I have always been fascinated by the Normandy landings and how such a huge operation could have been planned and executed while still remaining a surprise. The scale of the operation is almost beyond belief, even by today’s standards.
The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day, with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June. Allied casualties on the first day were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The Germans lost 1,000 men.
The film Saving Private Ryan‘s opening scene is the most visceral depiction of the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach, but my favourite movie about the Normandy landings is The Longest Day. I have the 70th anniversary collector’s edition of the book. It is a huge coffee table book with removable documents, and also includes a CD.
We really owe these men (and women) a huge debt. What a different place the world would have been without them. Certainly hope we are not ending up there again…
By the way, did you know where D-Day comes from?