Littleton Coin Company

Turning the Tides of WWII
Honoring the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

This year marks the 80th anniversary of one of history’s most renowned liberation efforts – Operation Overlord, more commonly known as D-Day.

In June of 1944, France had been occupied by Nazi Germany for four years.

Enter the mastermind: General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Named as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in December 1943, he became directly responsible for the campaign that would ultimately liberate France – and mark the definitive point in the war where the tides turned in the favor of the Allies.

By the numbers

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Codenamed Operation Overlord, the planned assault landed five naval divisions on the beaches of Normandy. It was an incredible feat, with some impressive numbers:

  • 7,000 – approximate number of ships and landing craft that delivered personnel to the beaches
  • 8 – Allied countries represented in the campaign
  • 150,000+ – troops that arrived on the shores of Normandy on D-Day
  • 5 – codenames of the individual beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword • 148,000 – vehicles that had been delivered to Normandy by the end of June

Timing was everything

The invasion was scheduled for launch on June 5. Only one thing could stand in its way… the weather. As the countdown began on the 4th, conditions deteriorated to the point that it seemed a delay was in order. Facing uncertainty, Eisenhower glimpsed a window of opportunity in the forecast – and made the call. D-Day was on for June 6.

Several initial landing spots were considered and discarded due to the levels of fortification that had been established along the shore lines. Knowing that an attack would be coming – but not from where – Hitler had tasked Erwin Rommel with inspecting and completing 2,400 miles of fortifications. Called the “Atlantic Wall,” this was intended to defend the Nazi-occupied European coast from a western Allied invasion.

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Crossing the channel

The campaign was executed in two main phases. Operation Neptune saw naval forces numbering in the tens of thousands move across the English Channel to land on the beaches. Operation Overlord was the codename for the full scale invasion, which ultimately led to the liberation of France.

The battle was, of course, successful. And less than a year later, VE-Day proclaimed Victory in Europe! Collectible coins, paper money and stamps make outstanding ways to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Do you have any special WWII memorabilia in your collection? I’d love to hear from you with what you have, and what it means to you.

This article was written by Kierstin S.

Since 2000, Kierstin has enjoyed sharing her love of collecting with folks like you.

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