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Why did the allies launch operation overlord? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why did the allies launch operation overlord?. The aim of the lesson is to help you understand the events that lead to the allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. Hint - Who were Britains Allies?. Importance of France. Hint - Where is Germany ?. Hint - What is the nearest country to Britain?.

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Why did the allies

launch operation


The aim of the lesson is to help you understand the events that lead to the allied invasion of Normandy in 1944.


Hint - Who were Britains Allies?

Importance of France

Hint - Where is Germany ?

Hint - What is the nearest country to Britain?


Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front by invading German occupied France. This he calculated would force the Germans to withdraw troops from the war against Russia to deal with the British and Americans in France. Stalin had expected the invasion of France to take place in 1943 but Churchill insisted that the attack be postponed for a year. Churchill told Stalin that an invasion of Italy had to come first. This, he claimed, would force the Germans to draw troops way from France to defend Italy. This would make an attack on France later less difficult.


The War at Sea

As Britain was an island, it was unable to produce enough food and raw materials by herself in order to defeat Nazi Germany. Therefore, vital supplies were shipped in from America. Cutting these supplies and starving Britain into giving up, were Germany’s main priorities.

The U boats adopted a policy of sink at sight. This meant that they would destroy anything everything, which they suspected would bring supplies into Britain. The Royal Navy was employed to try and protect British ships. All merchant ships had to travel in groups and warships protected them. However, the U boats were so successful that they were able to sink more ships than could be rebuilt in time.

  • By 1943 the allies were able to overcome the German Resistance.
  • The allies set up bases in Iceland and Newfoundland. This meant that the convoys had protection across all the Atlantic.
  • Advanced technology meant that it was possible after 1943 to identify where German U boats could be found. This meant planes could be deployed to help sink them.
  • The introduction of the ‘Frigate’ a small, fast ship that could leave the convoy and hunt down the U boat.
  • Armed merchant ships were fitted with hurricane fighters. They could be catapulted from the ship.

Convoy leaving port

U - boat spots ships

Convoy waiting

Warships protecting ships

Sinking merchant ship


The War in the Air

Hitler had expected that the fall of France would cause Great Britain to surrender. Hitler carried out mass air attacks against England from August 1940. Hundreds of planes swarmed across the channel from France and and bombed Britain relentlessly. However, the Germans underestimated the strength of the air force. During the battle of Britain, the Royal Air force destroyed German bombers at a crippling rate. The Battle of Britain was one of the most important battles of the war. Never again did Hitler seriously consider invading Great Britain.

Also by 1943, the allies were producing enough planes to carry the air war into the heart of Germany. The mass bombing of targets deep in enemy territory was called strategic bombing. It had been introduced by the Germans early in the war. Now the Allies turned the strategy against the Nazis.


North Africa

In October 1942, the British attacked the German Afrikan Korps. The Germans were defeated and the British pushed them back. When later that month the Americans landed in Algeria and Morocco, the Germans were trapped. In May 1943, they surrendered. The Germans had failed to seize the Suez Canal and the crucial oil fields beyond it, that was desperately needed to fuel the war.

The Allied Invasion of Italy

As the allies advanced towards Italy, Mussolini was sacked and the new government made peace with the allies and declared war against Germany. However the Italian government only controlled Southern Italy, the Germans still controlled the North. Although the German army was exhausted in the east, Hitler sent troops to fight the allies in S Italy. It took until the end of the war for the allies to push the Germans completely out of Italy, but it was crucial in keeping German troops occupied when they were needed to resist Russia.