Was it necessary to invade the European continent to defeat Nazi Germany, or could the continual aerial bombing of towns and factories alone have done the job? Or was the invasion really mounted to forestall a Soviet victory and communist takeover of Europe? Some historians still debate the question.

D-Day

Code named Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion occurred on June 6, 1944, as elements of five Allied infantry and three Allied airborne divisions assaulted the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Under the overall command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the landings on Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and Omaha beaches succeeded in establishing a foothold on the continent. Following an arduous campaign in Normandy and savage fighting across the German frontier, troops of the Western Allies met the Soviet Red Army, advancing from the East, and Nazi Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

In August 1944, the Allies followed up the massive Normandy Invasion with another in southern France known as Operation Dragoon.

D-Day

Rampage on the Riviera: Operation Dragoon

By Glenn Barnette and André Bernole

Early in 1944, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the defeated hero of North Africa and now head of Army Group B in France, was tasked with strengthening the Atlantic Wall defenses against Allied invasion. Read more

D-Day

Smashing Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

By Flint Whitlock

After overrunning France and other Western European countries in 1940, Adolf Hitler was certain that the Allies would one day attempt to invade the European continent and attack through the occupied countries to destroy his regime. Read more

D-Day

Paratrooper Brawl at Carentan

By William F. Floyd, Jr.

The two exits from the American landing zones at Utah Beach were entrusted to the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Read more

D-Day

Hobart’s Funnies

By Phil Zimmer

The elite German paratroopers, who were some of the finest fighters in the service of the Third Reich, believed they were exceptionally well prepared to defend the deep water port of Brest on France’s Brittany coast against an impending attack by the Allies. Read more

D-Day

Every man an Emperor

By Patrick J. Chaisson

Sergeant William R. Kelly crashed through the treetops, slamming to a stop when his parachute canopy caught on some branches. Read more

D-Day

Brittany: Too High a Price?

By Nathan Prefer

At age 86, with a full and successful career behind him, General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley sat down to write his uncensored memoirs. Read more

D-Day

A Screaming Eagle’s Journey: The Story of Lud Labutka

By Richard Beranty

In an effort to calm his nerves just before he jumped into Normandy on D-Day, Lud Labutka thought it might be a good idea to accept the drink being offered from the paratrooper sitting across from him on their C-47 transport as it crossed the English Channel. Read more