Letters to the Editor: Remembering D-Day in June of 1944

Canadian soldiers land on the beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer on June 6, 1944. Photo: Library and Archives Canada.

On June 6, 1944, 76 years ago this month, the beginning of the end of the global war with Nazi Germany and the struggle of nations to defeat them took place.

Operation Overlord was the turning point of the Second World War, leading up to the liberation of Western Europe.

By dawn of June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were on the ground in France behind enemy lines and securing bridges and exit roads.

At 6:30 a.m. the amphibious invasions began. The Canadians and the British overcame opposition to capture beaches codename Juno, Gold and Sword, while the Americans at Utah and Omaha beaches faced heavy resistance and many casualties.

By the end of the day approximately 156,000 Allied troops successfully  stormed Normandy’s beaches. It is estimated that  more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion along with thousand more wounded or missing.

On June 11 the beaches were fully secured, and 326,000 troops and more than 50,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of equipment landed at Normandy.

The Allies fought their way across the Normandy countryside in the face of the determined German resistance, as well as the dense landscape of marshes and hedgerows.

By the end of June, the Allies seized the vital port of Cherbourg and landed approximately 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy, continuing their march across France.

The Normandy invasion turn the tide against the Nazis. It prevented Hitler from sending his troops from France to build up his Eastern front against the advancing Soviets.

On May 8, 1945 the Allies accepted formally an unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier on April 30.

Anthony Green

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