D – Débarquement

Although the D in D-Day stands for day, débarquement (pronunciation: day-BARK-munhh)  is a French term used to describe the arrival of the Americans in the European theater of World War II.

D-Day was one of the most important tactical advances in World War Two. It was a push to gain a foothold in Europe, and therefore secure a path to advance towards Germany. The attacking force was comprised of a huge marine invasion, the largest one in the history of the world. The name of the entire campaign was nicked-named “Operation Overlord”, while this first initial assault phase was called “Operation Neptune”.

The weather factor

The attack was planned on a full moon, to give better visibility for navigating. As ships approached on June 4th the weather made a landing look impossible. There were high waves and winds, and low clouds that would make visibility for aircraft terrible. On June 5th, a meeting was held to determine whether the invasion should proceed.  J.M. Stagg, the meteorologist, thought the weather would be better on the 6th, and so the attack continued. The weather had another reason to be a bigger factor in the attack; the bad weather conditions relaxed the guard of the Germans, who believed no attack would happen for a few days.

Results of the attack

Operation Neptune was a success; giving allied soldiers ground in Europe, and eventually leading to the liberation of France. German propaganda tried to downplay their loss, and created media that made it seem as if the allied soldiers had taken great casualties, and that their occupation was simply a temporary setback.