Today marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the end of the Third Reich

Published 2:32 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

Today, June 6, 2019, is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion at Normandy. On that day, the Allied Forces began their march through France and into Germany, culminating in the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945.

The air, sea and land forces assembled by the Allies comprised the largest amphibious invasion force in history. That force consisted of some 156,000 US, British and Allied troops.

Opposing them were more than 850,000 German troops, many of whom were Eastern European conscripts.

Operation Overload, was the code name for the Normandy invasion. Embarked troops, which Included Naval transport forces, totaled more than 175,000. More than 5,333 ships and landing craft were used. Air forces included more than 2,395 aircraft and 864 gliders.

Eisenhower informed troops of invasion in a letter

The US put ashore more than 57,500 troops at two beaches – Utah and Omaha. British and Canadian

Forces put ashore more than 75,215 troops at 3 beaches – Sword, Juno and Gold.

Airborne troops numbering more than 20,000 were dropped into Normandy, mostly behind enemy lines, by the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the British 6th Airborne Division.

No better place to die

Casualty figures for D-Day can be estimated but exact figures are hard to come by. Research by the U.S. National D-Day Memorial Foundation have published the most accurate numbers. They have verified over 4,414 Allied deaths. U.S. casualties were 1,465 dead, 3,184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured.

German casualties on D-Day are not known but are estimated to vary from 4,000 to 9,000 troops.

Naval losses for the month of June were 24 warships, 35 merchantman and auxiliaries sunk and many others damaged.

What if it failed?

During the entire Battle of Normandy, more than 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing. Of this figure, more than 209,000 were Allied casualties – including nearly 37,000 dead [from the ground forces] and more than 16,700 deaths from the Allied Air Forces.

Recitation of numbers does not fully disclose the horrible magnitude of the loss of all these young men and women. The average age of a combat soldier was between 20 and 25 years of age. A better understanding of these losses might be gained by walking among the thousands of crosses [and Stars of David] and understanding that each marker represents a family, wife, mother, father or fiancée.

The sacrifice of so many lives must be honored by future generations. We are their voice. May we always hold their memories in some sacred place so that they will never be forgotten.

Author’s note: Sources for this article include The Warfare History Network,, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of WWII, and the National WWII Museum of New Orleans [of which the author is a charter member]. John Vick, June 6, 2019