June 6, 1944
|It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the
end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination. Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea
operation undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000
ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.
After years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied
Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run,
and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old)
entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of
beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by
small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.
When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more
than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to
the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been
This would be the beginning of the end of Axis resistance in Europe. The road to
Berlin would culminate in the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the unconditional surrender
of Germany the following April, 1945.
D-Day would also bring legendary status to Allied Supreme Commander Dwight
Eisenhower, leading to his election as President of the United States in 1952.