D-Day: The 70th anniversary of a day that changed the world
They made up the greatest armada the world has ever seen — nearly 156,000 troops, about 5,000 ships and more than 11,000 airplanes — all headed to a 50-mile stretch of beach in northern France. (Click on the highlighted text for the Trib's special presentation on D-Day.)
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told Allied forces in World War II they had embarked on a “great and noble undertaking,” a “crusade,” but one in which the enemy would fight savagely.
“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle,” he told them.
The first Allied troops to see action were British and American airborne divisions. They dropped behind landing sites to seize exits, capture key locations and block German counterattacks. Then assault troops hit the beaches.
More than 9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded on D-Day, June 6, 1944 , according to Army figures, with the Americans on Omaha Beach suffering the heaviest losses — roughly 6,600 dead or wounded. But by June 7, the Allies established a foothold in France. Within a year, the Third Reich would be in ruins.
Seventy years later, survivors of that day still can hear artillery fire and see the bodies of their fallen comrades. They remember fear and bravery, courage and loss.
DID YOU KNOW?
• The “D” in D-Day doesn't stand for anything. It's just a designation for whichever day a military operation begins.
• Total Allied casualties are estimated at more than 9,000 for the day. Total German casualties are not known, but estimated at 4,000 to 9,000.
• Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the invasion with the words, “OK, let's go.” He wrote an apology to the American people in case it failed and put it in his wallet.
• Twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of more than 110,000 dead from both sides from D-Day through the end of August 1944.
• John J. Pinder Jr. of Burgettstown, born in McKees Rocks and a graduate of Butler High School, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions to deliver crucial communications equipment on Omaha Beach. He was killed by enemy fire.
Sources: McClatchy-Tribune; National World War II Museum; U.S. Army Center of Military History
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vermont’s Sanders considers run for president
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- McKeesport won’t waver after shutout loss to Penn-Trafford
- Rossi: Given start, it’s time for Pitt to finish
- Federal statistics raise red flags about America’s growing diabetes crisis
- LaBar: WWE needs to pick its starter wisely
- Man accidentally shoots himself in North Point Breeze
- Funt, Bialik keep ’em smiling on ‘Camera’
- Plans being finalized for the Gayle Music Festival in Connellsville
- Ambitious few are turning lighthouses into living spaces
- U.S. beacon of hope for world’s transplant patients