Operation Overlord was the biggest amphibious invasion of all time. It consisted of 3.5 million men and led to the defeat of Germany.
In November 1943 the 3 allied leaders- Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met in Iran.
Stalin demanded that a 2nd front to be opened up in France. This was agreed. The code name of this was Operation Overlord.
When? It would be launched when the men were mobilised and this would be around the summer in 1944.
Where? It had to be near a port and near to UK for the amphibious landing because the men would be very vulnerable in the transports.
The place that fit exactly was Callais and this was also near to Paris because Paris was the key to France.
This was all too obvious for the Germans; the British generals felt that surprise had to be the key thing to make it successful. The only other place was the beaches of Normandy.
They had to deceive the Germans so they pretended to have an army in Edinburgh, therefore the Germans picked up the activity up there and they thought that there was going to be an attack from Scotland.
To confuse them even more the British set another army in Dover, which meant that there was something happening soon.
The plan was to land on the beaches of Normandy while the parachuters captured bridges on the river Vier and Orne. This meant that the Germans couldn’t attack the British army, therefore they were safe.
There were 5 places called Omaha and Utah (American Army) and Gold, Juno and Sword (British army)
June 4-7 was the ideal date because the tides were at their best but on the 4th, the weather was bad. Dwight D Eisenhower had been told that the storm would break on the 6th and he trusted it therefore started the invasion.
General Rommel was in charge of the German defence and straight away he knew that Callais was the place and he ordered heavy defences to be put around Callais, called the Atlantic Wall. He was told that the storm was too severe and knew that the British wouldn’t attack so he went to see Hitler. This however was a big surprise to Rommel.
The invasion started on the morning of the 6th of June when the RAF dropped fake dummy parachutists called Ruperts and window glasses that were strips of Aluminium, which blocked radar signals on Callais.
The men had a encouraging speech from Eisenhower then were sent to their locations on the beaches of Normandy.
The parachutists captured Pegasus bridge on the river Orne and many other bridges. The American parachutists were very unlucky, many drowned and some were 25 miles of course.
All the landings on the beach were peaceful except the landing on Omaha where the American army met an off guard German army but still the Germans fought viciously. In the end the Americans won but with heavy damages.
The armies were successful and they swung westwards towards France.