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Timeline of D-Day

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MIDNIGHT ON JUNE 6, 1944

• At midnight Tuesday, June 6, 1944, D-Day began the liberation of German-occupied France —and later Europe — from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. Amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault so 24,000 U.S., British and Canadian airborne could land shortly after midnight, according to Wikipedia.

6:30 A.M. ON JUNE 6, 1944

• Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France. The target was a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors— Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, Wikipedia said. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods and barbed wire, making the work of beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous.

• German machine-gunners mowing down hundreds of Allied soldiers before they ever got off landing boats onto the Normandy beaches. But General Dwight D. Eisenhower overwhelmed them with 160,000 assault troops, 12,000 aircraft and 200,000 sailors manning 7,000 sea vessels.

Losses were steep. The eight assault divisions now ashore had suffered 12,000 killed, wounded and missing, with thousands more unaccounted for.

EISENHOWER MESSAGE TO TROOPS

• “... The eyes of the world are upon you ... In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed people of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

• “Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

• “… I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!”

• “Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

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Karen Speidel is the News-Monitor Media Managing Editor

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