10 Facts About D-Day and the Allied Advance

The Normandy landings beginning on ‘D-Day’ made up the largest seaborne invasion in history and were the start of what was codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’. The successful Allied advance into German-occupied Western Europe under the command of US General Dwight D. Eisenhower comprised the mass-deployment of 3 million troops.

Here are 10 facts about D-Day and the Allied advance at Normandy.

1. 34,000 French civilian casualties were sustained in the build up to D-Day, including 15,000 deaths, as the Allies implemented their plan to block major road networks.

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2. 130,000 Allied soldiers travelled by ship over the Channel to the Normandy coast on 6 June 1944.

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They were joined by around 24,000 airborne troops.

3. Allied casualties on D-Day amounted to around 10,000, with German losses having been estimated at anywhere from 4,000 to 9,000 men.

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4. Within a week over 325,000 Allied soldiers had crossed the English Channel. By the end of the month around 850,000 had entered Normandy.

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5. The Allies sustained over 200,000 casualties in the Battle of Normandy, whilst German casualties totalled a similar amount but with a further 200,000 taken prisoner.

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6. Paris was liberated on 25 August.

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7. The Allies lost around 15,000 airborne troops in the unsuccessful Market Garden operation in September 1944.

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8. The Allies crossed the Rhine at four points over the course of March 1945, paving the way for the final advance into the heart of Germany.

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9. Up to 350,000 concentration camp prisoners are thought to have died in pointless death marches as the Allied advance accelerated.

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10. Goebbels used news of the death of President Roosevelt on 12 April to encourage Hitler that they remained destined to win the war.

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History graduate (and enthusiast) with postgraduate degrees in environmental history and heritage science.