D-Day, Success Or Disaster Essay, Research Paper
D-Day, Success or Disaster
Twenty years after the end of the First World War a man named Adolph Hitler of Germany began a Second World War. On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, which had a treaty with France and England to protect them. The English, French and Polish were all unprepared to fight, and as a result were beaten terribly. By the next spring France had been totally taken by the Germans. While Germany and there allies, Italy, controlled all of the western part of Europe. England, France and now America had to figure a way to take the control of Europe again. There decision was to try and storm a beach in Normandy France. It would be one of the bloodiest war battles in U.S. History. This storming of Omaha Beach would be a success because even though the allies lost a lot of men, they still were able to take the beach, which led them to take the continent. This was the beginning of the end for Hitler and his Nazis. Hitler and his partners, Japan and Italy, made many mistakes, which opened the door for the allied forces to make this operation possible.
Germany?s big mistake was that Hitler had assembled a massive naval fleet to try and invade England. Hitler?s thinking was that if he did try to go against one of the greatest naval fleets in the world that he would not be able to get it done. He also realized that the British would anything to stop a German invasion. So Hitler delayed and eventually cancelled the attack. Even if he had lost the invasion into England, he could have at least damaged the British navy. His partner, Italy, had brought in northern Africa, and Japan brought the US in when they not only bombed the navy base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, but also hit other U.S. possessions like the Philippians. Now that the U.S. was in the war, Germany had its hands full.
The allies kept planning a time when they could go ashore and take control of France again. In the summer of 1942 Britain and Canada actually tried a small amphibious attack across the English Channel at a small French port, Dieppe. It was a frightfully disastrous attempt 6,100 men were involved in the attack and over half were killed or captured. Yet the allies insisted that an attack from the water was the only way to get on the offensive in Europe. This massive loss did teach the allies a lesson; it taught them that they need to not try and take a built-up sea port like Dieppe, but instead to try and send a massive attack on the open beaches. The problem the allies faced with going on a beach was that an invasion with the amount of force that they were planning would need a seaport for the mass number of people, gasoline, weapons, food, and many other supplies. So the allies came up with the plan they would bring the port with them to the beach. They brought things like ships to be sunk so they would have breakwaters, floating piers and cranes and hoists. After the lost at Dieppe the allies luck changed and they began a string of winning battles. The British with American aid won battle after battle in Northern
Africa to push the Germans, and Italians out of northern Africa. Once the allies got Africa back they needed to knock Italy out of the war.
In late 1943 the allies were making the actual plans for the great cross channel invasion that would be named operation overload. Although more popularly known as D-Day, though D-Day stands for day of attack in any battle, but is most commonly linked to the turning point in the war. They decided that they wanted the invasion to happen in the middle of 1944. The success to the invasion was dependent on air assaults and the naval assaults. The Air Force was sent to bomb and ruin German artillery and major points of military power, and the navy was to do the same. They also had to deal with the terrain of Omaha beach especially. The beach was about 4 miles long and very open. The Germans knowing this had beefed up their defenses there because they knew it would be a good place to invade. The bank rises almost like shingles of a house. At the top ran a road; on the other side of the road were sand dunes, which allowed visibility to the whole beach. The beach only had four exits to get from the beach to the road and the Germans had them loaded with pillboxes, which have a small slot for the person which is inside to shoot out of and the soldier outside had a very small area to shoot the guy on the inside, they had concrete bunker for protection, and powerful automatic artillery. With all of the natural things the Germans had they put anti tank weapons, mortar cannons, and many rocket batteries. This was a major problem for allied troops because with that kind of fire power the Germans could hit a target anywhere on the beach at any time. This meant disaster for the allied troops. The allied forces had to use engineers to go in ahead of time and clear some of the trap, mines,
and other devises the Germans had to stop an invasion. These poor men were out in the wide open and were shot by snipers like it was nothing. So at the time of invasion the obstacles were still abundant. ?As we were approaching the shale embankment, we went through various underwater obstacles with attached mines, and the enemy was firing at them in order to detonate them if possible. That was our first experience with under fire.? (Drez, pg 206, Frank Simeone)
The invasion was extremely top secret even though the German army should have realized something was coming after the massive air strikes that took out many of the railroad tracks. During the World War II the main way to move troops across land was the train and by the allies destroying many of these links it disabled the Germans to move from place to place with any speed.
The invasion that occurred on the 6 of June 1944 was the largest amphibious invasion of all time and the most decisive battle in the war. Over 155,000 allied troops were deployed that day and it was launched as a total surprise to the Germans. The success of D-Day depended on three major things; Allied air and naval supremacy, and the dispersal of German troops through out all of Europe. By the middle of 1944 these first two didn?t seem to be of much concern, the allied bombers had bombed Germany unmercifully and the German U-boat threat no longer existed. The third key point to success would be a little more difficult to accomplish however, keeping the place for the invasion a secret from the Germans. This information wasn?t leaked out for many reasons.
The most important reason was the development of an extensive deception plan, which was named, accordingly, Bodyguard. Bodyguard had two major objectives; to confuse the
Germans where and when the attack would take place and to cripple the German forces once the invasion began. It was the most complicated deception plan of the war, if not of all time. In 1941the British broke the German Secret Service codes. These gave the British the name and identities of all the German agents, and were able to capture them. Some of these agents were executed or imprisoned, but most were used against Germany. They successively turned these agents into ?double? agents. Throughout the rest of the war these ?double? agents would tell the Germans misleading information. The main part of the deception plan was to make the Germans believe that the invasion would happen in the area of Pas de Calais area. This worked like a charm because as early as October 1943 the German leader of the troops in France sent a major number of troops to defend that area. So to keep the deception alive there was a false group of troops to make it look like that was where the allies were coming. The American troops stayed there until the month before the invasion. The allied forces had to make sure that the Germans continued to believe that the invasion site was still Pas de Calais. This happened because the allies caught another break the Germans had deciphered a lot of false information called ultra in the year prior to the attack.
After all the planning on June 6, 1944 allied troops invaded Normandy via Omaha beach and Utah beach. It was almost a total surprise. It was a mess once the troops began to land even thought he invasion was planned to go off perfectly. The troops on the boats were to far out and many men drowned, others were shot as the landing graft main hatch opened exposing all of the troops on board. The next problem was the smoke and heavy fire from the ground made the planes that were to drop the 81st and the 102nd airborne units were thrown off and paratroopers
were dropped all over the place. Another problem was the fact that the ships didn?t always drop the infantry troops where they needed either. If the men made it out of the water they had to deal with an unusually fast tide that would come up and go out very fast. Then there were the mines; the beaches were covered with mines and traps. The Germans would actually try and hit the mines with their gun so that the mine would explode and in turn injure the men around. In war the best thing to do is to injure your enemy instead of kill them. This is done because an injured man needs one, two, maybe even three other men to assist him, where as a dead man can be just left alone.
The men that day weren?t fighting the Nazis or for their country they were fighting for two reasons, their lives and the lives of their comrades. In an awful war like WWII the troops begin to think why am I here, and is it worth it. This moral is especially high in a nasty battle like this one. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to continue to fight when you see hundreds of thousands of your fallen comrades on the beach. There were approximately 12,000 allied losses that day. Although it was a strong resistance from the German forces, the leaders of the Germans believed that it was just a diversion and the real invasion was still to come so instead of sending there biggest and strongest army to fight the allies Hitler kept them in the Pas de Calais area. If this hadn?t happened the allied forces could have faced very disastrous consequences. Thanks to Bodyguard the Germans had no idea. Although this wasn?t the only reason the attack as a success.
Among other reasons was the weather; the Germans had maintained many weather stations in the Atlantic till the U-boats had been taken out. So the Germans became very
uninformed f the weather patterns in the Atlantic. The allied forces on the other hand were very knowledgeable of what was going on in the weather. Due to the strict landing requirements for the invasion it had to happen on June 5, 6, or the 7th. The weather had to be good on one of those days or the attack would have to be postponed to the end of the month or even the next month. July was to late so it had to happen in June. There was a massive storm beginning June 4, which was sure to delay the invasion, but on the 5th there was a break in the weather and General Patten of the United States ordered a go on the invasion. The Germans had no idea there was a break in the weather all they knew is what they say which was awful gray and ugly skies. By them being so unknowledgeable of this it ended up being very fatal to the Germans.
According to military efforts and ruling the invasion was a total success. They had taken the beach, which gave them presence on Europe again, but was it really that great of a success. . D-Day really ended on August 27, 1944. By the evening of the 6th the allied forces occupied an area approximately 50 miles long and 7 miles deep. There were 155,000 men storm the beaches at Normandy, and numbers as high as 10,000 didn?t come back. One day 10,000 casualties, over 6,000 being Americans, some would say that that is not a success but a total failure. The idea to a war is to win, that means death. That day the German forces lost up to 9,000 men. Germany now was fighting a two front war. Russia was coming from the East and the rest for the allied forces were pushing in from the west. Germany?s former allies Italy had turned on them seeing that they had no chance of winning the war, especially after the allied forces had taken Normandy and began to push westward. Hitler and the rest of the German officials would not give up and continued to fight. In the final months of the war following D-
day the allies lost approximately 200,000 men including 36,000 dead. The Germans however where really hurt that last month with losses totaling more than 300,000 men. (Hunter, PG 127) In the final days of the war Hitler realized he was done for and in a bunker in Berlin he ended it all with a bullet to his head.
given to you by the man!!!!
A.O.L. Keyword D-Day, http://replica.eb.mirror-image.com/normandy/week2/invasion.html. October 03, 2000
Drez, Ronald ed. Voices of D-Day. Eisenhower for Leadership Studies, United States of America, 1994
Hunter, R.H. and Brown, T.H.C. Battle Coast. Super Books Limited, Buckinghamshire, England, 1973
Simon and Shuster. The Longest Day. First Printing, New York, 1959