The conquered countries on the continent would suffer greatly under a harsh occupation in the years that followed.
An Allied raid on the French coast at Dieppe in August 1942 would result in heavy losses, especially for Canadian troops, but the Allies would slowly turn the tide against the powerful enemy war machine in North Africa, Italy, on the Eastern Front, in the skies over Europe and on the Atlantic Ocean.
Canadian troops battled forward despite desperate struggles at places like Verrières Ridge, which our soldiers helped capture only after multiple bloody attempts had cost many hundreds of lives, with even more being wounded.
With an American breakout against weakening German troops in western Normandy coming in early August, the stiff enemy defenses in France finally began to collapse.
Germany invaded much of Western Europe in the spring of 1940, during the opening months of the Second World War.
A narrow stretch of sea, the English Channel, was all that separated the surging enemy forces from Great Britain, but the island nation held firm.
There were five landing zones assigned to the forces of different nations: Juno Beach (Canada); Gold Beach (United Kingdom); Sword Beach (United Kingdom and France); and Utah Beach and Omaha Beach (United States).
Some 7,000 naval vessels of all types, including 284 major combat ships, took part in Operation (as the sea-borne assault phase of the D-Day offensive was codenamed).
Planning and preparation for this immense undertaking, codenamed Operation , began more than a year earlier.
Land, sea and air forces trained extensively and the necessary troops, ships, tanks, supplies and other equipment were steadily amassed.