82nd Airborne Division (USA)
The 82nd Airborne Division - the "All American Division"- jumped into Normandy shortly after midnight. Its objectives were to capture the village of Sainte-Mere-Egllse.
secure crossings of the Merderet River, and block German counterattacks into Utah beach through its sector. Anti alrcraft fire, cloud patches, the confusion of combat and German units present at some of the drop zones caused several dropped units to be widely dispersed. Energetic leaders nevertheless gathered sufficient forces to selze Sainte-Mére-Egllse in the early morning hours, and then to hold lt against two counterattacks. Other leaders consolidated scattered paratroopers into battle positions across the Merderet River and at crossing sites, although further fighting proved necessary to secure these passages for ground traffic. The widely dispersed paratroopers sought out each other and the Germans aggressively. The havoc they caused. in addition to that caused by the French Resistance, left the Germans unable to much interfere with Utah Beach.
101st Airborne Division (USA)
The 101st Airborne Division - the "Screamlng Eagle Division” - jumped into Normandy shortly after midnight. Its prlnclple mlsslon was to assist the landing of the 4th Infantry Division and its passage inland. Its key tasks were to capture exits through the flooded terraln surrounding Utah Beach. secure the southern flank of the landings on that beach, and block German counterattacks into Utah beach through lts sector. Antl-alrcraft fire, cloud patches, fog, the confusion of combat and German presence in some of the drop zones caused several units to land widely dispersed, Energetic leaders nevertheless gathered sufficient forces to secure the beach exits, and then to hold them against counterattacks and efforts to escape. The paratroopers also seized the locks at la Barquette, whlch could have been used to dlsastrously flood critical terrain. The dispersed paratroopers sought out each other and the Germans aggressively, creating such havoc the Germans were unable to much interfere with the amphiblous landings.
4th Infantry Division (USA)
The 4th Infantry Division - the "Ivy Division" - assault landed onto Utah Beach on 6 June 1944 The enemy had already been disrupted the night before by airborne landings to secure egress off the beaches and naval and air bombardment seems to have been effective as well The flrst wave came ashore 2 OOO yards south of the point intended due to the obscuratlon of landmarks and a strong coastal current but quickly made its way inland against mlnimal opposition Twenty eight of 32 DD tanks supporting the attack made lt inland Within three hours engineers had cleared the prlnclpal beach areas of significant obstacles and the further landing of reinforcements proceeded smoothly By nightfall the division was ashore intact organized and equipped for further offensive action It had suffered 200 casualties during the course of the day, most to Intermittent artillery fire ashore, and provided invaluable armor support to the push
2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion (USA)
On June 6, 1944 - D-Day - the 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion assault landed to seize the dominant cliff bound Pointe du Hoc and destroy German heavy guns positioned there. The guns were located ln such a manner that they could disrupt landings at both Omaha and Utah Beaches, and had the highest single priority of any pre-invasion target. Despite difficult seas, disruption and casualties getting ashore, the Rangers climbed ropes propelled aloft by rockets and manhandled ladders while under fire, and had parties on top of the cliffs within fifteen minutes of landing. These formed up into ever larger groups as more and more men made it to the top, and moved on to seize designated targets. The guns had been moved from their initial prepared positions, but the Rangers pushed on to find and destroy them. They also cut the coastal highway behind Pointe du Hoc, and beat back furious German counterattacks to secure their gains.
Meanwhile a contingent of the 2nd Ranger infantry Battalion and the 2th Ranger Infantry Battalion had fought their way ashore onto Omaha Beach. In concert with the 29th infantry Division and supporting units they fought their way overland, relieving the embattled defenders of Pointe du Hoc on 8 June.
1st Infantry Division (USA)
The 1st Infantry Division - the "Big Red One" - assault landed onto Omaha Beach on 6 June. 1944. Seas were choppy and cross currents strong. Many landing craft came ashore some distance from where they had intended. German resistance, supported by significant obstacles, was well organized and determined. American units found themselves intermingled, exposed and under heavy fire. Amidst this confusion seasoned lunier and intermediate leaders asserted themselves and restored momentum to the attack. Soldiers in small groups clawed their way onto the bluffs overlooking the beaches, and turned aside to outflank German defenders blocking the few draws capable of passing vehicles from the beaches to higher ground. Attacking through the night, by the next morning the division was astride Route 814 along the bluffs above the beach, and positioned to bring further vehicles and reinforcements ashore. The courage under adversity of Omaha Beach has become iconic in the lore of the American soldier.
50th Infantry Division (UK)
The 50th Division - the “Northumbrlan Division' - amphibiously assaulted Gold Beach in two brigade groups. This sector was low-lying and sandy, presenting few obstacles and allowing open fields of fire.
Patches of soft clay and soggy grassland threatened the movement of vehicles, and strong points covered continuous belts of beach obstacles, mines and barbed wire. Despite these difficulties, the division seized strongly defended Le Hamel, I-lable de l-leurtot and La Rivlere ln sharp fighting, and commenced to push inland. By day's end the 50th Division secured most of Arromanches, and pushed more than four miles inland to seize the villages of Esquay-sur-Seulles and Coulombs.
3rd Canadian Division
The 3rd Canadlan Division amphibiously assaulted Juno Beach on a two-brlgade front. wlth an additional brlgade to pass through as the advance contlnued. Thelr sector was low-lying and sandy, wlth a coastal hlghway lined with buildings connecting villages on line. The Germans converted the villages Into heavily defended strong points covering beach obstacles, mines and barbed wire. Despite these challenges, the Division seized Courseulles and Bemleres after fierce fighting, and pushed inland. By days end the Division had seized the villages of Le Fresne Camilly and Villons les Buissons, both more than five miles Inland, and pioneered ilnes of communlcatlon to support their advance.
3rd Infantry Division (UK)
The 3rd Division amphibiously assaulted Sword Beach on a brigade front, with two additional brigades to pass through ground gained by the first. Their sector was low~Iylng and sandy. with a coastal highway lined with buildings connecting several villages on line. The Germans had converted the villages into heavily defended strong points coverlng beach obstacles. mines and barbed wire, Despite these challenges, the Division seized la Breche and Ouistreham after fierce fighting and pushed inland. By day’s end the 3rd Division had seized Bievllle, over four miles inland, linked up with the embattled 6th Airborne Division, and beaten back a major counterattack by the 2nd Panzer Division.
6th Airborne Division (UK)
The 6th Airborne Division landed in the early morning darkness by parachute and glider to secure the extreme left flank of the Normandy landings. To do this it had to secure bridges over the Orne River and the Canal du Caen between Benouville and Ranville, destroy four bridges across the Dives Rlver, deny the enemy the use of the ground between the Orne and the Dives, and destroy a fortified battery near Melville. Despite losses and some misdlrection to aircraft and gliders, the division achieved these objectives and then held its ground against fierce German counterattacks. This D-Day performance has become a classic account of successful airborne operations.
1213 Allied warships
Of the 1213 Allied warships scheduled to take part in NEPTUNE, some 16.5 percent were American including three battleships three heavy cruisers.
and 30 destroyers Rear Admiral Alan G Kirk's Western Task Force consisted of three component parts Task Force 124 commanded by Rear Admiral John L. Hall USN in the amphibious command ship USS Ancon which was to take on the landings at Omaha Beach Task Force 125 commanded by Rear Admiral Don P Moon USN ln the attack transport USS Bayfield assigned to carry out the assault on Utah Beach and Task Force 126 the follow up force, commanded by escort USS Maloy that was slated to bring in reinforcing troops for Omaha Beach The hundreds of ships taking part on the Normandy invasion sorted from their assembly ports in England and Northern Ireland on 5 June 1944 The separately sailed convoys headed furst toward Area Z, a rendezvous point located southeast of the Isle of Wight.
In addition to individual Coast Guardsmen sewing on board naval vessels and landing craft. the United States Coast Guard deployed two flotillas ln support of the Normandy invasion. Rescue Flotilla One consisted of sixty 83-foot patrol boats - the so called ‘matchbox fleet' - and rescued hundreds of men from the waters off Normandy. often while under enemy fire. LCl(l.) Flotilla 10 consisted of 24 Coast Guard manned Large Infantry Landing Craft (LCl(L)), and delivered hundreds of troops and tons of equipment to Omaha Beach at the outset of the invasion.