[June 6, 2018] There are very few men alive today who participated in the largest amphibious invasion in human history. D-Day, June 6, 1944, was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany; a day that will live in the chronicles of truly great human endeavors.
Operation Overlord, what we informally call D-Day, surprised everyone on its success despite heavy casualties suffered by Allied and Axis military forces as well as civilians living in the area. What most people don’t know about D-Day, and one of the primary reasons it succeeded, was that its classification was BIGOT.
During WWII, Classification BIGOT was more secret than Top Secret and included an actual list of those few who are allowed access to the planning. I can tell you from personal experience that keeping anything in the military secret for a long time exceptionally difficult and frequently fails. The invasion of France by the Allies was coming and the Germans knew it. But what they didn’t know was when or where the landings would occur.
The planning began in 1943 and involved a deep deception plan (Operation Bodyguard) and a myriad of military and civilian actions that were designed to mislead and distort actual invasion goals. The secrecy and deception worked when the actual invasion began, the Germans were taken by tactical and strategic surprise.
D-Day was a success but what good leaders do is they study what went right and what went wrong in its planning and execution. For example, none of the Allies goals were achieved on June 6th and the breakout and destruction of the German military was slower than expected. Casualties were high but not as much as planners had predicted.
There is much we can learn from the invasion. What we should consider is that leaders took a concept (to destroy the Nazi war-machine by an attack beginning in France) and turned it into a strategy that won the war and an unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers.
You can read more about it in a few of my earlier blog articles on D-Day, below:
- D-Day: Let’s Not be Blind to History – https://www.theleadermaker.com/d-day-lets-not-blind-history/
- D-Day: Before the Invasion – https://www.theleadermaker.com/d-day-before-the-invasion/
- D-Day: June 6, 1944 [Leadership Lessons] – https://www.theleadermaker.com/d-day-june-6-1944-leadership-lessons/
- D-Day: June 6, 1944 [The Landings] – https://www.theleadermaker.com/d-day-june-6-1944-the-landings/
- D-Day: June 6, 1944 [Famous Photographs] – https://www.theleadermaker.com/d-day-june-6-1944-famous-photographs/