(06/06/2019)
CALHOUN MEN PARTICIPATED IN NORMANDY INVASION

D-Day, June 6, 1944 was the largest sea borne invasion in history.

It involved 2,200 British and American bombers; 6,939 naval vessels; airborne assault utilizing 1,200 aircraft; and 160,000 troops with another 14,000 paratroopers and those carried by gliders.

The massive invasion across the English Channel had as its objective a fifty-mile stretch of Normandy coastline divided into five sectors.

Bombing of coastal fortifications and interior infrastructure began at midnight. The first airborne units arrived at 1:30 AM to seal off the Cherbourg Peninsula, Utah Beach.

Naval gunfire commenced at 5:30 AM; and the first of four waves of American assault troops came ashore at Utah and Omaha Beaches at 6:30 AM. Later, British and Canadian troops were part of the invasion.

Much of what happened was not according to plan.

Because of strong currents, many of the landing craft missed their objectives and the German defenders were stronger than expected.

Low cloud cover prevented Allied bombers from hitting their targets. The naval gunfire was ineffective, especially at Omaha Beach. Many of the paratroopers missed their intended drop zones and the units could not communicate with each other or with their ship borne coordinators.

The Allies had over 10,000 casualties with 4,414 confirmed dead on the first day. The losses were heaviest at Omaha Beach because of its high cliffs and heavier defenses.

By the close of D-Day, Allied forces had only captured half of the anticipated area, but the beachheads were secure.

By the end of August, more than three million Allied troops were in France.

Despite the problems, many military experts consider D-Day as a turning point in the war.

Calhoun Countians, who were among the highest numbers of soldiers in World War II, participated in the Normandy Invasion.


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