According to Fein, the Battle of Normandy officially started on the 6th of June the year 1944 when the Allies touched base with Normandy and started their confrontation with the German forces over the control of Normandy. D-Day is therefore used by many scholars to signify the date on which the military began their operations in the land. The major aim of the war was to free both the beaches and other parts of France from Germany occupancy. The Allied soldiers brought together the American, British, and Canadian forces in a fierce battle against the German troops. This battle was fought both inland and along the beaches of Normandy and resulted in a great number of casualties.
The Beginning of the War
The Battle of Normandy has been cited as one of the key successes of Allied France. History Learning Site notes that almost immediately they landed on the beaches of Normandy, on the 6th of June the year 1944, the Allies had to battle it out to have their way into the Normandy’s heartland from the beaches. Even after this was achieved, there was another challenge of moving to Paris from the heartland of Normandy.
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History Learning Site reports that though there was the element of surprise in the initial days of the war, especially, on the D-Day, this was no longer there after the occurrence of the landings. The Germans had prior information regarding the plans of the Allies, especially where they had planned to make their push. They thus avoided putting much of their focus on Pays de Calais. However, the Allies succeeded in deceiving the Germans prior to the D-Day. It is only in the post-D-Day that the commanders of the German army had identified critical areas where more effort was needed. Therefore, the Allies had to face a lot of difficulties as the fight continued.
The Organization of the Allies
In their organization, the American soldiers pushed their way to free Brittany westwards along with the coastal areas while the combined forces from Canada and Polish pushed inland. This means that the latter group had to ensure that Caen is captured. The city was perceived as the major one in Normandy and whose capture would signify victory to the Allies. According to Hasting, the fight was expected to be fierce inland compared to other places like the Beach of Omaha. He notes that the victory in this war was only realized when the Allied was almost fully destroying a group of German armed forces soldiers that had been stationed at Falaise. This only came about after the carrying out of a large number of operations in an attempt to have Normandy, as well as Brittany, freed from the control of the German.
History Learning Site shows that there were two operations; one composed of the Spring, Charnwood, Totalise, Tractable, Atlantic, and another, Goodwood, which was majorly pursuing the capture of Caen and had to push towards Falaise from the Coastal regions. On the other hand, the Cobra Operation that was under the leadership of the American soldiers was meant to bring liberty to Brittany.
The Effects of the Battle
According to Portsmouth Museum and Records, the nature of the war could not allow the accurate keeping of the records of the exact number of casualties. However, records indicate that just between the months of April and May of the year 1944, about 12,000 men, as well as over 2,000 aircraft, had been lost by the Allied forces. According to the records by Portsmouth Museum and Records, this is what finally led to the D-Day. However, the figure is believed to have gone higher on the D-Day when it is estimated the Allied forces alone had 10,000 casualties, 2,500 of whom were believed to have died.
The records have it that out of the 10,000 people, 6,603 were American soldiers, 2,700 were British soldiers, while those from Canada were 946. However, further researches carried out by the UD National D-Day Memorial Foundation revealed that the figure could be higher than was initially estimated. It has revealed that 4414 personnel from the Allied forces suffered death. On the other hand, the German sides also lost between 4,000 and 9,000 men on the D-Day. In June 1944, the loss was of 24 warships, the damage of 120 vessels, as well as the sinking of 35 merchantmen. The allied bombing also saw between 15,000 and 20,000 civilian French dying (Portsmouth Museum and Records, 1).
Omaha Beach has been identified as having experienced a more fierce battle compared to other beaches like Sword, Utah, Juno, and Gold, which records indicate that had not experienced a high number of casualties. The efficiency in the war along the beaches was as a result of the utilization of what is generally known as Funnies coupled with effective and time planning. The two factors helped the Allies to conquer the beaches at a swift speed. However, this was not the case inland. Beevor notes that the nature of the inland presented advantages to the German forces thus causing great challenges to the Allied forces.
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The major obstacle was the large hedges, which bordered the country of Normandy. The Germans could, therefore, utilize the hedges as their hiding places. This made it possible for easy use of the anti-talk guns like the machine guns and the feared 88. On the other hand, the same hedges helped to expose the mechanized units and the tanks of the Allies slowing the pace at which they could move forward. Apart from this slowness, the Allies had to suffer a high number of casualties.
Fein observes that after the D-Day, the German forces managed to move the extra units of the experienced Panzer into Normandy. He notes that among the Allied tanks was the Sherman, perceived as the most common. However, despite its capacity, it had to face the advantaged King Tiger as well as the German Tiger tanks all of which were advantaged by the hedges. For instance, the Sherman tank had its vulnerable base exposed as it was crossing hedgerows. This made Allied soldiers vulnerable to the attack of the German soldiers raising the number of casualties.
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The German soldiers using the Tiger tank equally faced challenges as its greater firepower required more fuel compared to that consumed by the Sherman. Moreover, it reportedly found difficulty in maneuvering through the roads of Normandy, which are said to be sunken. The German forces also had to fight in the fields where they could easily be attacked by tank-busting RAF Typhoons. However, it is noted that the main challenge faced by the German commanders was inconsistency in the supply of fuel. This was worsened by the destruction of the routes leading to fuel sources by the Allied bombers. The German high commanders had no solution enable them to get fuel for their Panzer tank units. Furthermore, things worsened when the Allies got their way into the interior parts of France and as they approached River Rhine (History Learning Site, 1).
The fighting was also worsened by the understanding of the Germans that they had the last chance to have the Allies pushed out of France, Normandy. However, as the Allies got into the interior, the German unit was becoming weaker and weaker. History Learning Site reports that some of the German forces considered the battle of Normandy to be understood in terms of a make or a break. That is why any defeat would imply that Germany was going to lose France and that this would be followed by the Allies attacking Germany through Nazi.
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Another reason for the fierce battle was the fact that two sides understood the importance of having control over Caen, which was seen as being central if either side had to be successful in controlling Normandy. Though the Allies managed to conquer the city, this only came after the old city had almost been destroyed by their bombing. It is noted that almost an equal momentum was experienced at Verrieres Ridge, which falls three miles from Caen southwards. This place was considered very important as it offered a strategic position over which the winner would enjoy the commanding view of the entire nearby terrain.
Generally, this battle presented a real test to Germany’s forces. The soldiers had to fight against the opponents who enjoyed endless equipment as well as fuel supplies. The beaches were secured, the English Channel effectively controlled, and the Cherbourg port captured making it easy for the allied forces to ensure a continuous supply of more forces. This means that the Germans could no longer manage to be in a similar position as the Allies. However, being favored by a number of factors, the German forces managed to delay the movement of the Allied forces inland as they ensured they resisted strongly (History Learning Site, 1).
The End of the War/Conclusion
In conclusion, it is important for any warring forces to consider their ability to counter their opponents before subjecting its troops to any battle. Irrespective of the efforts that were put by the Germans, their resistance had to culminate in mid-August 1944 with the Allies capturing 150,000 soldiers from their side. This happened both around and inside Falaise town. It is noted that only those who managed to access the Falaise Gap prior to its closure managed to escape. However, a good number of the German soldiers who were captured were killed presenting a big blow to the German side. Lastly, it was thus not possible for them to recover and be able to face their opponents again.