To celebrate and remember the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches, here are a few interesting facts about this most historic and heroic day.
- The codename given by the Allies for the overall invasion was ‘Operation Overlord’.
- The invasion took place over 61miles of beaches. The beaches were split into 5 sectors and given the following code names: Omaha, Sword, Juno, Gold and Utah.
- In total 156,115 Allied troops landed in Normandy (83,115 of these were British and Canadian troops)
- Operation Neptune was the code name given to the channel crossing phase of the invasion. Operation Neptune consisted of 6939 vessels and 195,700 personnel.
- By the end of 11th June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.
- It is estimated that about 17 million maps supported the mission.
- At 0537, a group of German E-boats made the only ‘Kriegsmarine’ attack on D-Day when they moved in as close to the allied convey as they dared and unleashed a volley of torpedoes. The only ship that was hit was a Norwegian Destroyer called Svenner, which sunk.
- When the D-Day forces landed, Hitler was asleep. None of his generals dared order re-enforcements without his permission, and no-one dared wake him. Crucial hours were lost in the battle to hold on to Normandy.
- Having been given his top-secret mission to attack the Merville battery on D-Day, Terence Otway had to be certain his men wouldn’t spill the beans ahead of 6 June 1944. He sent 30 of the prettiest members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, in civilian clothes, into village pubs near where his soldiers were training. They were asked to do all they could to discover the men’s mission. None of the men gave anything away.
- One of the greatest feats of military engineering was Operation PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) which was an ambitious joint project between British scientists, oil companies and the armed forces to lay an undersea oil pipeline from England to France to enable the invasion force to be fueled. It fed the force with over a million gallons oil daily.
These are just a few snippets, but there are hundreds of facts and interesting stories about D-Day and the Normandy invasion, if you have a factoid or story, why not add it here?