World War II: Fall of the Third Reich
World War II in Europe from Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin (20 June 1944)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
Despite Allied successes, Western Europe had remained firmly under German control since 1940. By June 1944 the Americans and British were ready to change this, landing 45 000 troops in northern France. The Second Front that Stalin had been demanding since the launch of Barbarossa was open.
Germany occupies Hungary
Soviets enter Romania
Allies enter Rome
After extensive aerial and naval bombardment, including the landing of 24,000 airborne troops, 156,000 US, British, and other Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, German-occupied France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. The landings began at 06:30 and met heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, along with numerous mines and obstacles. Over the day, the Allies suffered at least 10,000 casualties vs about 1,000 for the Germans, but secured their beachhead.
Supported by an aerial and artillery assault beginning on 9 June 1944, the Soviet Leningrad Front launched an all-out offensive on Finnish defensive lines near Leningrad. Overwhelming the Finns, the Soviets pushed forward to capture Vyborg on 20 June.