Many scholars have tried to explain the term “D-Day,” suggesting it stood for “decision day” or “disembarkation day,” but most likely it comes from the army’s use of the term to mean an “undefined day,” or the first day of any operation.
D-Day was originally scheduled for June 5, but the weather did not cooperate. The operation was pushed back to June 6, 1944.
The D-Day invasion involved 5,000 ships carrying men and vehicles across the English Channel as well as 800 planes dropping over 13,000 men in parachutes. A further 300 planes dropped bombs on German troops defending the beaches. Over 100,000 Allied troops made it to shore that day.
The most difficult landing of D-Day was at Omaha beach. Navigation problems resulted in many men drowning before they reached land. Omaha Beach also had the largest amount of German troops, and the fighting was fierce. It is the Omaha Beach battle that is reenacted in the opening of the movie Saving Private Ryan.
The success of D-Day was a death knell for the Germans. Hitler was forced to fight a two-front war against the Russians on the East and the Americans, British, Canadians, and French on the West. Within a year, Hitler committed suicide, and the war was over.