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Monday Marks the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day Invasion

Allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during a landing in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.

Monday marks the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day Invasion by Allied forces along a 50-mile stretch of the coast of France that helped defeat the Nazis in World War II.

About 160,000 Allied troops parachuted or waded onto the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, in what was the largest sea assault in military history. Though about 4,500 died by the end of the day, the operation eventually led to an Allied victory across Europe.

More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion.

The invasion began shortly after midnight, with a perilous airborne operation led by paratroopers of the "Screaming Eagles'' 101st Airborne and the 82nd Airborne divisions. At dawn, thousands of Allied troops leaped out of landing craft to storm the beaches under ferocious German defensive fire.

U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then the supreme commander of Allied forces across Western Europe, called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

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