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D-DAY : JUNE 6, 1944

Click here to view Normandy Map (108k)Normandy 1944 Map
flash animated battle map

By James Burbeck
On June 6, 1944, Allied naval, air and ground forces operating with airborne assault troops and paratroopers overwhelmed the German "West Wall" defenses built along France's Channel Coast. Fortunately for the Allies the Germans had waited too long to begin construction of their main defenses, and had kept their vaunted panzer divisions out of immediate support range of the landing zone defenders. These divisions in turn lost much of their strength on the marches to the Normandy battle zone as Allied air attacks steadily whittled away at them. Some arrived for battle at 50% of their previous strength.

By comparison, the Allied landing forces lacked nothing, and were limited only by the ability of their narrow man-made ports to accommodate the flood of supplies and troops. The war machine which supplied them had focused most of its efforts on this day, and literally millions of people had a part in its movement. Food, equipment, ammunition, tanks, ships, guns, fighters, bombers and a bewildering array of specialized inventions allowed the landing forces to break through to the inland areas, where they eventually met the still dangerous panzer divisions which were rushing toward Normandy. This animated Flash map depicts the first day of the invasion, starting with an outline of the Allied airborne landing zones (many troops were dropped outside these zones), followed by an overview of the larger German troop and heavy gun positions which were bombarded during the landing preparation. Finally, a progressive view of the amphibious landing force's advance during the first 24 hours is shown along with titles of the landing zones, combat notes and front line markers.

Anyone who has seen the recent movie special Band of Brothers will be interested to know that the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment landed on the west side of this map, southwest of the Utah beach landing zone. Several of Easy Company's objective cities appear on this map, and the German paratroopers whom they fought were from the very unit noted here: the 6th Paratroop Regiment. To zoom the map for a close view, right click anywhere on it and select Zoom In.
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