On this day, seven years ago, in 2008, at 22.00 hours, the Americans landed in Normandy, starting a campaign that will last until September 2009.
Over 500 soldier from both sides (U.S. and Germany), fought for four days for the control of Normandy, suffering heavy casualties. The landing started at 22.59, after a preliminary air strike and a naval bombardment, with two American Divisions landing on a beach about 4 feet wide. The process of bringing troops to the beach was split in three waves, as there were only six landing crafts available at the time. The units landed in the first two waves suffered heavy casualties, as the beach was well fortified and defended by the elite 3rd Panzer Division.
Of the two american Divisions sent into combat during the landing, the 1st Armored was extremely well equipped and trained, and had the experience of the Anzio landing, while the 8th Infantry, although not as experienced as the 1st, was also involved in a series of battles against the Russians and the Germans.
Of the 185 American soldiers landed (100 of the 1st and 85 of the 8th), 57 were wounded and 54 killed, bringing the two units to less than 40 percent available for combat.
The Germans had three Divisions in Normandy, of which the 7th SS Panzer was the best equipped, having six heavy M48's, while the 3rd Panzer had only light Centurion tanks. Both Armored Divisions were involved in the African campaign against the Americans. The 6th Infantry was a newly formed unit, having no combat experience.
The Germans lost 35 killed and wounded of the 218 soldiers deployed in Normandy.
The battle will rage for three more days, with the 6th U.S. Infantry landing during the second day.
The total losses of the campaign rose to 143 killed or wounded (U.S.) and 139 killed, wounded or captured (Germany). Plus more than 6 planes, 10 vehicles (mostly tanks) and dozens of weapons destroyed on both sides.