolic this year: many of the same allies are pushing back on a new war of aggression in Ukraine, the first major land war in Europe since the end of WWII.

June 6, 2022 marks the 78th anniversary of the launch of Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day. The beach landings at Normandy, France are perhaps the most enduring symbol of Allied courage in the face of Nazi aggression, and are especially symbolic this year: many of the same allies are pushing back on a new war of aggression in Ukraine, the first major land war in Europe since the end of WWII.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces under General Dwight D. Eisenhower took advantage of a narrow weather window and stormed the beaches at Normandy, France. It was the largest amphibious assault in history and a momentous step towards the end of the war.

To support the operation, the Allies had a force of 150,000 soldiers, 11,000 aircraft and 7,000 vessels at their disposal, including 4,000 landing craft and 860 merchant ships. Despite its massive size, "Operation Overlord" was kept secret until the beginning of the assault, a success attributable to a careful campaign of deception.

The target 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. While the weather on D-Day was far from ideal, postponing would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days in each month would work.

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