The Normandy invasion is generally considered the turning point of World War II for the Allies. The invasion took place on June 6, 1944 and covered 5 landing areas along the Normandy coast. For the Allies, this was an all or nothing gamble to secure a foothold in Europe. If the invasion had failed, the outcome of the war could have been different. This paper will highlight the two of the landing areas in which the Americans were involved and one in which the British were involved, and what happened on those beaches.
Omaha Beach was the code name for one of the five landing areas of the Normandy Invasion, which involved American troops. The beach stretched over 6 miles and was the largest of the five assault areas. The Germans, under Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, had already built a formidable defense in which to protect the battlefield. The waters and beach of this landing area were heavily mined and there were a dozen strong points, called "resistance nests". Leading the army for the U.S. was Lieutenant General Omar Bradley. The assault was to take place at 0630 hours by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division and the 116th Regiment. The objectives of the first Division were ambitious.
First, capture the villages of Vierville, Saint-Laurent, and Colleville; and then it was to attack south toward Pointe du Hoc. From the beginning, everything went terribly wrong at Omaha Beach. Throughout the landing, gunners from the German army poured deadly fire into the ranks of the invading Americans. At 0830 hours the entire landing had ceased at Omaha Beach. The troops on the beach realized that the planned exits were not the way off. Slowly, they scaled the cliffs in small groups. Meanwhile, navy destroyers drifted in, scraping their bottoms in the shallow water, they destroyed fortifications at point blank range. By 1200 hours, the German fire had greatly decreased and the exits began to open. By nightfall the Americans were nowhere near their planned objectives, but they had a starting point. At the end of the day the U.S. had 2,400 causalities at Omaha Beach, but had landed 34,000 troops. The Germans suffered 1,200 casualties, 20% of their forces assigned to defend the beach( Drez, pg4).
Utah Beach was the code name for the other major landing area involving American troops. General Dwight D. Eisenhower Supreme Commander of the Allies Expeditionary Forces insisted the landing of Utah Beach to ensure an early capture of the Port of Cherbourg. The landing area at Utah was approximately 3 miles wide. The plan was to get...