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UK Troops Recreating ‘D-Day’ Airdrop In France Asked To Show Passports

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Over 300 British, Belgian and US paratroopers jumped from three A400 transport carrier aircraft over Normandy in France yesterday, recreating the ‘D-Day’ landings on its 80th Anniversary. Officials from French Customs asked the British paratroopers to show their passports, while the passports of American and Belgian troops were not checked.

On June 6, 1944, the largest air, land and naval invasion in history began to liberate Europe from the Nazi Germany. Over 1.5 million British, American, Canadian, Dutch, French, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers and officers were ready on the British coastline to take on the Germans.

The D-Day airdrop from yesterday commemorated those who fought in one of the most crucial battles in human history. Since Britain left the European Union, its citizens no longer have the right to move freely within the bloc and face stricter immigration checks.

Recreating a jump into Normandy D-Day zone 80 years later, British paratroopers face French customs.

They had their passports checked by French customs officers after they parachuted into a D-Day event.pic.twitter.com/4FjAFKxiCE

— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 6, 2024

While Belgium is a part of the EU, the move to check the passports of just British troops and not Americans made it seem unusual.

“It is something we haven’t experienced before,” Brigadier Mark Berry, Commander of British paratroopers’, was quoted by the Sun newspaper as saying.

“But given the royal welcome we have had from every other feature, it seems like a very small price to pay for coming to France,” he added.

On 80 years of the Normandy landings, also known as ‘D-Day’ landings, France hosted a high-profile event to commemorate the veterans and the fallen soldiers.

‘D-Day’

On June 23, 1940, Hitler stood in front of the Eiffel Tower for a picture which marked one of the most defining moments in history. France surrendered to the Germans and within six months, Belgium, Poland, Netherlands and France were taken over by the Nazi Blitzkrieg campaign.

After the Dunkirk evacuation of over 338,000 British and French troops in 1940, a limited-scale invasion was planned, but the detailed planning for ‘Operation Overlord’ began in the latter half of 1943 after the Tehran Conference.

The objective was to the ease pressure of the Soviet Union on the eastern front and open a new theatre for the Germans on the West. The two-pronged approach aimed to encircle the Nazis and cut off their supply lines. Five assault beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword were chosen for the landings. In the 1998 Tom Hanks starrer ‘Saving Private Ryan’, troops from the 2nd Ranger Battalion landed on the Omaha beach.

Shortly after midnight, over 18,000 Allied troops were airdropped over the assault to provide tactical support to infantry divisions on the beaches. The plan was conducted in two phases – An airborne assault and an amphibious operation. Over 11,000 aircraft took part in the operation and nearly 7,000 naval vessels, including battleships, destroyers, minesweepers, escorts and assault craft took part in Operation ‘Neptune’, the naval component of ‘Overlord’. Over 132,000 troops arrived on Naval vessels and a day-long battle helped take over the Normandy bridgehead.

The D-Day (June 6) was the beginning of the end of German rule over most of Europe. Operation Overland went on for almost three months, with Allied troops making inroads in the occupied areas. The operation ended with the liberation of France after four years of Nazi occupation.

A total of 4,415 Allied troops were killed on D-Day, including 2,501 Americans. Over 5,000 were wounded. Many survived to share the horrors of war they experienced on the frontlines.

In the ensuing Battle of Normandy, 73,000 Allied forces were killed and 153,000 wounded. The battle and especially the Allied bombings of French villages and cities killed around 20,000 French civilians.

 Over 300 British, Belgian and US paratroopers jumped from three A400 transport carrier aircraft over Normandy in France yesterday, recreating the ‘D-Day’ landings on its 80th Anniversary.    

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