The Forces Involved

Military

A single division formed the initial assault force on each beach, reinforced by “special service” units (Commandos or Rangers). The flanks were secured by pre-dawn landings by 6th (British) and 82nd and 101st (US) Airborne Divisions.

Numbers of Men for Each Beach:

I (Br) Corps

“Sword”  3rd (Br.) Division (8th, 9th and 185th Bdes), plus 41 & 45 (RM),              28,845
Free French and No.3, 4 & 6 (Army) Commandos, 27th Armd Bde

“Juno” 3rd (Canadian) Division (7th,8th and 9th Canadian Bdes), plus 48 (RM)    21,400
Commando, 2nd Canadian Armd Bde’

XXX (Br) Corps

“Gold” 50th (Br) Division (56th, 69th, 151st and 231st Bdes), plus 47 RM             24,970
Commando & 8th Armd Bde

Sub-Total: 75,215

VII (US) Corps

“Omaha” 1st (US) Division (16th, 18th, 26th, 115th and 116th Regimental         34,350
Combat Teams), plus 2nd and 5th Ranger Bns

V (US) Corps

“Utah” 4th (US) Division (8th, 22nd, 12th, 359th (from 90th 23,250 Division)      23,250
Inf and 70th Tank Regt) plus Rangers

Total: 132,815


Air Forces

According to information available to NHB, the total number of Allied air force aircraft available in the UK for offensive operations (ie exclusive of UK defence tasks and maritime duties) was as follows:

                                                          RAF Commands               USAAF Commands

Heavy bombers                                                       870                                      1,320
Escort fighters                                                             –                                          720
Tactical bombers                                                     216                                         528
Tactical and air superiority fighters                      924                                      1,008
Night fighters                                                           264                                            30
Total                                                                       2,274                                       3,612

Maritime (443 aircraft).

Strike                8 squadrons (RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF)
ASW patrol       20 squadrons (RAF, RAAF, RCAF, Polish, Czech, USN)
Inshore patrol    8 Squadrons (all RN)
Fighter             3 squadrons (all RAF)


Allied Naval Forces

1,212 Allied warships, 4,125 amphibious craft, 735 ancillary craft and 864 merchant ships were allocated to Operation NEPTUNE, in addition to 200 naval aircraft. The majority of the warships served under the Allied Naval Commander Naval Expeditionary Force, allocated to either the Eastern or Western Task Forces (ETF/WTF).

RN                                               Canada        US       France        Poland          Norway      Neth.
3     Escort Carriers
4     Battleships                                                   3               1 (expended as blockship)
17   Cruisers                                                        3               2                     1
2    Monitors/Gunboats                                                                                                                    2
62   *Destroyers                                  14         34               1                     2                    2
22   ‘Hunt’-class                                                                    1                     2                    1
82   *Frigates, Sloops & DEs              11           6              4
42   **Corvettes                                  19                            3                                            3              2
76   Fleet M/S 11 11
33   Coastal M/S                                                18               5
126  MTBs, etc                                    17          33               8                                                          13
140 Motor Launches, etc                                78                                                                             3

* includes 52 Western Approaches escort destroyers and frigates on ASW barrier
** plus 2 Royal Hellenic Navy and 2 Belgian-manned Royal Navy corvettes