Breaking

The Allied Invasion of Europe in photographs, 1943-1945


Beginning with the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943, and with the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Allied forces fought against Axis powers in several locations in Western Europe.

The first Allied forces landed on the Italian peninsula on September 3, 1943, and Italy surrendered on September 8 (although the Italian Social Republic of Mussolini was soon established). On September 9, 1943, the 1st US Army landed in Salerno. The Germans launched a fierce counterattack.

US The 5th Army and other Allied forces broke through two German defensive lines (the Volturno and Barbara lines) in October and November 1943. After a heavy winter and the challenges faced by the Allies, Rome fell on June 4, 1944.

In May 1944, the Western Allies were ready to deliver their biggest blow of the war, the long-delayed, cross-Channel invasion of northern France, code-named Overlord. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of the operation, which ultimately involved a coordinated effort of 12 nations.


After much deliberation, it was decided that the landings would be made on the long, sloping beaches of Normandy. There, the Allies will have an element of surprise.

The German high command expected the attack to be in the Pas de Calais area north of the Seine River, where the English Channel is narrowest.

It was here that Adolf Hitler kept the bulk of his panzer divisions after being projected by Allied secret agents as German sympathizers that the invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais.

About 200,000 Allied forces boarded 7,000 ships and more than 3,000 aircraft and headed for Normandy. Some 1,56,000 soldiers landed on French beaches, 24,000 by air and the rest by sea, where they met stiff resistance from well-protected German positions 50 miles across the French coastline.



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