D-Day - Facts, figures and Trivia

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On Tuesday 6 June 1944 the largest seaborne invasion  force in history landed on an 80 km stretch of the Normandy coast in France.

Codenamed Operation Neptune, it was part of Operation Overlord, the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control. It was also the launch of the long-awaited second front. It was simply termed D-Day.


On D-Day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded a force without parallel in history.

Naval Forces


138 warships

221 destroyers, frigates, corvettes

187 mine sweepers

495 smaller vessels

58 submarine chasers

4,000 landing craft of all types

441 auxiliary Naval craft and small boats

864 Merchant Navy ships

Over 300 other small craft


112,824 British sailors

52,889 American sailors

4,998 other Allied servicemen

25,000 Merchant navy

Total - 195,701

Air Forces


11,590 aircraft

3,500 gliders

Air Crew

31,000 (not including airborne troops or their aircrews)

Land Forces


20,000 (including over 1,000 tanks)

Men landed on the beaches

American sector - 57,500 (Utah - 23,250, Omaha - 34,250)

British sector - 75,215 (Gold - 24,970, Juno - 21,400, Sword - 28,845)

Troops parachuted or landed by glider

Americans - 15,500

British - 7.990

Total - 24.900

Total land forces deployed


Key Allied role players - D-Day

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Arthur Tedder


Bertram Ramsay



Walter Bedell-Smith

Bertram Ramsay

Traffod Leigh-Mallory

Bernard Montgomery


NOT THE REAL THING: A dummy tank is moved into place. An entire phantom army was created in order to deceive the Germans into thinking the invasion would be at Calais.

D-1: At 23h00 on 5 June 24,000 British and American airborne troops dropped behind German lines. Their objective was to seize vital roads and brides ahead of the landings at Normandy.

HITTING THE BEACHES: American troops come ashore from one of the landing craft. By the evening of the first day more than 150,000 troops had been landed on the five beaches.

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