Date of Award

Summer 2002

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History - (M.A.)

Department

Federated Department of History

First Advisor

Karl W. Schweizer

Second Advisor

John Fousek

Third Advisor

Norman Tobias

Abstract

The American assault on the small strip of sand code-named Omaha Beach, has become one of the most longstanding examples of American military triumph. Yet, at the same time, it is an event synonymous with death and destruction. There, in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, over 3000 American soldiers either lost their lives or were wounded in an attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and an enemy force that was ready for their arrival.

The assault on Omaha was not one that had been briefly or incompletely planned. In fact, it was over a year in the making, and those who were responsible for the invasion felt that they had created some of the best and most precise plans to ensure a rapid envelopment of the beachfront and German defensive positions. Many factors had been included in their planning: the time of day, the tidal conditions, the German troops present at the time of the invasion, the need for dominance in the air, the need for armored forces that were able to swim ashore under their own power and the need for the largest naval armada that the World had ever seen. However, even with all of these factors taken into consideration, much of what was planned went wrong in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. Too much time had been spent focusing on what would go right, and not enough time was spent focusing on what could go wrong with the assault.

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