Operation Overlord, the code-name for the allied invasion of northwest Europe, must have been the largest operation of its kind in human history. Therefore ‘some history’ will not even cover a drop of it. And what we write here will be all well known to history buffs, military enthusiasts and many flightsimmers. But we have also found that there are more and more people who are not really aware of what happened, so please regard this short introduction as a ‘Beginners Guide to D-Day’.
The short overview is extremely ‘simplified’.
Whilst the Axis Forces (Germany, Italy and Japan) started losing terrain in 1943, they were still long way of being beaten.
To do that the Allied Forces, consisting of military personnel from many countries but the main ones (in number and importance) being the British, Americans, Canadians, Russians, Free French, Free Poles, Free Dutch, Indians, Australians and New Zealanders, had to attack Germany itself on the ground and crush it.
The land war started on the Eastern Front where the Russians had started pushing west, and in North Africa with the invasion of Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch) and the British and Americans squeezing the German Afrika Korps led by Erwin Rommel.
After the successes in Africa and defeating the Axis forces there, the Allied finally pushed towards mainland Western Europe with the July 1943 landings in Sicily – Operation Husky. From there they pushed on to the Italian mainland, but got stuck south of Rome. The stalemate was finally lifted by new landings north of Rome in January 1944, at Anzio – Operation Shingle.
All these operations on the Eastern Front and the Southern front were weakening the Germans and drawing attention and resources from the French west coast.
Ultimately they paved the way for the incredible Operation Overlord, leading to what most people now know and remember as
D-Day, June 6th 1944
Stuff to read
Operation Torch – the landings in North Africa
The Battle of Anzio – 1944 landings in Italy
Operation Dragoon – the SECOND landing in France