Both the Allied and Axis leaders understood the importance of an invasion of northern France as a springboard to the invasion of Germany in World War 2 (1939-1945). German leader Adolf Hitler prepared his 'Atlantic Wall' to counter such thought with the focus being primarily Calais. However, the Allies undertook a grand campaign of deception prior to launching the largest amphibious operation to this point in the war and would achieve complete surprise in the process. Operation Overlord commenced on June 6th, 1944 and would forever be remembered as 'D-Day' - a crucial assault that, if successful, would change the course of the war and open up a third front against Germany and its supporting nations.
In many ways, the success of all future Allied efforts in the conflict across the European mainland would hinge on the events of that morning on the beaches of northern France and in the pivotal days that lay beyond during the "Normandy Breakout". Due to the courage of individuals and entire formations, crews flying overhead and gunners manning offshore warships, the much-needed beachhead would become established and provide the critical supply point for which to fuel all future Allied actions into France, the Low Countries and, ultimately, Germany itself. The war in Europe would be over by May of the following year with the suicide of Hitler and the subsequent German surrender to the Allies.