Category: Allied Invasion of France

Plans for the Allied Invasion of France

Even though military resources in Britain were meager after the withdrawal from France in 1940, British forces soon began to plan a return to the Continent. In September 1941, the British Chiefs of Staff charged Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten (later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma), who headed the Combined Operations Headquarters, with investigating the technical […]

Developing Alliance

Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war against the United States, as American and British military leaders met in Washington in a series of conferences known as Arcadia (December 1941-January 1942), they reaffirmed the ABC-1 decision to remain on the strategic defensive in the Pacific while defeating Germany […]

Plans Developed

When the CCS met at Casablanca in January 1943, it was a time of optimism. The Germans had been decisively defeated in North Africa, though the campaign would continue until May. The Russians had taken the offensive after stopping the Germans at Stalingrad (now Volgograd), and Japanese expansion in the Pacific had definitely been checked. […]

Final Plans

After studying the Overlord concept, Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery concluded that the initial assault needed to be strengthened and yet made on a broadened front. This required additional landing craft, troops, and vehicles, and this in turn led to debate over whether the diversionary invasion on the Mediterranean coast of France, an operation code named […]

French Resistance

Contributing toward the disruption of the railroads and highways in France were the efforts of the French resistance, a movement that had sprung up spontaneously after the surrender of France in 1940. As early as that year a headquarters established by Gen. Charles de Gaulle in London formed a special staff which was charged with […]

German Forces

On the German side, Adolf Hitler exercised direct control over military operations. He was the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces (Wehrmacht). His staff was the High Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW ), headed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. Under OKW, in theory, were the Air Force High […]

Deception Plan

One of the vital elements of the invasion was the erroneous German expectation of landings in the Pas-de-Calais. Believing that a number of Allied divisions in the United Kingdom belonged to “Army Group Patton,” the Germans concentrated a strong Fifteenth Army in the Pas-de-Calais, the coastline nearest to England and the area in western Europe […]

Selection of Commanders

Selecting a supreme commander for the cross-Channel invasion was no easy matter. When an invasion in 1943 had seemed possible and the bulk of the resources would have been British, Churchill had informed General Brooke that he was to command the invasion forces. Later, when the preponderance of American resources dictated the choice of an […]