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The Battle for Normandy (June 1944 - August 1944)

The Battle for Normandy (June 1944 - August 1944)

The Normandy landings were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, June 6th, 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 AM British Double Summer Time (UTC+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval.

The assault was conducted in two phases: an air assault landing of 24,000 American, British, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30 AM. There were also subsidiary 'attacks' mounted under the codenames Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract the German forces from the real landing areas.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion of all time, with over 175,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and materiel from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

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German Sd. Kfz. 4/1 Opel Maultier Nebelwerfer 42 Rocket Launcher
German Sd. Kfz. 4/1 Opel Maultier Nebelwerfer 42 Rocket Launcher (1:72 Scale)
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During the first winter in Russia it became evident that wheeled vehicles were unable to deal with the primitive ground conditions. A low cost solution was sought whereby Opel and Daimler-Benz could be converted to half-tracks.
German Sd. Kfz. 171 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf. G Medium Tank - #R02, 1.SS Panzer Division LSSAH, Normandy, France, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 171 PzKpfw V Panther Ausf. G Medium Tank - "#R02", 1.SS Panzer Division 'LSSAH', Normandy, France, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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In many respects, the Panther tank was viewed as the finest armored fighting vehicle of the Second World War. Based in large part upon the Soviet's highly successful T-34 medium tank, the PzKpfw V Ausfuhrung G was built by several manufacturers including MAN, Daimler-Benz and MNH.
British Morris Quad Gun Tractor with Limber and 25 Pounder Gun - Unidentifed Unit, Normandy, 1944
British Morris Quad Gun Tractor with Limber and 25 Pounder Gun - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The Morris Commercial C8 FAT (Field Artillery Tractor) commonly known as a Quad was an artillery tractor of the British and Commonwealth forces during World War II. It was used to tow medium artillery pieces, such as the 25 pounder gun-howitzer, and the 17 pounder anti-tank gun.

1942 Production US Army GMC CCKW 353 6x6 2-1/2 Ton Truck - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
1942 Production US Army GMC CCKW 353 6x6 2-1/2 Ton Truck - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The GMC 6x6 was built for the US Army as part of a standardization program begun in 1939, which allowed for only two of each type of vehicle to be considered, and emphasized commonality of parts and accessories wherever possible.

German Wurfkorper M F1 50 Stuka zu Fuss Halftrack with Rocket Launchers - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
German Wurfkorper M F1 50 Stuka zu Fuss Halftrack with Rocket Launchers - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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After the campaign in France in 1940, J. Gast KG. Berlin were ordered to develop a projector for the Wurfgerat 40, which would be fitted on the Mittlere Schutzenpanzerwagen. The resulting Stuka zu Fuss ("Stuka on foot") could be traversed by the driver and used against enemy troop or armored formations some distance away.
US M3A1 Half-Track - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
US M3A1 Half-Track - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The best known American half-tracks were the M series made as a standardized design by Autocar, Diamond T, International and White. The M series had a similar front end to the White M3A1 Scout Car but used more powerful engines: a 147bhp 6.3-liter White AX in the Autocar, Diamond T, and White, and a 143bhp 1HC in the International.
US M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
US M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The M4 Sherman medium tank was regarded by many as the workhorse of the US Army during World War II. In fact, virtually all of the Allied armies employed the Sherman in their armed forces, including the British, who developed an upgunned variant called the "Firefly".
German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 182 PzKpfw VI King Tiger Ausf. A Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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In January 1943, a new Tiger tank was ordered by the Waffenamt, this time with a turret large enough to mount the fearsome 8.8cm L/71 gun. Besides improving its tank killing capabilities, the new Tiger was also intended to be more survivable on the battlefield.
German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
German Sd. Kfz. 181 PzKpfw VI Tiger I Ausf. E Heavy Tank - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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The Ausf. E mounted a huge 8.8cm KwK36 L/56 cannon and featured two MG34 machine guns for close support against enemy infantry. By war's end, 1,354 vehicles had been produced, some rolling off the Wegmann assembly line.
US T1E3 Aunt Jemima Sherman Medium Tank with Mine Roller - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944
US T1E3 "Aunt Jemima" Sherman Medium Tank with Mine Roller - Unidentified Unit, Normandy, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
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One of the many hazards faced by both man and machine in WWII was the landmine. Various means were designed to counter it, and while none were more effective than clearing an area by sheer manpower, there were some mechanical devices designed to be fitted to the front of tanks that came into being. The US developed a mine clearing device known as the T1E3 exploder (a.k.a. "Aunt Jemima"), which was mated to the front of a standard Sherman tank.
   
 
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