Gotta Watch: Remembering D-Day
Reinforcements disembarking from a landing barge at Normandy during the allied invasion of France on D-Day
June 6th, 2011
11:48 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Remembering D-Day

On June 6th, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops poured onto the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France, in one of the most decisive battles of World War II. The D-Day invasion marked a beginning of the end of the war and the defeat of the Nazi regime in Europe. This particular operation was at a high cost to the Allied forces, with nearly 10,000 troops killed or wounded. Today marks the 67th anniversary of that pivotal operation.

'We didn't have time to fear' - World War II veterans recount what it was like to participate in the invasion of Normandy.

D-Day begins - After years of meticulous planning and training for the Allied forces, it all came down to June 6, 1944.

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Filed under: Adolf Hitler • France • Gotta Watch • History
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Josh Anderson

    Everyone knows that Stalingrad battle in USSR was the most decisive battle of WW2.

    And high cost claim for D-day of 10,000 people is laughable in comparison to casualties of Stalingrad battle that took 1.7 to 2.2 million lives.

    D-day was too little too late.

    June 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hubert

      Yeah, Josh perhaps you are right. But if it was not for D-day the entire Europe would be speaking either German or Russian. So, I'd say that was the most pivotal battle on the Western Front during WWII.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trav

      Casualty count isn't what makes a battle decisive. The Eastern front was stagnated for years, that's exactly why the casualty count was so high. Both countries were just feeding soldiers into the machine but not actually getting any tactical or operational benefit from it. It wasn't until the western front was opened up by the Normandy invasion that the lines started moving and when the Nazis were forced to reallocate resources that was the first time that the Soviets made any appreciable gains on the Eastern front. And that is why Normandy is the most decisive battle of the ETO in WWII.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @ Trav – Apparently you have been watching alot of the History Channel instead of reading real history. At no point was the Eastern Front stagnant, and the USSR had pushed the Germans back to almost their starting point before d-day.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Everyone also knows that you are a doosh. Doesn't prevent us from pointing it out though.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhioToad

      your observation with regards to the turning point is spot on, 10000 casualties, however, is not laughable

      June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      The fighting on the eastern front had a completely different scale, just compare Operation Kursk or Barbarossa to the Battle of the Bulge, which was the only large German offensive after D-Day in the west...
      For Kursk the Wehrmacht fielded 3000 tanks and one million soldiers, for the Battle of the Bulge only 600 tanks (without sufficient fuel...) and perhaps a quarter of a million soldiers.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trav

      @Dave, no I'm pretty well read in military history thank you, but I'm not here to debate my resume. Once again, using WWI tactics to fight what was, yes, a stagnated front over several years is not a great strategic victory. The fact remains that once the Western front was opened the US, UK, etc. was able to accomplish more in less than a year than the Soviets did in the previous years. The fact that the US didn't have 25 million casualties makes us better at waging war, not worse.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I think the argument is a moot point. The Eastern front is what allowed D-Day to happen. The constant bombing by the US and British crippled German industry (which was located primarily in the West of Germany) which weakened Germany's ability to fight the Russians. A two-front war is hard to maintain. There is no point arguing which front was more important, it was the sum total of both front that ended the war. It is true far more Russians were killed in battles on the Eastern front, that owed as much to Russian military tactics/strategy that anything else. Russia didn't have the ability to launch a sustained air campaign like the Americans and Brits could.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      But do remember Trav, for every German in France there were 3 on the eastern front fighting the Russians.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Josh,
      While it's true that Stalingrad was, in many ways, much larger, with more casualties, it doesn't follow that it's "more important." It's not just the battle itself that was critical, but the fact that the Germans forced them to tie down huge numbers of forces for many months preparing for D-Day. The Russians certainly had the Germans reeling, but the successful D-Day landing was definitely the death knell for Germany.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Wonderin'

      "[T]oo little, too late"? A war that had been going on since 1938 ended in less than a year after the invasion with a victory against Germany. Sean, it sounds like you got your "facts" from some Soviet loving (or American hating) prof. Stalingrad was decisive from the Soviet perspective in that in push the Germans back from Russia. The Soviets, however, could never have beaten Germany alone. The Allied invasion was the key turning point.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • bandit109

      @ Trav, you either have a completely different definition of a stagnant front, or you seriously need to look at a map of the Eastern Front. Your comparison that the US and UK accomplished more in less than a year than the Soviets did in several is complete moot. The success on the Western Front after D-Day has more to do with the late war timing than exceptional success by the allies. For instance, how efficient would the campaign have been in 1942 or even 1943? Not nearly as much. That campaign was successful, in large part, because the German war machine was already severely weakened (due to the combined efforts of the Allies and Soviets)

      June 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I agree Stalingrad was a crushing and unexpected blow to the German Wermacht. That is why they got to Berlin before the US. However, the fact that the US sent in a seemingly endless amount of fresh forces to the West of Europe spelled doom and a quicker end to the war. Germany had been crushed in the east, but the war was far from over. D-Day made it an unwinable two front war. You also can't deny the effect of endless bomb raids over Berlin and the aerial support that the western allies delivered. WWII was an incredible event and I hope that younger people don't lose sight of its meaning in history.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      Obviously the US military faced only a tiny fraction of the Wehrmacht (which at the time of D-Day was already extremely weakened), the bulk was fighting on the eastern front, further troops were stationed in the Balkans, several hundred thousand soldiers stationed in Norway, not to mention that at the western front the Wehrmacht had to fight also against the Brits/Canadians/French and co. thus also of the fraction of the Wehrmacht which fought against the western Allies also only a part fought really against the US troops.
      Not to mention that apart from the Wehrmacht also troops of Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, a bunch of volunteers (e.g. a Spanish division), an Italian expeditionary corps composed of three divisions and co. fought against the Soviets.

      Obviously the Soviets were bound to suffer tremendous casualties.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trav

      I suppose we'll just agree to disagree. I'll agree that the Soviets definitely played a large role and should be respected for that but it was basically just softening up the Nazis. I just don't find anything particularly admirable about huge amounts of bloodshed without any real strategic innovation at the top. Whereas the US/UK showed actual tactical and operational innovation in maneuver warfare theory, economic dominance and technological development.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Let's not forget that the US was also fighting a two-front war.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRH

      Re: Dave/Trav

      Let's just throw out the word "stagnant" and discuss the real point. The battle of Stalingrad that Josh referred to which prompted Trav's comment lasted well over half a year. That's a mightly long time that both sides were pouring humanity into a meatgrinder at and around one city. Call it stagnant, call it whatever you want...but I'd suggest it wasn't decisive in the manner that Normandy was.

      Normandy opened a direct path to Berlin in a FAR shorter window of time than the preceding YEARS of fighting on the eastern front had accomplished.

      I think it's fair to call it a decisive moment in the war.

      @CF: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

      It may sound trite; it may be cliche, but it's wise beyond measure. And that's why I believe people should care. That's why I care.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      9 out of 10 Germans killed in WW2 was killed by a Soviet. This is not a snipe at the contribution of the western allies, but simply a startling fact.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      But, if you consider the Normandy campaign as a whole, of which D-Day was just the start, it was an incredibly brutal fight, with numbers to rival and/or outdue similar time-frames on the Eastern Front, even at its height. The Western Allies did not have an easier time of it – they simply were better equipped and better led than the Soviet troops were, which enabled them to the borders of Berlin around the same time as the Soviets.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • PCola Vet

      You're obviously not too bright about WW2 dude. The Russians were BEGGING us to open a new front, to take the pressure off of them, and their IDIOT, MANIACAL leasder Stalin, who killed MORE of his OWN people than the Germans did. Once D-Day started then the pressure was too much for Germany, and thus the end was near. The Soviets lost more that 14 million civilians due to Stalin, and his orders for civilians to STAY and fight.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      Not really wizz, the Wehrmacht had far more soldiers and equipment at the eastern front than in Normandy/France.

      The eastern front had a completely different scale.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    While D-day was important, 80% of the german army fought on the Eastern Front (and all of the Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian amd Spanish 'volunteers'). The USSR fought battles as big and larger than D-day many times. The USA should be proud of our effort, but the USSR took all the germans had and had started to push them back long before any meaningful lend/lease aid started to arrive. Over 25,000,000 dead compared to 600,000 (total!) shows how the USA and GB played a supporting role. The Soviets did much more to the defeat of Germany, not the USA and GB.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pooch

      Thank you! D-Day was a tremendous achievement for the western allies, worthy of remembrance, but the media reporting and popular mythology almost always seem to try to enlarge it into something it wasn't. Anyone who thinks that the Eastern Front was a static front and strategic dead end should read up on Operation Bagration, which started in June 1944 and carried the Soviets 450 miles westward in eight weeks. The D-Day landings would not have been possible without the bulk of the German army fighting the Soviets.

      June 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • PCola Vet

      Dave what you fail to mention is out of those 25 mil the Russians lost, around 16 mil were CIVILIANS, and MOST murdered by their own Govt. What saved the Soviets, besides us jjoining the fray, was Hitler, who STUNK as a tactician, and also the winter. Russia wasn't able to have air superiority until the US/UK took care of that, and once D-Day happened, the Russians were then able to push Germany out of Russia. If we never took part in WW2, then not only would it have gone of much longer, but it would've given Germany a chance to make the Atom bomb, and also have COMPLETE air superiority over Europe with the ME-262. They only had a handful operational, but had 100's that were very close, and that would've been the death knell if they'd been able to get them all airborne.

      June 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    When WWII soldiers went overseas, everybody knew that some of them would die.
    At that point in America's era of greatness, the relatives of those soldiers did not hold up signs reading, "Bring Out Troops Home!"
    Nobody wailed about our "bombing the innocent."
    Many of those soldiers did not VOLUNTEER: they were drafted into service. They fought anyway, bravely.
    Oh boy–how our nation has gone down!

    June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They also fought against countries whom were a threat to their neighbors, stability and democracy. We are currently fighting 3 wars against countries that pose little threat to us and only one of whom actually supported attacks upon us. And even then we invaded and ignored Afganistan for years while we had a grudge war with Iraq.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Well for one thing they were fighting Hitler. They were not in some jungle in Vietnam or desert in Iraq fighting who knows how what who knows what reason.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Dave,
      Afghanistan supported attacks on us and protected the perpetrator. Iraq was certainly a "threat to its neighbors, stability and democracy" - they invaded Kuwait, threatened Saudi Arabia, and killed their own citizens to prevent democracy and superceded the limited democracy they had in Kuwait.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWiz71

      What Dave and Jason said. However, I wonder if youtube, t.v., and CNN were around then, would civilian populations have been as supportive of the Allied war effort? I would hope so, but who knows?

      June 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Big Bob

    Wow, CNN? Poop Lemonade makes it, but my reasoned remarks don't.

    YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

    June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • trigtwit...America's favorite tard baby

      ...drool...

      June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chuck Bauer

    Only on the Internet is such inane banter ripe. Today is the anniversary of D-Day. Let's all just agree that it is appropriate to honour those Allies who fought and celebrate the victory. Come on: we can all agree that the Allies needed to rid world of the Nazi regime. Let's not get all revisionist about such a basic truth.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. OhioToad

    read the article.....its says one of the most important battles...not the most important

    June 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I care.
    I care about our soldiers' sacrifices.
    After WWII, I cared when my uncles came home. They might have done so.
    I cared when our neighbor's son did not come home.
    I care now when citizens of America say it wasn't a great country in 1944, and I care when the First Lady of our country says that she is finally proud of this country.
    I care a lot.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cpw76

    Lets not forget what this is about, we hit the beach and never looked back! This is OUR DAY not Russia's!

    Thank You all who fought that day!

    June 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I also care that nobody writes Broadway musicals like SOUTH PACIFIC anymore because the style is too "operatic" and "elitist."
    I also care that our dollar is not worth what it used to be worth.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rose helen militello

    to CF,i care along with many,many others who grew up during the war.when i see a veteran i ALWAYS say THANK-YOU.so many young men and women lost their lives so that we could live free.there may be so many things wrong with our country and government but i'm grateful to be living here,to me it is the greatest country .thankyou to all the men and women past and present who fought and are fighting for my country.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Scratch

    These comparisons of D-Day to the Soviet's with Germany discount the fact the USSR initially conspired with Hitler to carve up Europe between them.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      Whilst it's true that the Soviets cooperated with Hitler and that the Red Army invaded Poland a mere two weeks after the Wehrmacht (nonetheless they became a part of the "Allies", isn't that ridiculous?), this topic has basically nothing to do with the question if D-Day was the most decisive battle of WW2 or not.

      June 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. note2cnn

    I was at two of the D-Day beaches, Omaha & Utah, a couple of years ago ... inspiring and overshelming.
    Amazing what the Allied forces did that day.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jacek

    The reason Soviets lost so many lives reflects Stalin's complete disregard for human lives. Red Army's soldiers were thrown with abandon at German gunfire, while their own officers' guns aimed at their backs.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MSR

    Everyone has an opinion on what battle was the most desicive. Everyone can say that if the Germans had done this or if the Americans had done that than everything would have been different. That is not the point of a day like today. On days like this we should reflect on a day in history that was pivotal for the entire world. It is a day we should reflect on the lives that were sacrificed in the name of freedom not only for ourselves, but for people of all the nations that were involved.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ray Pfeiffer

    The photo of the troops landing from the LCVP's or Higgins Boats were not from the Normandy landings. The one is from USS George Clymer (APA27) on which my father served. His ship was not in Normandy. The other Higgins Boat is from the Joseph Dickman (APA13) which was in fact in Normandy. However for the two landing craft to appear together, this commonly seen photo had to have been of the Okinawa landings.

    I am currently at the D-Day commemorations and would just like to correct this error.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • dude

      A million thanks to your father!

      June 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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