The Guardian

D-day: key facts on one of the most vital military operations ever attempted

How was the invasion of France kept secret, why is it called D-day, and what exactly was the plan?Live coverage of the D-day commemorations
US troops land on Omaha beach on D-day. Photograph: Reuters

What was D-day?

D-day was an invasion of France by allied forces as part of the process of ending the second world war in Europe. It was codenamed Operation Neptune, and it aimed to push Nazi Germany out of the occupied country.

Five beaches in northern France, codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, were the main targets for landing a large number of troops by sea.

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