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             When on D-Day-June 6, 1944-Allied armies landed in Normandy on .
             the northwestern coast of France, possibly the one most critical event .
             of World War II unfolded; for upon the outcome of the invasion hung .
             the fate of Europe. If the invasion failed, the United States might .
             turn its full attention to the enemy in the Pacific-Japan-leaving .
             Britain alone, with most of its resources spent in mounting the .
             invasion. That would enable Nazi Germany to muster all its strength .
             against the Soviet Union. By the time American forces returned to .
             Europe-if indeed, they ever returned-Germany might be master of the .
             entire continent.
             Although fewer Allied ground troops went ashore on D-Day than .
             on the first day of the earlier invasion of Sicily, the invasion of.
             Normandy was in total history's greatest amphibious operation, .
             involving on the first day 5,000 ships, the largest armada ever.
             assembled; 11,000 aircraft (following months of preliminary .
             bombardment); and approximately 154,000 British, Canadian and.
             American soldiers, including 23,000 arriving by parachute and glider. .
             The invasion also involved a long-range deception plan on a scale the .
             world had never before seen and the clandestine operations of tens of .
             thousands of Allied resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied countries of .
             western Europe.
             American General Dwight D. Eisenhower was named supreme .
             commander for the allies in Europe. British General, Sir Frederick .
             Morgan, established a combined American-British headquarters known as .
             COSSAC, for Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander. COSSAC .
             developed a number of plans for the Allies, most notable was that of .
             Operation Overlord, a full scale invasion of France across the English .
             Channel. .
             Eisenhower felt that COSSAC's plan was a sound operation. .
             After reviewing the disastrous hit-and-run raid in 1942 in Dieppe,.
             planners decided that the strength of German defenses required not a .

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