starter activity Reasons for D-Day Stalin wanted a second front in Europe to ease the pressure on his troops fighting in East Allies had already won victories in North Africa (1942) and Italy (1943) France had been occupied since 1940, the time had come to liberate the country Since 1942 US troops & equipment steadily building up in Britain General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces – complete reasons why he decided to reinvade Europe in June 1944. What would be the dangers?
starter activity Reasons for D-Day Stalin wanted a secondfront in Europe to ease the pressure on his troops fighting in East Allies had already won victories in North Africa (1942) and Italy (1943) France had been occupied since 1940, the time had come to liberate the country Since 1942 US troops & equipment steadily building up in Britain General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces
Key words: Operation Overlord Could you manage to stage your own D-Day? TBAT explain how Allies managed to return to Europe on 6th June 1944 to end WWII Write a report LOs
Your task Task sheet D-Day, 6 June 1944, marked the start of the allied invasion of Europe, the greatest amphibious operation in history. Code-named OVERLORD, this vast cross-Channel attack enabled the United Kingdom, the United States and their allies to land substantial forces on mainland Europe and defeat the enemy in battle. Your task is to imagine you are a military general planning the invasion of Europe. Have you got what it takes to land your troops and break through the German defences?
1. You need to gather your troops and supplies near departure zone. How do you conceal them so they won’t be spotted by German reconnaissance planes?
US troops, vehicles, supplies arrive in southern England Training Deception – operation FORTITUDE Bombing Reconnaissance January 1942 4,000 July 1942 80,000 January 1943 120,000 July 1943 240,000 January 1944 930,000 May 1944 1,500,000 Operation Fortitude Table showing build up of US troops in UK
2. Which site do you choose for the invasion? Calais is much nearer but heavily defended. Normandy & Brittany are further away, but there is more chance of getting past the German defences.
Calais too heavily defended • Normandy relatively near, but less well defended • Coastline more suitable for landing invasion army & equipment • Germans expecting Allies to land in Calais
3.Once you have chosen your landing site, how do you deceive the Germans into thinking you are not going to land there?
Allied bombing of Calais intensified • Misinformation & decoys – e.g. ‘Man Who Never Was’ • 9 separate major decoy operations including, e.g. Operation Titanic (10 SAS paratroopers simulated major invasion of Boulogne) • RAF dropped foil strips to blind German radar
4. There are only a few days to go now until D-Day. With so many people involved, how do you stop news of your invasion plans leaking out?
Soldiers restricted to military bases • Leave cancelled • News blackout • Movement around coastline restricted • Crossword in Telegraph contained many Overlord codewords US troops in Portsmouth before D-Day, aka ‘The Longest Day’
5.You arrive at the beaches and find they are heavily defended with mines, barbed wire and anti-tank weapons. How do you get your troops ashore with the minimum number of casualties?
Aerial bombardment Landings at low tide Hobart’s funnies - ‘Swimming’, bridge & flail tanks Infantry follow behind armoured vehicles Heavy machinery, e.g. bridge-laying Bridge tanks Swimming tanks
Sherman ‘flail’ tank Diagram showing Allied invasion strategy
6. Your troops have landed, but they need constant supplies of weapons, food and fuel. How do you manage to maintain your supplies throughout the heavy fighting?
‘Mulberry’ harbours • Pluto – undersea fuel pipeline Mulberry harbours
7. You are facing heavy resistance from the Germans. How do you break through and push towards your primary objective – Berlin?
Build-up of Allied troops & equipment • Air superiority used to attack German positions • Resistance fighters disrupted communications & destroyed supplies • Strategic cities besieged, e.g. Caen
August 1944 Paris liberated • September 1944, Allies reached Rhine • December 1944, Ardennes counter-offensive • Soviets pushing in from East, Germans retreat through Italy • 30th April 1945 Hitler commits suicide in Berlin
Your task • General Eisenhower has asked you to produce a report for Winston Churchill on the success/failures of the D-Day landings. Assess the reasons why you think the campaign was so successful making reference to the following: • Preparations • Military equipment • Technical support • Mention too the risks you faced & the difficulties encountered once in France
Plenary What strategies did the Allies use to reinvade Europe? Why did the Allies wait until 1944 to return? What did you need to do in order to improve your report? Which was a greater victory Dunkirk or D-Day?
Extension The British used lots of deception techniques during WWII. What’s odd about the stamp on the left? Find out about the part played by magician Jasper Maskelyne in winning the war