3 million military personnel, 5000 ships plus aircraft, tanks and heavy artillery all made up the largest amphibious assault in history. Of course we know the 6th of June, 1944 as D-Day, the day the allied forces invaded the Normandy coast and began liberating France, Europe and the world of the murderous, power hungry Nazi Germany regime.
The term “D-Day” had no implications of any kind. It was simply the name the allied commanders gave the invasion to keep the date of the invasion from the Germans. “Neptune” was the code name that was used on documents during the planning stages and also had no particular connotation.
Significantly interesting, and a major contributor to the success of the D-Day invasion was the diversionary tactic deployed by General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.
The fictitious 1st Army was created as a “Ghost Army” that was intended to divert Germany’s attention from the actual location of the invasion at the beaches of Normandy.
This army was made up of dummy landing craft, plywood structures and inflatable tanks. A credible commander of this force was needed and General George S. Patton was the perfect one to lead this effort, code named “Fortitude South.” Patton was the General most respected by the Germans.
Patton had been relieved of his command after his brilliant success in the invasion of Sicily in 1943. However, he had become a public relations liability after, on two separate occasions, he slapped soldiers that had been taken from front line duty to be treated for battle fatigue. Instead of commanding a fighting force, he had been reassigned the role of traveling around the Mediterranean making speeches and having photo shoots. (This is not what old warriors are happy to do.)
This un-fighting force was assembled across from Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel, to divert the German’s attention to Pas de Calais. This dummy army was constructed and it appeared to the enemy that Allied forces were 70% stronger than thought. Fake radio messages began that would lure the Germans to Pas de Calais as the Allies’ likely target. Allied bombers would pound the Pas de Calais area with more bombs over the weeks leading up to the invasion than anywhere else in France.
Interesting is the fact that the Allied Commanders did not expect their ruse to accomplish much. But this great scheme succeeded far beyond their expectations. The Germans were convinced that Pas de Calais was the intended invasion site and concentrated on that smoke screen long after the actual invasion was underway. The result – 19 important German divisions, including powerful Panzer reserves stood idle, waiting for the fake invasion. If these divisions had been at Normandy, it most certainly would have been a different struggle for the Allies.
But, of course the invasion took place at Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches and on June 6, 1945, 9000 men lost their lives on those beaches, paving the way for the 100,000 troops that would successfully uproot the German defenses and liberate the world from their tyrant and his criminals.
It was a tremendous undertaking of military strategy and might. The balance of Western Europe lay in the victory at Normandy and we must never forget the sacrifice and struggle that led to victory for the Allies in WW2.
Struggles of war have never ceased and we know they never will in this life. Jesus said, “There will always be wars and rumors of war.” The state of the world is in disarray and continues to get more evil and dangerous, but the Christian cannot despair because Jesus also said, “Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.”