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Gold Beach I (Overlay)

An aerial reconnaissance picture of Gold Beach during D-Day.

Gold Beach was the Allied codename for the centre invasion beach during the World War II Allied invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. It lay between Omaha Beach and Juno Beach, was 8km wide and divided into four sectors. From West to East they were How, Item, Jig, and King.

The grim task of invading Gold Beach was given to the British 50th (Northumbrian) Division, the 2nd Army under Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey and their supporting units. Their primary objective was to seize the town of Bayeux, the Caen-Bayeux road, and the port of Arromanches with the secondary objectives being to make contact with the Americans landing at Omaha Beach to the West and the Canadians landing at Juno Beach to the East. The German 716th Division and elements of the 1st Battalion of the 352nd Division defended the Channel coast for the Germans.

H-Hour for the Gold beach landing was set for 0725 and Heavy initial resistance was reported. However after the British broke through the German lines casualties began to drop off leaving the final toll of 500, mercifully fewer than those suffered at the bloody Omaha Beach.

By midnight on the evening of June 6th, 1944 the British forces had landed almost 25,000 men on Gold Beach, and had penetrated six miles into occupied France. They fulfilled one of their secondary objectives by meeting up with the Canadians who had landed at Juno Beach but failed in their primary objective of reaching the Caen-Bayeux road and in their secondary objective of meeting the Americans from Omaha Beach. However they had established a foothold into fortress Europa that would ultimately be a stepping stone to victory.