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Normandy Travel


The D-Day Invasion Sites (1)

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Map showing the location of the D-Day Invasion Beaches and other sites

D-Day Sites of  Interest








Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip

From Viator Tours




There is considerable discussion about the meaning of the term “D-Day”.  Some believe that it stood for “Disembarkment Day”.

The more generally accepted explanation is that the name simply followed a historical convention to indicate the date of military actions as “D-day”. 





The German fortifications were well protected by tons of concrete. The German outposts were well fortified and included rails to move guns and equipment

The Movie Saving Private Ryan helped increase world wide attention on the D-Day Invasion and on Omaha Beach in particular.  However, the  beach used to recreate  the "landing" scenes shown in the movie was located in southeastern Ireland


Les Plages du Débarquement (The Invasion Beaches)

The 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion will be observed in 2014.  There will be many celebrations and we urge you to consult Normandie Tourisme  for the dates and times of specific events.

The D-Day landings in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 were the central focus of the largest and most complicated invasion ever attempted. Most of the Allied Forces left the shores of Britain on June 5th in preparation of the landings in France.  While the German Army and Luftwaffe (air force) were expecting the attack, uncertainty concerning the location and timing of the invasion left them unprepared to battle a force the size of the Allied armies.  In addition, based on the distances between England and France, some in the German High Command felt the Allies would surely invade near Calais (see our map at bottom of page) and had deployed several army divisions in this area to repulse the presumed invasion.

Although the invasion beaches were secured by the end of the first day, the Battle of Normandy raged until mid-August.  After two and a half months of vicious fighting, the victory in Normandy marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

D-Day was part of Operation Overlord, the Allied Forces’ plan for the invasion of Northern Europe.  The action involved approximately: 5,000 vessels (landing craft, support ships and war ships), 13,000 aircraft, and 150,000 soldiers.  A complex infrastructure, including the supplies and equipment necessary to conduct war, was needed to support the invading forces before, during and after D-Day.  Consequently, establishing a beachhead including makeshift harbors was a top priority for the Allied Forces. 

On the eve of the beach landings, other forces were parachuted into the Normandy area. In addition, the German coastal defenses were bombarded from air and sea in an attempt to tilt the table in favor of the Allies.



The invasion beaches (arranged from west to east) are named:


These beaches, located  in the administrative départment of Calvados, are the focus of our “D-Day tour.  American forces landed at Utah and Omaha beaches.  British soldiers landed at Gold Beach and Sword Beach on each side of the Canadian force, which landed at Juno Beach. The most difficult and deadly invasion beach was Omaha, due in part to the fortified German defenses, the challenging topography of the area and confusion during the landing operations. 

For our recommended tour, we have chosen to highlight several of the major D-Day sites, but there are numerous others that are worthy of your attention.  The website of the Normandy Tourism Board provides an excellent overview of the museums and activities that can be visited during a Battle of Normandy tour.  In addition, the site provides a downloadable PDF that describes the major locations involved in the Battle of Normandy,  as well as  generalized maps representing the 8 itineraries known as the “Normandie Terre – Liberté” that link the major battlefields in Normandy. 

The Normandie Mémoire website provides a great deal of information on the Normandy Invasion and several eye-witness accounts of the battles.

If you want to conduct and in-depth examination of the Normandy Invasion, you should purchase a copy of the Holt's Invasion Battlefield Guide.  More recently Powers and Dennehy have published "The D-Day Assault: A 70th Anniversary Guide to the Normandy Landings." It is very current and well written.  You can find it for the Kindle (at a bargain price) or in paperback at Amazon.

There are also numerous companies that provide excellent and highly detailed guided tours focused on Normandy, D-Day and World War II.  References to a number of these companies can be found on the Normandy tourism sites mentioned above. 

For many visitors, touring the locations in our guide will provide a satisfying overview of the Battle of Normandy.

Continue to the next page of the guide to the Normandy Invasion featuring Caen - Le Memorial, Arromanches and Longues-sur-Mer.

Or use the menu to the right to select another location in Normandy.

If you are planning a trip to Normandy, be sure to visit the official website of the Normandy Tourist Board, as it is full of suggestions for discovering the area's hidden treasures

                       Click for the official website of the Normandy Tourist Board

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.

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A ranging station whose observers telephoned position coordinates back to the gunners. A fortified range finding station at Point du Hoc, supporting a potent artillery emplacement on the north end of Omaha Beach



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Map of  England and France Coastal Areas                                                               Top of Page

                                   Calais was closer to England than Normandy and the choice of Normandy for the invasion surprised the Germans

Although many in the German High Command expected an invasion near Calais based on the shorter distance between England and France at that location, the Allied Forces unexpectedly chose a more distant target and landed the invasion forces on the beaches of Normandy.


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