D-Day, the Normandy landings;

The largest combined operation of the war gets under way. General Eisenhower is in overall command and has nearly 3 million men at disposal plus a huge quantity of equipment including submersible tanks and other machines created especially for the landing. Ships of the invasion fleet will tow purpose-built concrete jetties ,the "Mulberry" harhours, which will enable vehicles to disembark. The Germans are ill-prepared,for the landing of troops on five Normandy beaches between Caen and Valognes with airborne troops dropping on the flanks. Von Rundstedt wanted to concentrate his defensive forces inland so that the invaders could be pushed back into the sea after they had landed; Rommel wanted the beaches themselves to be the point of strongest defence and the chosen battleground. The Hitler compromise left the worst of both worlds, and dispirited command. There are just 59 German divisions in France a Holland, only a dozen more than are defending Italy and less hundred than are deployed on the Eastern Front. The landing of the British and Canadian forces on `Gold', 'Juno' and `Sword' Beaches goes well, late landings and traffic jams of armour on the shoreline being the worst worries. The US landing on "Utah" Beach is a great success, 23.250 troops getting ashore with the loss of 200, but "Omaha" Beach presents a less satisfactory story with poor air support, early deployment of amphibious tanks too far from shore and weak rocket and artillery fire all contributing to a greater loss of life. 1 thousand die on this beach alone. Some 34.250 men do get ashore but are unable to get far for the time being. The end of the day sees almost 150.000 men on dry land and Allied aircraft already hampering German attempts to push them back or to bring up substantial reserves. Among German reports of the day are comments about the enemy dropping uniformed dolls packed with explosives which blow up when touched. Allied pilots flying in the invasion zone report no sightings of German aircraft; the British Air Ministry later suggests that the ratio of aircraft in the region is close to 200:1. The day hay seen massive bombing raids on coastal installations, fighters strafing inland road and rail convoys, and constant patrols to ward off the few Luftwaffe attempts to attack the ships on the beaches.