D–Day: leaders gather to commemorate 75th anniversary of landings
World leaders have gathered in the United Kingdom to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings.
Among those gathered yesterday at Portsmouth on the United Kingdom’s southern coast were Queen Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Donald Trump, concluding his state visit to the UK.
A second day of commemoration will be held today, the date of the landings, beginning with the unveiling of a memorial to honour the British troops who died during the Battle of Normandy, followed by a cathedral service in Bayeux.
President Macron will accompany President Trump at an event at the US war cemetery at Omaha Beach.
D-Day was the beginning of the liberation of German-occupied western Europe and was the largest military operation ever attempted.
In the early morning of 6 June 1944, British and American airborne troops were deployed to capture key strategic targets in Normandy, France.
Under cover of naval bombardment, 156,000 troops and 10,000 vehicles were deployed using 7,000 ships and landing craft to five beaches on the Normandy coast: British troops at Gold and Sword beaches, American troops at Utah and Omaha beaches, and Canadian troops at Juno beach.
Up to 4,400 allied troops died on 6 June alone, but by midnight all beachheads were secure, and troops at all beaches except Omaha, where significant American losses were incurred, had begun to push inland.
By September 1944, allied troops had liberated Paris, but with about 10% of the two million troops deployed to France dead, wounded or missing.
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