World War II: How D-Day almost failed | DW Documentary

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"Operation Overlord” is recorded for posterity as a success story. But due to inconsistencies, logistical problems and capricious weather conditions, the Allied offensive against Hitler’s army was very nearly a fiasco.

"Operation Overlord” is often retrospectively regarded as a heroic achievement: the biggest combined sea, air and land operation in the history of World War II. But was the military action really so successful?

As early as 1943, the Allies had already agreed to conduct a gigantic offensive in western Europe aimed at crushing the enemy once and for all. Despite a tight schedule and many obstacles, the Normandy landings were given the green light. But due to differences of opinion over planning, a lack of boats and soldiers, inadequate preparation and bad weather, the military operation had to be postponed several times.

Eventually, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in the early hours of 6 June 1944 - a day recorded in the history books as D-Day. Taken by surprise, the Germans were overwhelmed. But although the first phase of the operation passed off without major Allied losses, the Omaha Beach landings soon turned into a disaster. Despite leadership errors and fewer men, the German army displayed unexpected combative spirit. Logistics were also hampered by the poor weather conditions and the arrival of reinforcements was delayed. Despite their material and numerical superiority, the Allies suffered heavy losses and it took them more than two months to break through the German defense.

Hopes that "Operation Overlord” would deal the enemy a fatal blow were not realized and the war dragged on. But in the end, all the operation’s failings were forgotten in the triumphant liberation of Paris. A film that uncovers the historical context and background of "Operation Overlord”.

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