Battle of Normandy

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The Battle of Normandy, which began on the night of 5-6 June 1944 with large-scale Allied ground assault on occupied France, lasted for three months, with the liberation of the last Norman commune, Honfleur in Calvados, on 25 August 1944. [1]

Planning structure

There is much confusion about the proper terminology for the overall operation containing the battle, as well as its phases. Operation OVERLORD was the overall Allied campaign plan for operations in Northwest Europe in 1944.[2] Overlord was not the first plan for attacking across the English Channel; a series of contingency and serious proposals preceded it: a preparation phase, Operation BOLERO, a 1942 contingency invasion, Operation SLEDGEHAMMER, and a proposed 1943 invasion, Operation ROUNDUP.[3]

Strategic deception

Under the London Controlling Section, the complex Plan BODYGUARD convinced Adolf Hitler that the main Allied invasion was most likely to come at the Pas de Calais, or other locations other than Normandy. This belief led Hitler to refuse to release counterattack forces until after the beachhead was established.


The actual landings in Normandy, commonly called D-Day, were Operation NEPTUNE. They began with night paratroop and glider drops, and amphibious attacks after dawn. "D-Day" was actually the generic term for the Day of an operation; every amphibious operation had one.

Airborne and special operations attacks

Amphibious attacks

Five amphibious attacks, in division strength or greater, were made.

Tactical deception

Fire support



  1. Normandie Mémoire, The liberation of the communes
  2. Pogue, Forrest C. (1954), Chapter IX: Final Preparations for the Invasion, The Supreme Command, Office of the Chief of Military History
  3. Ray Cline (1951), Chapter IX: Case History: Drafting the BOLERO Plan, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, Office of the Chief of Military History