D-Day took place on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 and was the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. Today, the sites are a key visitor attraction for those wanting to pay their respects.
Five strategic beachheads were established in Normandy across a 50 mile (80km) stretch of coastline. The five sectors were codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Utah and Omaha beaches were under American leadership, Canadian forces tacked Juno Beach while British troops landed on Gold and Sword beaches.
There were three main phases to D-Day.
- the air landings that focussed on Utah Beach in the west and Sword Beach to the east
- the air and naval bombardments of the Atlantic Wall
- the seaborne landings across the five beaches which was codenamed Operation Neptune.
The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment together with an airborne assault of 24,000 troops. La Pointe du Hoc between Utah and Omaha beaches also saw fierce fighting as the Allied forces scaled the cliffs before making their way inland.
German casualties on D-Day alone have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.
As well as the beaches Normandy hosts many visitors each year to the museums, memorials, strategic sites and war cemeteries.
Utah Beach and Sainte-Mère-Église
- Utah Beach and various sculptures/memorials
- D-Day Landing Museum (Musée du Débarquement Utah Beach)
- Airborne Museum
- D-Day Experience and Dead Man’s Corner Museums
- Normandy Victory Museum
- Azeville Gun Battery
- US Assualt Landing Craft (Higgins boat) at Carentan
- 1944 Historic Tour of Carentan
- Écausseville Airship Hanger
- The Fort of Tatihou
- Marcouf 44 Command Post
- Crisbecq Gune Battery Museum
- WW2 Museum at Quinéville
- Sainte-Mère-Église Open Air Museum (self guided tour)
- German military cemetery at Orglandes
- Sainte-Mère-Église church and effigy of John Steele
Visit the Sword Beach article for more information.
Omaha Beach and La Pointe du Hoc
- Overlord Museum Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer
- La Pointe du Hoc site and Visitor Centre
- Big Red One Assault Museum Colleville-sur-Mer
- Normandy American Cemetery and Visitor Centre at Colleville-sur-Mer
- Maisy Gun Battery at Grandcamp-Maisy
- Liberation House at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
- Omaha Beach Memorial Museum (Musée Memorial d’Omaha Beach) at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
- The Omaha D-Day Museum (Musée D-Day Omaha) at Vierville-sur-Mer
- La Cambe German military cemetery
- Les Braves sculpture and memorial at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
- The Peace statue at Grandcamp-Maisy
- Arromanches 360 circular cinema
- Arromanches Landings Museum (Musée du Débarquement)
- Longues-sur-Mer German gun battery
- America Gold Beach Museum (Musée America Gold Beach) at Ver-sur-Mer
- Museum of Undersea Wrecks at – Port-en-Bessin-Huppain
- Ryes, Bazenville war cemetery
- D-Day 75 garden
- British Normandy Memorial
- Juno Beach Centre at Courseulles-sur-Mer
- Bény-sur-Mer Canadian war cemetery
- Pegasus Bridge and Memorial at Ranville
- Merville Gun Battery Museum Museum at Merville-Franceville
- Hillman Strongpoint at Colleville-Montgomery
- 1944 Radar Museum at Douvres-La-Déliverande
- No. 4 Commando Museum at Ouistreham
- Atlantic Wall Museum at Ouistreham
- Commonwealth war cemeteries at Douvres-La-Déliverande, Hermanville and Ranville
For More Information
You can read more about each beach by visiting the relevant article.
In addition, this web page lists D-Day sites including WW2 museums, WW2 cemeteries, WW2 sites, historic sites, monuments and places of remembrance.