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Operation Overlord

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Essay title: Operation Overlord

Operation Overlord

By 1944 World War II had lasted nearly four and a half years. The entire war now

depended on the success or failure of an invasion of France. The first three years of the war

had almost entirely been a chain of Nazi victories. They had succeeded in crushing Poland and

forcing France to surrender. Hitler's attempts at capturing England were halted by the RAF,

Royal Air Force. After the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on

the United States and forced Italy to follow.

By November of 1942 Hitler began to pay for his string of mistakes. In Egypt his favorite

General, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, had been defeated at The Alamein by the British Eighth

Army, after being trapped between two armies. Hitler, fearing he would be captured, ordered

him back. The fighting in Russia had been so severe and deadly that Marshal Stalin was

demanding an allied landing in France, so as to force Hitler to move his troops from Stalin's

divisions in the East. The line of trust between Stalin and the allies was thin, but fearing Russia

would leave the was, the United States and Britain send Canadian soldiers and British

commandos to raid France's Port of Dieppe. Nearly five-thousand troops were either dead,

wounded or captured by the alert German forces, it had been a disaster.

Britain and the United States were butting heads on whether to invade Europe at the

earliest possible opportunity. Britain argued that a failure of not capturing a strong hold on a

beachhead could set them back two years. In August of 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill met in

Quebec, Canada and the invasion was approved. The plan included the landing of allied troops

on different beaches, and also the battles that would follow, on the quest for Berlin. The

shortest route would be Dover to Calais, but that would be a place where Germany would

expect an invasion and would be heavily guarded. Now all eyes were pointing towards

Normandy. The distance was almost twice that of Dover to Calais.

The final review of Operation Overlord was held on May 15,1944 at the St. Paul's school

in West London. The plan had taken nearly two years to plan. Attending the review was

everyone who had a role in the plan. Some in attendance were King George VI, Winston

Churchill, General Dwight Eisenhower and General Bernard Montgomery. Many of the British

commanders in attendance had served in the first World War and were weary of sending mass

amounts of troops into a battle where the enemy may be laying and waiting for them.

The plan was complicated, precise and heavily relied on the element of surprise. Timing

and coordination were of great importance, a failure at one of the hundred points could send

the whole balanced plan in to chaos. The first assault wave would have eight division, close to

80,000 men. Three of the eight divisions, 1 of Britain and two of the United States, would be

airborne paratroopers and glider troops that would be dropped at night. The other five divisions

would be Infantry divisions and would land on five beaches at the crack of dawn. After the

‘Atlantic Wall' had been broken by the first assault and a stable beachhead was obtained, more

than thirty-nine divisions would rapidly pour in.

Capturing a strong hold of a beachhead was crucial to the success of the invasion. The

beachhead would need to be able to hold back the inevitable counterattack of strong German

forces. A port would

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