The War to June 6, 1944: How the decisions surrounding D-Day came about - InfoNews

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The War to June 6, 1944: How the decisions surrounding D-Day came about

Second World War -- German Prisoners taken by Canadian troops at Juno Beach, D-Day, during the invasion of Europe, on June 6, 1944.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/National Archives of Canada, Frank L. Dubervill, PA-133754
June 06, 2019 - 6:30 AM

OTTAWA - THE WAR TO JUNE 6: Allied fortunes had rebounded by 1944 after the massive German conquests of 1940-41. British and American armies had driven the Germans from North Africa and Sicily forced Italy to surrender and were moving up the Italian boot while Allied bombers were pounding German cities and towns day and night. In the East, the Soviets were on the march to Berlin. And in the Pacific, the Americans were making headway against the Japanese.

WHY INVADE? Military planners recognized Germany could not be defeated by strategic bombing or naval blockade. Instead, they would have to invade to both free occupied Allies and ensure Europe didn't fall into the hands of the Soviet Union.

READ MORE:  It was a 'bugger of a fight'

WHY NORMANDY? The decision was largely dictated by technology and supply problems. Beaches had to be within range of British-based fighter planes and easy striking distance of a port, which would be needed to unload supplies. The Nazis believed the Allies would attack at the Pas de Calais, which was the closest point to Great Britain. Knowing this, the Allies devised an elaborate deception to keep the Nazis focused on this area while actually preparing for Normandy, which had lighter defences, suitable beaches and the requisite proximity to ports.

READ MORE: Some facts and figures about D-Day

WHO HAD THE ADVANTAGE? In many ways, the Allies and Germans were well-matched. The Allies had far superior air and sea power; the Germans had troops and tanks available for quick reinforcement. The Germans had better tanks and anti-tank guns while the Allies had more of both. German troops, in many cases, were better trained and superbly led by hardened veterans. The Germans, however, were hampered by shortages of supplies, especially fuel while the Allies had plenty of everything. German generals also faced ham-handed interference by Adolf Hitler; Allied generals were able to unfold their plans without harassment from above.

WHY D-DAY? A combination of factors including weather, the phases of the moon and the tides led to June 6 being the day of the invasion. As for the moniker, military planners habitually designated the day an operation was to begin as D-Day — the 'D' has no particular significance. However, because the Normandy invasion was largest of its kind ever attempted, D-Day became forever associated with the operation on June 6, 1944, the official name of which was Operation Overlord.

News from © The Canadian Press , 2019
The Canadian Press

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