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.

The American-built Sherman medium tank was admittedly inferior to its German opponents. Yet, it won the war in Northwest Europe through shear numbers.

D-Day

M4 Sherman: “Blunder” or “Wonder” Weapon?

By Blaine Taylor

For the Allied tankers and infantrymen of the American, British, Canadian, and Free French armies battling German Panther and Tiger tanks in Normandy in the summer of 1944, the Sherman tank’s failures were glaringly evident as their own shells bounced off the hulls of the Nazi armor and they were themselves destroyed at a far greater range by the powerful German tanks. Read more

The destroyer USS Murphy survived a collision on the open sea and served during four amphibious operations in the European Theater.

D-Day

USS Murphy: Long Service in Wartime

By William B. Allmon

Eighty miles off the coast of New Jersey and 280 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean lies the forward section of a World War II destroyer, where it came to rest more than 60 years ago. Read more

D-Day

The National World War II Museum

By Peter Suciu

Opened on June 6, 2000, on the 56th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the National D-Day Museum, as it was then known, initially focused on the amphibious invasion of Normandy. Read more

D-Day

Bedford’s Valiant Boys

By Don Haines

When twin brothers Roy and Ray Stevens of Bedford, Virginia, joined Company A, First Battalion, 116th Infantry of the 29th Infantry Division in 1938, they could not know that their decision would completely destroy their dream of one day owning a farm together. Read more

1944: American artillery troops advancing across ground strewn with dead German soldiers and cattle, near Cherbourg, Normandy. (Photo by Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

D-Day

D-Day +12: Assault on Cherbourg

By Arnold Blumberg

When plans were drawn up for the Allied invasion of France in 1944, one important consideration was securing a deep-water port to allow reinforcements and supplies to be brought in directly from Great Britain and the United States. Read more

D-Day

Airborne Close Encounter

By Chris Blenheim

At midnight, the jumpers of 2nd Battalion, 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, as well as the 596th Parachute Combat Engineer Company, still dripping from the paint-spray line, shuffled across Ombrone Airfield to the waiting C-47s of Serial 6 and climbed aboard. Read more