Monday, 13 April 2015

return to win

"Everything indicates that the enemy will launch an offensive against the western front of Europe, at the latest in the spring, perhaps even earlier...."
--Adolf Hitler, Directive No. 51, November 3, 1943
From 1941 to 1944 America and its allies pursued the goal of defeating "Germany First." Their strategy rested on a key assumption, ultimately there would have to be a massive invasion of Northwest Europe aimed at the heart of the Axis empire. This would reduce German pressure on the Soviet Union by creating a true "second front" in Europe. Germany would be trapped between the Soviets in the east and the Americans and British in the west.
By 1943 success on the battlefield and production in the factories made it possible to begin formal planning for this bold operation,the largest amphibious invasion in history. The target date was spring 1944.
In Berlin, Hitler understood that an invasion would come. Fortification of the coast of Northwest Europe was already underway. In 1943 its pace accelerated and more troops were posted in the west. The Germans expected the invasion in early 1944. They knew that it would determine the war's outcome. What they did not know was precisely when and where the Allies would strike.This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that's the way it's going to be. We're going down there, and we're throwing everything we have into it, and we're going to make it a success."
--General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Formal planning for the invasion of Northwest Europe began in 1943. A group led by British General Frederick Morgan searched for the best point along the coast to strike and started drawing up assault plans. In May, at an Allied conference in Washington, D.C., a target date of spring 1944 was set for the long-awaited attack.
In December 1943 a commander for the operation was selected. The choice was an American,General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower had directed Allied invasion forces in North Africa and Italy. He took up his new post,Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force,in January 1944. Eisenhower approved of Morgan's selection of the Normandy coast in France as the invasion site, but he increased the size of the assault force. He and his staff then prepared the details of a plan to organize, transport, land, and supply the largest amphibious invasion force in history.
The operation was code-named "Overlord." The outcome of the war rested upon its success.
The plan for Operation Overlord entailed landing nine divisions of sea and airborne troops, over 150,000 men, along a 60-mile stretch of coast in just 24 hours.
On D-Day, three airborne divisions, one British and two American, would drop behind the landing beaches. Their job,seize beach exits, capture key transportation and communication points, and block German counterattacks.
Six divisions would assault the five landing beaches. Each beach had a code name. Utah Beach was assigned to the U.S. 4th Division. The US 29th and 1st Divisions would land at Omaha Beach. Further east, the British 50th Division would assault Gold Beach and the Canadian 3rd Division would attack at Juno Beach. The British 3rd Division would take Sword Beach.

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