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Extra resources for D-Day: Operation Overlord and the Battle for Normandy

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It was to be a painfully slow overnight crossing in readiness for the early morning attack on June 6. The invasion fleet was vast. Eight different navies supplied a total of 6939 vessels. Warships accounted for 1213 of these, 4126 were transports, including landing craft, there were 864 merchant craft and 736 ancillary vessels. The majority of vessels of all types were British since much of the US Navy was engaged in the Pacific. Many of the soldiers and sailors of this unprecedented armada had already been on board their vessels for two days and while Forces S, J and G set off at 9am on June 5 from the congested Solent, Forces U and O carrying the American troops and equipment did not get going until 4pm.

The team’s Royal Engineers found that the bridges had been wired for demolition but the explosives had not been fitted. Now, surrounded by German forces on both sides of the bridge, it was a case of hanging on long enough for reinforcements to arrive from the 7th Parachute Battalion. 52am the main parachute assault began. Only a quarter of the 7th reached their rally point on time. About 100 men led by Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Pine-Coffin gathered but without their radio equipment, Bren guns or mortars, all of which had been lost during the drop.

Also used were the Consolidated B-24 Liberator and B-25 Mitchell – the latter mostly by the RAF. Britain took delivery of around 900 examples in 1943. The Martin B-26 Marauder, primarily in B26B form, was used by both the Americans and the British. III, and the Avro Lancaster B II for bombing. II cannon, 8 x RP-3 unguided air-toground rockets or 2 x 500lb or 2 x 1000lb bombs The GreaT Panjandrum After Dieppe the Allies had a fair idea of the sort of defences they would be facing wherever they landed on the French coast.

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