Troops wade onshore at Omaha Beach - taken by a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer
-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower
This day in 1944, 160,000 Allied troops hit the sands on a 50-mile long stretch of sand in Normandy, France. The operation was supported by nearly 13,000 aircraft (close to 9,000 of those American), and more than 5,000 ships.
9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded.
U.S. Army divisions involved in the ground assault were:
1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One)
2nd Infantry Division
4th Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
8th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division
28th Infantry Division
29th Infantry Division
30th Infantry Division
35th Infantry Division
79th Infantry Division
83rd Infantry Division
90th Infantry Division
2nd Armored Division
3rd Armored Division
4th Armored Division
6th Armored Division
82nd Airborne Division
For a detailed list of all involved units, go here
The U.S. Navy, in Operation Overlord, participated in the largest amphibious landing in history. Allied Naval forces did more than just transport troops -
- Minesweepers combed the waters for anti-ship mines.
- "Frogmen" - demolition swimmers - swam ashore in order to destroy obstacles that would harm landing craft.
- Transports carried troops to the pre-landing area, and landing craft took them to the beaches.
- Cruisers, Destroyers, and Battleships bombarded German fortifications.
- Naval beach battalions braved fire to handle logistics and tend to the wounded.
The U.S. Air Force was multi-tasking, too:
- The 8th U.S. Air Force deployed 1,729 bombers, dropping 3,596 tons of bombs. It suffered three losses.
- Heavy bombers also struck choke points near the beaches.
- 900 aircraft, and 100 gliders, dropped the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions behind enemy lines.
- Forward air controllers landed with U.S. Army Infantry units in order to direct bombers.
- 8th and 9th Air Force p-38's provided air cover for convoys approaching the beaches.
- B-26's and fighters attacked transporation targets and airfields, and supported heavy bombers attacking the shore defenses.
U.S. Marines were there - although perhaps not as big a part of common knowledge, U.S. Marine officers helped in the planning stages of the invasion, and the Jarheads did a few other things, too.
And the U.S. Coast Guard? They participated as well. 4 US Coast Guard landing craft (LCI's) were destroyed on D-Day. They helped to land the Big Red One on Omaha beach. Four Coast Guard-manned LST's carried British troops and equipment to Juno, Sword, and Gold beaches.
D-Day - General information
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation
Survivors Share Memories Of D-Day
The National D-Day Museum
USAAF Chronology - D-Day
The United States Army Air Forces in WWII - D-Day
The Mighty Eighth
Navy Art Gallery Exhibit - The Normandy Invasion
D-Day Information at the Naval Historical Center
GyG's Old Corps Legends, Myths, etc.
U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard at Normandy
D-Day on the Blogs
The Laughing Wolf
Must Read WWII Books
by Gerald Astor
The Greatest War, Volume I - From Pearl Harbor to the Kasserine Pass
The Greatest War, Volume II - D-Day and the Assault on Europe
The Greatest War, Volume III - The Battle of the Bulge to Hiroshima
I read these myself, and I couldn't put them down. I had only known the sanitized version of WWII from my school days until I decided to find out more on my own. These books take you from start to finish of the American involvement, and are filled with personal accounts and information I'd never found anywhere else.