D-Day: 5 facts to know

“You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you,” Gen. Dwight D.
Eisenhower said to the troops before heading off to Normandy beach for
what is known as the D-Day invasion. “I have full confidence in your
courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle.”

June 6, 1944, marked the first day of the the Normandy landings, code
named Operation Neptune, where the allies invaded Normandy Beach in
Operation Overlord during World War II. While this day will forever be
marked in history, there are a few facts that go unnoticed. 

1. The D in D-Day has no special meaning. According to PBS, The
U.S. Army began using the codes “H-hour” and “D-day” during World War I
to indicate the time or date of an operation’s start. Planners would
write of events planned to occur on “H-hour” or “D-day” before the date
and time was decided to keep the plans a secret, thus the D simply
stands for the day of the invasion. 

2. Those with knowledge of D-Day were code named BIGOT. In
September 1943, it was decided that all personnel granted access to top
secret documents should be given an ID card stamped with a single word,
BIGOT, according to BBC. Officers assumed no one would want to brag about being classified a bigot. 

3. D-Day by the numbers. The Allied Forces sent a
5000-vessel armada that transported  over 150,000 troops and nearly
30,000 vehicles across the English Channel to the French beaches. The
forces also included six parachute regiments with over 13,000
paratroopers flown in over 800 planes. 

4. D-Day was meant for June 5. Eisenhower initially
selected June 5, 1944, as the date for the invasion; however, bad
weather caused it to be delayed for 24 hours, according to the History Channel. After his meteorologist predicted improved conditions for the following day, he gave the go-ahead. 

5. A double-agent may have led the allies to victory. Juan
Pujol, born in Barcelona, Spain, reportedly started his military career
by fighting in the Spanish Civil War. He claimed he fought for both
sides, without ever firing a single bullet. According to the MI5 website,
Pujol emerged from that experience with a dislike for totalitarianism
and Nazism. WWII convinced him that he should make a contribution, as he
put in his 1985 autobiography, “to the good of humanity.”

Pujol worked for the British forces by providing the Germans with
misinformation on troop force and movement in the run-up to D-Day.
According to the BBC, it was later discovered that Pujol had encouraged
the Germans to over-estimate the number of Allied divisions by 50