D-Day 70: Liberation came at a heavy price

Troops head for a Normandy beach in 1944

Troops head for a Normandy beach in 1944

First published in

The Allies landed more than 130,000 troops on five beaches on D-Day in the biggest seaborne invasion in military history.

Spread across 50 miles of coastline in Normandy, the five beaches – known by codenames – were: Sword: The easternmost of the five beaches was assaulted by the 3rd British Infantry Division.

Some 29,000 men landed and there were around 630 casualties.

Gold: Nearly 25,000 men from the British 50th Division landed on Gold beach at the centre of the landing zones.

By the end of the day, 413 men were killed or wounded on the beach, and 89 landing crafts were destroyed.

Juno: The assault landings on Juno between Graye-sur-Mer and Bernieres-sur-Mer were made by the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division.

Juno was heavily defended and casualty figures were high among the 21,400 men who landed there on D-Day.

Omaha: Casualty figures were higher than on any other beach, with more than 2,000 Americans killed or wounded.

Initial bombardments failed to knock out the heavy guns, which survived by being moved back.

Utah: The American 4th Infantry Division did not suffer the same grievous losses as their colleagues at Omaha.

Of more than 23,000 men from the 4th Infantry Division who landed at Utah, some 200 were killed, wounded or missing as they advanced around four miles.

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