On Saturday 13th July Bourne Hall Museum commemorated the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and Operation Epsom, also know as the battle of Odon, with WW2 re-enactors, displays of weapons, uniform, vehicles, music and dance from Surrey Jive
Codenamed Operation Overlord the Allied invasion of France happened on 6 June 1944 after five years of war with Germany. It was a seaborne invasion, the biggest one in history.
By dawn, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6.30am.
Thousands of ships set out from the south coast of England, in all over 6,000 vessels joined the attack. They were supported by over 11,000 planes. Throughout the day, some 156,000, British, American and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of Normandy.
The ‘D’ in D-Day does not stand for anything, it was just the initial the military used when planning the attack. Planning of the invasion was underway before the date it would take place was known. In order to organise things like when the troop ships should leave England the planners referred to it as D-Day.
Operation Epsom (also known as the battle of the Odon), took place at the end of June and was the first major British offensive to be launched after the D-Day landings.
The offensive was intended to outflank and seize the German-occupied city of Caen, an important Allied objective, in the early stages of Operation Overlord.
It was a successful attempt to force the Germans to concentrate their armoured units at the eastern end of the Normandy beachhead and to prevent Rommel from moving any of his panzer divisions west towards the American front, where preparations were underway for Operation Cobra, the main breakout from the beachhead.