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Canada and World War 2

D-Day, 1944
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The long-awaited invasion of Europe began with three simple words by General Eisenhower, commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces, "Ok, we'll go!" Since the Dieppe Raid disaster, the Allied forces had been carefully planning for this day. The Normandy beaches had been selected as the place of invasion.

A huge army gathered in the south of England. 1.25 million American soldiers were there, along with a similar amount of British forces, 30 000 Canadians, 4000 landing craft, 700 ships, and 11 000 planes.

normandy.jpg
Troops land on the beaches of Normandy

D-Day (Day of Deliverance) was scheduled for the 5th of June 1944, but the invasion was postponed due to bad weather. At 2:00 a.m on the 6th of June, paratroopers landed to protect the landing forces. Exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes later, bombers began to pound the German defences. At 5:30 a.m, the air raids and warships began to fire. Afterwards, at exactly 6:30 a.m, the first wave of Canadian, British, and American forces landed on the beaches.

This was the largest Canadian military operation. Paratroopers landed behind enemy lines. 14 000 soldiers were scheduled to land on the beaches. The RCN had 100 ships with 10 000 soldiers. The RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) flew overhead with 36 bomber squads.

Canadian soldiers landed at Juno beach. They had to struggle through the water which had underwater obstacles, land mines, barbed wire, and, of course, the machine-gun fire from the Germans. By the end of the day though, they had met their goal. They were the only Allied force to do so. The Canadians suffered 335 deaths and 739 casualties.

Within one week, 300 000 Allied troops were on land. In a month, 200 000 Allied troops had landed with military vehicles! Even though the Nazis fought hard, Hitler now faced the fact that he was dealing with war on two fronts, the east and west.

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Created by Sarah Lucas. Final History Assignment 2005-2006.