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.

D-Day

Massacre at Hémevez

By Martin K.A. Morgan

When we remember the 13,000 paratroopers and glider infantrymen who contributed so significantly to the hard-won success of June 6, 1944, we tend to remember the stories that leave us with something to admire. Read more

Political in-fighting, vanity and conspiracy led to the ousting of RAF Fighter Commands Hugh Dowding.

D-Day

The “Big Wing” Controversy and Hugh Dowding’s Fall From Grace

By Jon Diamond

In the summer of 1940, the vaunted Luftwaffe, fresh from its victories in the skies of France and the Low Countries, began its aerial assault in an attempt to either bring Britain to “peace” terms or destroy the Royal Air Force as a prelude to Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of southeastern England. Read more

D-Day

The D-Day Invasion Museum

By Flint Whitlock

There is such a treasure trove of fine military museums in Normandy—perhaps more than anywhere else in the world—that we could devote an entire issue to nothing but them. Read more

Fighting was intense in the towns and villages behind Juno Beach. Here, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division soldiers defend their position in a French town. Three of the soldiers are equipped with Lee Enfield Mk I rifles while the soldier at right is firing a Bren .303 Mk II machine gun.

D-Day

Soldiers of Juno: The Canadian Invasion of Normandy

By Dorothy Brotherton

As John Wesley Pointon jumped into the cold English Channel water with the Royal Canadian 7th Brigade Signal Corps and struggled with a heavy radio strapped to his back toward the beach that was being torn apart by shot and shell, the farm boy from Saskatchewan tried to make his mind go blank. Read more

D-Day

Bovington Tank Museum

By Ray Stevenson

If armored vehicles are your interest, the Tank Museum at Bovington Camp, Dorset, is your holy grail. This cavernous museum, measuring 50,000 square feet, holds the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of over 250 armored vehicles from 26 countries. Read more

D-Day

Commandos Crack Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

By Mark Simmon

After successfully fighting seasickness during the crossing of the English Channel, Lance-Corporal Ted Brooks of Number 48 (Royal Marine) Commando arrived on Nan Red Beach—which formed the left flank of Juno Beach—on the morning of June 6, 1944. Read more