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On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.

Codenamed Operation 'Overlord', the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation.

Early on 6 June, Allied airborne forces parachuted into drop zones across northern France.

Ground troops then landed across five assault beaches - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

By the end of the day, the Allies had established a foothold along the coast and could begin their advance into France.

The defeat of Germany was acknowledged as the western Allies’ principal war aim as early as December 1941.

Lieutenant-General Frederick Morgan and his team of British, American and Canadian officers submitted plans for the invasion in July 1943.

Although limited planning for an invasion of Europe began soon after the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, detailed preparations for Operation 'Overlord' did not begin until after the Tehran Conference in late 1943. Eisenhower was formed in December 1943 to plan the naval, air and land operations.

Deception campaigns were developed to draw German attention - and strength - away from Normandy.

To build up resources for the invasion, British factories increased production and in the first half of 1944 approximately 9 million tonnes of supplies and equipment crossed the Atlantic from North America to Britain.

A substantial Canadian force had been building up in Britain since December 1939 and over 1.4 million American servicemen arrived during 19 to take part in the landings.

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