D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
D-Day, 6th June 1944 heralded the beginning of the Liberation of Northwest Europe from under the yoke of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Elements of six Allied Infantry Divisions came ashore on the Calvados coast of Normandy, France and a further three Airborne Divisions landed at the flanks af the invasion area. This was divided up into five landing beaches which were codenamed, west to east, UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO and SWORD.
UTAH and OMAHA Beaches were in the American landing zone and GOLD, JUNO and SWORD Beaches were in the British landing zone. The US 4th Division came ashore as the spearhead of US VII Corps at UTAH Beach and the US 1st Division and 29th Divisions landed at OMAHA Beach as the spearhead of the US V Corps. The US Rangers came ashore inbetween these two beaches to climb the cliffs and assault the Coastal Artillery Battery at Point-du-Hoc as well as 'lead the way' off the beach at OMAHA. Further east the British 50th (Northumbrian) Division came ashore at GOLD, with the Canadian 3rd Division landing at JUNO Beach. To their east the British 3rd Division came ashore at SWORD Beach intent on heading inland to seize Caen.
On either side of the beach landing zone, airborne landings took place to secure the flanks. In the west two American Airborne Divisions, the 82nd 'All American' Division and 101st 'Screaming Eagles' Division, landed behind UTAH Beach. Their tasks were to sevure the crossings over the River Merdret and the inland ends of the causeways leading across the inundated area behind the beach. In the East the British 6th Airbore Division was tasked with seizing intact the two bridges near Bénouville over the Caen Canal and River Orne, destroying the five bridges over the River Dives thereby channelling any German counter-attack from the east inland towards Caen and destroying the Merville Bttery that overlooked SWORD Beach.
Visit the sites associated with the American Airborne on the Cotentin Peninsula centred on Sainte-Mère-Eglise. See where the US 4th Infantry Division came ashore at UTAH Beach, the US 1st Infantry Division and 116th Infantry Regiment of the US 29th Division came ashore on Bloody OMAHA. Visit the British beaches of GOLD, JUNO and SWORD. Discuss the first action of the invasion at Pegasus Bridge, Bénouville. Pay your respects at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial and the many CWGC Cemeteries in the area.
Join one of our Expert guides on a tour of the D-Day Landing Beaches and the battlefields of Normandy, follow the battle and see how it developed.
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At In the footsteps we recognise that many people want to tour the D-Day battlefields on their own. Up to now they have had to spend days and weeks researching the locations to visit and the details of the battles that took place. They then had to cobble together an itinerary hoping that it tells the story of what happened before setting off on the journey hoping all will be okay. Now, however, that is no longer the case.