Last Updated 10 Mar 2020

How successful the D-Day landings were

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There were different levels of successes and failures at different areas of D-day. The British airborne had many successes. Not only were they the first units to fly over the Channel Islands, dropping ruperts and windows on Roven, but they captured all their targets (including the town of Sainte Mere Englise). The Germans thought there was no chance of attack due to the abominable weather conditions that day which left them venerable. They did, of course, also experience failures. There was fierce German resistance.

This obviously made it very difficult for them to reach their specific targets. Source G mentions that "much has been made of the poor quality of the German troops defending the Channel coast" I think this probably depends in which country you are in. If you are German then the story is probably told very differently. Even here in England we know that the resistance form the Germans was fierce and was indeed hard to overcome. However, with the allies good troops and their excellent new technology they managed to overcome this obstacle.

Source G also mentions that the German troops brought the allies close to defeat on Omaha beach. I don't believe this too be true. Although Omaha was one of the most difficult areas of D-day, the allies won the battle and the defences were breached. Overall, the British airborne area of D-day was very successful. Helping to capture many of the D-day targets. The US airborne was not as successful as the British. They landed 25 miles off course and lost 60% of their equipment.

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The postponement of D-day had meant a 48 hour vigil on the sea floor, crews endured horrific cramped conditions. The US could have been more organised, this may have led to less mistakes. However, they did eventually recoup and secure their targets. At Utah, troops pushed inland and secured the beach. US reports said operations at Utah were "smooth, perfectly coordinated and magnificent". Nevertheless, the beach was heavily lined with mines. Overall, all went well, only real problem was with the mines, but even that was overcome.

At Omaha the battle was won and the defences breached. Anyhow, there were huge amounts of casualties. Some were caused by rough seas, some by underwater beach obstacles and some by enemy fire. Lots of tanks were lost and fog and heavy cloud made off course bombs. In conclusion, although there was a devastating amount of casualties, they did finally liberate Omaha beach. At Gold the troops used Hobart funnies, which helped to keep the losses relatively light. The troops pushed into Bayeux and by 8. 00am villages were celebrating liberation.

The beach was extensively mined and covered by heavy guns and the villages provided cover for the German snipers. Moreover, although there was strong resistance, the losses were relatively light. At Juno beach the Canadians also used Hobart funnies to get round the huge obstacles. By the evening the troops were heading for Caen. Although the area was protected by heavy guns, perhaps the most difficult part was getting around the obstacles such as a tall concrete wall, which all made up parts of the Atlantic wall. Source H shows some of those parts.

The pictures infer ally failure. They also seem to be posed, as if they are trying to impress people with their fierce looking defences. You can see this because in the first picture, for example, there is no one on the beach, and on the third the soldier looks like he has been told to stand there for the picture. Even with all these drastic defence mechanisms, the allies still managed to clear them using the Hobart Funnies. At Sword, the biggest worry was the very strong Le Havre battery, with guns across the landing area, there was also very poor visibility.

Even so, the seafront defences were breached and the population of Ouistreham was delighted to find that their liberators included a "free French" battalion. The mulberry harbours were constructed, and the teams of surgeons came over with them. Both the Americans and the British used Mulberry Harbour's. Despite the American harbour being wrecked by heavy weather after 4 days use, the Harbours played a vital part in the success of 'Operation Overlord'.

In the first 6 days of use of the British Mulberry, 326,000 troops, 54,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of supplies were handled. Source D is the British harbour at Arromanches. The mulberry in the picture looks very successful, with everything appearing to be in working order. Some people even go as far as saying that mulberry harbours were the greatest invention that came out of D-day. In conclusion, I think the D-day landings were very successful for the allies. After all, not only did they breach all of the German defences, they fought a victorious and courageous battle.

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