Remembering D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy:
The 75th Anniversary
6 June 1944, now known as “D-Day”, marked the beginning of a long summer for the Allied Forces of Britain, the United States, Canada, and France. The Battle of Normandy commenced with a battalion of over 150,000 soldiers joined together with aim to defeat the German forces in hopes of an end to World War II. The Allies’ victory was a pivotal point of the war, eventually prompting the end of this horrible era.
The 75th Anniversary
In June of 2019, seventy-five years will have passed since the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. This battle effectively altered the direction of World War II and ultimately lead to its demise. In commemoration of D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy, several events are taking place in France.
Daks over Normandy
This year will be the last organization of Daks over Normandy. In this event, hundreds of paratroopers and over thirty authentic Douglas DC-3 and C-47 Dakotas (“Daks”) will fill the skies over the United Kingdom and Normandy, France. On 5 June 2019, about 250 women and men will suit up in WWII Allied-style uniforms, board the aircraft in the United Kingdom, fly across the English Channel and jump straight into the historic drop zones of Normandy. The goal of this event is to recreate the pilgrimage to Normandy in 1944 and remember the soldiers who fought for the liberation of Western Europe from the occupation of Nazi Germany.
A parade commemorating the fallen will take place on June 8, 2019. The first village liberated by U.S. paratroopers was Sainte-Mère-Église in Normandy. Every year, the village hosts this historic parade down the same streets that were once lined with American troops in 1944. Marching bands, cultural groups and military units will participate in this event for those who wish to show their support. This event has been recognized by numerous veteran associations, community organizations, military and government officials and will provide participants and spectators an opportunity to salute those men and women who have sacrificed for the nation. Afterwards, a concert series will be performed in the town square. Additionally, WWII era artifacts have been preserved and are on display at the Airborne Museum in the center of town.
- Rent a Bungalow at Chateau de Martragny: A mid-size campsite with a beautiful 18th century castle, large fishing pond and just 25 km from D-Day landing sites.
- Rent a GlamLodge Tent at Domaine des Ormes: 5-star campsite with 18-hole golf course, 16th century castle and six swimming pools.
- Rent a Bungalow or GlamLodge Tent at Château de Galinée: 5-star campsite just 3 km from the sea, charming 13th century stonework and a mini zip line.
Historical Sites, Museums and Tours
In the region of Normandy, over one hundred monuments, museums and sites have been dedicated to preserve and communicate the memory of the tragic events that profoundly affected the landscape, history and population of the region. For a more detailed list, click here.
- 1944 Historical Route
- Airborne Musuem
- D-Day Experience
- French-British Museum of Commando N°4
- House of the Liberation
History Lesson: A Glimpse into Operation Neptune
Before the Battle
When Germany invaded France in one of their attempts to occupy the entirety of Europe, the United States and Britain joined to delay their advances, thus providing them the opportunity of an invasion. Troops and supplies began to accumulate in Britain. An increase in bombings and airstrikes entered German territory with specific intent on targeting airfields, railroads, bridges and other critical sites to decelerate the German army. Due to the Allies’ sudden advances the German militia expected an invasion was near, but they could not deduce the location of the alleged strike. With intent to deceive the German forces, the Allies mislead them to just north of Normandy, at Pas de Calais. Another unexpected factor to the invasion was the weather. After months of preparation, the breach was almost called off due to the dreadful atmospheric conditions. General Eisenhower, the United States’ Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, made the decision to pursue with the invasion, in contempt of the overcast skies. This left the Germans unsuspecting and unprepared for the infiltration.
Thousands of mannequins were dropped to confuse the enemy and begin depleting their ammunition. Paratroopers launched from the skies in the midst of the pitch-black night. Landing behind enemy lines, their mission was to capture bridges and eliminate vital targets, allowing the primary invasion force to successfully storm the beach. The next wave of the Allied Force dispatched thousands of planes dropping bombs on the German defenses, along with a wave of warships bombing the beach directly from the water. The underground affiliates of the French Resistance incapacitated the German militia by demolishing railroads and cutting telephone lines, enabling over 6,000 ships of the primary invasion force to dock the troops, tanks, weapons and other equipment on the beach.
Succeeding the Battle
At the end of D-Day, more than 150,000 troops had arrived in Normandy. Over the next several days the Allies drove the Germans further inland to allocate space for the incoming troops, until they were forced out of France. Over half a million Allied troops had conspired together to attempt this feat by the 17th of June. As a result of this horrific battle, Paris was liberated from German control, the Germans were defeated in the Battle of the Bulge and subsequently surrendered to the Allied Forces.
Campsite Château de Martragny
Campsite Domaine des Ormes
Campsite Castel Château de Galinée
Interesting Facts about D-Day:
- The “D” in D-Day actually only stood for Day and was simply used to preserve secrecy.
- Many paratroopers that day were dropped in the wrong place, including US Private John Steele. His parachute famously became snagged on the church steeple at Sainte-Mère- Eglise. He was trapped for two hours before being taken prisoner.
- The flat-bottomed landing crafts were originally designed to rescue flood victims on the Mississippi River in the US.
- Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was asleep when word of the invasion arrived. No one dared wake him and it’s said vital time was lost in sending reinforcements.
- The newly developed drug penicillin went with troops on D-Day and saved thousands of lives.
- James Doohan, who would go on to find fame as Scotty in Star Trek, was a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Artillery on D-Day and lost a finger during the fray.
- Famous photographer Robert Capa captured some of the most memorable images of the action though only a handful of the frames he took survived. The others were accidently destroyed by a lab technician.
- The stunning Omaha Beach scene in the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, cost £7million to film and used 1,000 extras.