Walter Bedell Smith, an American, continued as Eisenhower’s chief of staff, but his other principal subordinates were British: Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder as his deputy, Admiral Bertram Ramsay as naval commander, and Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory as head of the expeditionary air forces.
It also retained its foothold on the coast of North Africa, acquired when it had gone to the aid of its Italian ally in 1941.S., two British, and one Canadian—assigned to beaches code-named (from west to east) Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. First Army under Major General Omar Bradley, the British and Canadians the British Second Army under General Miles Dempsey. Meanwhile, intensive logistics preparations organized by Lieutenant General J. Luftwaffe (the German air force) was able to deploy fewer than 400 on D-Day.On D-Day (the projected first day of the invasion), two American airborne divisions were to land behind the western end of the assault area and one British at the eastern, while amphibious armour was to swim ashore with the leading waves. The British divisions had been under intensive training since 1942, the U. Between April 1 and June 5, 1944, the British and American strategic air forces deployed 11,000 aircraft, flew 200,000 sorties, and dropped 195,000 tons of bombs on French rail centres and road networks as well as German airfields, radar installations, military bases, and coastal artillery batteries.Two thousand Allied aircraft were lost in these preliminaries, but the air campaign succeeded in breaking all the bridges across the Seine and Loire rivers and thus isolating the invasion area from the rest of France.The Luftwaffe staff was forced to concede that “the outstanding factor both before and during the invasion was the overwhelming air superiority of the enemy.” The air campaign was designed not only to disrupt German anti-invasion preparations but also to serve as a deception operation.The Nazi war economy, though overshadowed by the growing power of America’s, outmatched both that of Britain and that of the Soviet Union except in the key areas of tank and aircraft production. Nevertheless, Britain had begun to prepare theoretical plans for a return to the continental mainland soon after the retreat from Dunkirk, France, in 1940, and the Americans, immediately after Hitler declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941, had started to frame their own timetable.Without direct intervention by the western Allies on the Continent—an intervention that would centre on the commitment of a large American army—Hitler could count on prolonging his military dominance for years to come. Less inhibited than the British by perceived technical difficulties, the Americans pressed from the start for an early invasion—desirably in 1943, perhaps even in 1942. Marshall, Roosevelt’s chief of staff, appointed a protégé, Swiftly convincing himself that the priority of “Germany first” agreed to by Roosevelt and Churchill in the Atlantic Charter was correct, Eisenhower framed proposals for a 1943 invasion (Operation Roundup) and another for 1942 (Operation Sledgehammer) in the event of a Russian collapse or a sudden weakening of Germany’s position.As army group commander, Rommel officially reported to the longer-serving Commander in Chief West Gerd von Rundstedt, though the entire structure was locked into a rigid chain of command that deferred many operational decisions to the Führer himself.Bernard Law Montgomery, Rommel’s desert opponent in North Africa, was nominated, under Eisenhower, as commander of the ground invasion forces.S., British, and Canadian forces on five separate beachheads in Normandy, France.By the end of August 1944 all of northern France was liberated, and the invading forces reorganized for the drive into Germany, where they would eventually meet with Soviet forces advancing from the east to bring an end to the Nazi Reich.