Saturday, May 14, 2016

Documentary Review: World War II in Colour 9: Operation Overlord

Operation Overlord refers of course to D-Day.  The Allied invasion of France was the most important movement of the World War.  This process involved lots of planning, and included an attempt at subterfuge by appointing General Patton to be in charge of a non existent company with fake plans and tanks and everything.  The purpose of this was to give the impression that the major attack was to be farther north, in Pas de Calais in France, or in Norway.  Double agents spread the word that these were to be the main targets, with a feinting attack farther south in Normandy.  This was also simulated radio chatter taking place, to point to the creation of the nonexistent army.
The original planned date for the attack on Norway was postponed because of the weather.  However June 6, 1944 was a successful date for the cross channel attack on France.
The initial attacks were mostly successful, with the exception of the landing on Omaha Beach which was facing rough terrain and stiff resistance.  However by the end of the first day, even they had established a foot hold.
Maintaining a port with the ability of supplying the many troops pouring into France was vital.  At first a man made port was established, however this was nearly destroy due to bad weather.  It was vitally important that the Allies take a port, and this they did in Cherbourg before the end of the month.
There were the expected German counter attacks, but bombing of fuel stations kept the Luftwaffe mostly on the ground.  The Panzer and Tiger tanks were very formidable, and the counter attack ended punching a whole, which when closed put over 50,000 Germans in risk of capture.
A second invasion of France took place August 15, and Paris was freed by the end of August with the Germans crossing the Reine into Germany.

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