greatestcentury Jeremy Wickman
McLean High School  

    Now that the war is over, Normandy is the ideal place to go for vacation. Not only does it have all the comfort of a quiet, rural town, but it also has much historical value.
    From the Battle of Hastings to World War II, Normandy has gone through quite a lot. There are museums throughout Normandy honoring those who fought in World War II, especially those who took part in the D-Day invasion.
    Beyond the Orne River lie the beaches that were the setting of the most critical battle of World War II. The beaches are now named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword, and Juno after the code names they were given by the British and Americans.
   These beaches are shadowed by monsterous cliffs that loom above the sandy ground and give people an idea of what it was like to land on the beaches back in 1944.
   Around these beaches lie military cemitaries, the famous la Pointe du Hoc monuments, and other military relics that serve as a memorial to the soldiers in the war. 


    I think the invasion of Normandy was a good idea, in that it is best to strike sooner rather than later. If the US had stood idly by and waited until Germany attacked them, the war might have ended up with Germany winning.
    Normandy was the perfect target for an invasion. The beaches were ideal places to deploy troops from ships, and the number of enemies concentrated in Normandy was quite small compared to the size of the rest of the German army.
    The US commanders made the right decision and exploited the opening in the Germany's European stronghold. If they had waited any longer for another opening or another chance to begin their offensive, in all likelihood they would have failed.

    On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces of World War II invaded 5 beaches in the area of Normandy, France that were named Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Juno Beach, Sword Beach, and Gold Beach. These attacks were the beginnings of the Allied invasion aimed at liberating Europe from German rule. Overall, this battle costed more lives than any other in the history of the world.
    "Operation Overlord", the code name for the attack, was planned for over a year by Allied commanders and had been delayed several times due to bad weather. Finally, the weather cleared and between April 1, 1944 and June 5, 1944, over 11,000 Allied aircraft dropped over 195,000 pounds of bombs on German controlled railroads and other sites in preperation for D-day (the day of the Allied invasion).
    These pre-emptive air attacks were designed not only to target German forces and defenses, but also used as a means of deception. Almost two-thirds of all the bombs dropped before D-Day were dropped outside the planned invasion area, so as to confuse the Germans as to where the actual invasions would take place.
    Other efforts were taken in order to ensure that the Germans would not know where the Allied attack was centered. Radio traffic was faked, plywood and canvas installations were constructed, and inflatable tanks and vehicles were used in order to deceive the Germans.
    The Allied attack was staged against what Hitler called "Fortress Europe", which was a construction of minefields, concrete walls, concrete bunkers, barbed wire fences, and fortified artillery emplacements over more than 3,000 miles of coastline. The number of German forces in France at the time of the invasion totaled 46 infantry divisions and 9 panzer divisions.
    The initial Allied attack consisted of 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships, and 500 naval vessels. These ships were packed with troops and supported by over 13,000 aircraft, 822 of which dropped paratroopers over the German front lines on the first day of the attack.
    Of the 5 beaches, Omaha and Utah were invaded by the Americans, Juno was invaded by the Canadians, and Sword and Gold were invaded by the British. On all 5 beaches, the Allies were able to defeat the German forces guarding the beaches
    As a result of the Normandy invasion, two ports were opened in mainland Europe by the Allies, providing them a way to transport equipment and troops into France to be used in the war against Germany.
    Although the operation was a success for the Allies, it was a costly battle for both sides. 3,000 Americans were killed on Omaha beach alone, and about 1,500 were killed on Utah Beach in the initial landings alone.
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Last updated  2008/09/28 10:40:52 PDTHits  154