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  • Vicki Ekmark

D-Day by the Numbers

Updated: Jun 9

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D-Day was the largest amphibious assault and combined operation in history. Two years in the making, over the course of one day enough men and materials landed on French soil to secure an area from which the Allies could begin to push back the German occupiers. The numbers behind these landings are staggering and included 156,115 men who ended up on five different beaches and drop zones. The actual invasion area was 50 miles wide and split into two zones. The Western Task Force included American beaches codenamed Utah and Omaha. The Eastern Task Force included British and Canadian beaches codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword. The forces were made up of 73,000 American soldiers and 83,115 British and Canadian soldiers. Facing these two groups were 50,000 German troops.


Building up to the Normandy landings, around 7,000,000 tons of supplies were shipped to Britain from the US, including almost 450,000 tons of ammunition. Allied planners also produced around 17,000,000 maps of varying types. Reportedly, as D-Day drew closer, Allied Commander General Eisenhower was smoking up to four packs of Camel cigarettes each day.


Sailors from eight different nations, some 195,700 of them, manned the ships of the naval flotilla which carried the bulk of the troops and equipment across the English Channel. The 6,939 vessels that took part in the Normandy landings included 1,213 naval combat ships, 4,126 landing craft, 736 ancillary craft, and 864 merchant vessels. But waiting for the Allies’ arrival in Normandy were some 4,000,000 mines placed there by the Germans as part of their Atlantic Wall defense. Amongst the American forces at Utah Beach were 14 Comanche Indian “code-talkers” who were used to send unbreakable coded messages in their native tongue.


The airborne troops at the eastern and western flanks of the invasion coast were delivered by a combination of 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders. However, only around 15% of the paratroopers landed in the right place. Other aircraft took part in massive bombing raids which were designed to destroy beach defenses and German positions.


It’s estimated that Allied losses on D-Day were around 4,413 while German losses were between 4,000 and 9,000.

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