D-Day: Normandy 1944

The Normandy D-Day began during the early hours of June 6th 1944 when Allied airborne troops landed on the east and west flanks of the Normandy coastline as part of Operation Overlord.


The map below is interactive to help you to navigate to the area you want:

Map of Normandy 1944, D-Day Operation Overlord showing sectors, landing beaches and major batteries St Mere Eglise Utah Beach US Sector Pont Du Hoc Omaha Beach US Cemetary Gold beach Juno Beach Pegasus Bridge Sword Beach Merville Battery

What is D-Day?

Operation Overlord is popularly refered to as 'D-Day', but in fact there were literally hundreds of d-days during World War Two.

The term 'D-Day' refers to the planned date of the operation.

If the operation is rescheduled, as indeed the Normandy D-Day was, then the planning for the rest of the operation is unaffected, as these are simply D+1, D+2 and so on. (Meaning D-Day plus one day, D-Day plus two days....)

Images of the 65th Anniversary of D-Day

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Normandy Today

Lying on the northern coast of France, Normandy is a region steeped in history. The Normandy coastline has was inspiration to early Impresionalist artists.

It was from here that in 1066, an amphibious invasion of England was carried out, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. Almost 900 years later the route of this invasion was reversed.

Normandy has since become a prime travel destination for military history enthusiasts, veterans and their families. The region is well served with good roads and enough museums and places of interest to keep you busy.

Operation NEPTUNE. Canadian infantrymen of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment disembark from a Landing Craft Assault [LCA] onto 'Nan Red' Beach, JUNO Area, at la Rive, near St Aubin-sur-Mer, at about 8.05 am on 6 June 1944, while under fire from German troops in the houses facing them.

There are also ample campsites in Normandy, along with, hotels and guest houses; although at peak anniversaries these book up early.

During the peak period, which coincides with the celebrations of the landings, there are many events taking place to remember D-Day.

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Image FLM 2570 courtesy of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum. These images cannot be copied from this site without prior permission from the IWM.

D-Day 1944

The first troops to land in Nazi occupied Europe on D-Day were the British airborne troops who assaulted what was soon to be known as ‘Pegasus Bridge’. Soon after the US 82nd and 101st Airborne landed around the St Mare Eglise area.

Around 07:00 June 6th 1944 the beaches of Normandy were assaulted in the largest combined operation to date. Operation Overlord, popularly called D-Day had begun. ( although every assault is actually a d-day).

In the largest combined operations landing ever, Allied troops were were brought ashore on the Normandy coast, at the beaches of Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah.

US Rangers climbed the cliffs at Pont Du Hoc tasked with disabling the German battery which threatened these beaches.

By a combination of surprise, partially caused by a campaign of deception carried out by the Allies, good planning and acts of individual heroism and determination the D-Day landings were successful, gaining the Allies a beachhead on in Normandy.

By August more than 3 Million troops had been brought ashore across the beaches of Normandy.

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What to see in Normandy

Ade Pitman in D-Day US Airborne kit at St Mere Eglise, Normandy

Visitors are advised to make the Tourist Information Centre their first stop.

Here you can pick up free guides to the region and buy your discounted Normandy Carte, which gets discounts at many museums.

No matter how many times you visit the region, there will always be something new for you to see. However; for people on a tight schedule, the places below will provide a feel of the area:

Arromanches: Home to the British Mulberry harbour. See the Mulberry Harbour Museum and ‘Normandy 360’ cinema.

Pegasus Bridge: Assaulted by British glider troops. See also the Airborne museum and Cafe Gondree.

The Waco glider inside the US Airborne Muesum

St Mare Eglise: This town comes alive in the summer and is a focal point for US airborne enthusiasts. See the Airborne Museum and church.

Omaha Beach: ‘Bloody Omaha’ as it came to be known still has the remains of landing craft. See also the US Cemetery.