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Operation Neptune

Page Created
November 8th, 2023
Last Updated
December 17th, 2023
World War 2 Allied Countries
Operational Areas
Special Air Service
6th Airborne Division
Band Beach
Sword Beach
Gold Beach
Juno Beach
Omaha Beach
Utah Beach
82nd Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
Related Operations
Operation Gambit
Operation Neptune
Operation Perch
Operation Cobra
Operation Epsom
Operation Charnwood
Operation Atlantic Operation Goodwood
Operation Bluecoat
Operation Totalize
June 4th, 1944 – July 3rd, 1944
Operation Neptune
  • To execute an operation from the United Kingdom, the primary objective is to secure a lodgement on the continent. This strategic area must have adequate port facilities to maintain a force of 26 to 30 divisions. Furthermore, it is essential for this position to support the augmentation of this force by follow-up formations at a rate of three to five divisions per month.
Operational Area

Normandy Area

Unit Force
Opposing Forces
Operation Neptune

Operation “Neptune,” designated as the assault phase of Operation “Overlord,” played a pivotal role in the liberation of north-west Europe. Indeed, its name was fittingly chosen. While recognizing the invaluable contributions of other services, it’s important to note that the Navy was primed to take a central role in the initial stages, particularly in convoy and transport operations.

Operation “Neptune” can be distinctly categorized into three phases:

  1. Preparation and Planning (May 1942 – June 1944).
  2. Execution, which includes the Assault Landings (June 4th – 6th, 1944).
  3. Consolidation and Build-up (June 7th , 1944- July 3rd, 1944).

However, this operation was unique in two specific aspects. First was the close proximity of the United Kingdom, serving as the main base. This proximity enabled the maximal use of Allied Sea and Air superiority, quick turnaround times for build-up shipping, and innovative measures such as prefabricated harbors and submarine pipeline oil supplies. Second was the operation’s sheer magnitude in conception and execution.

The operation involved landing five divisions, complete with their stores, motor transport, and equipment, onto open beaches fortified with modern defensive technology. Following the establishment of the initial bridgehead, the focus shifted to rapidly increasing the force to about thirty divisions and ensuring their continual support. The first four days alone saw the involvement of over 5,000 ships and crafts. Coordinating such a large armada demanded meticulous attention to loading and berthing arrangements, movement coordination, security measures against enemy interference and weather conditions, efficient disembarkation processes, and ongoing reinforcement and supply flow. Additionally, it involved providing direct support to the Army through bombardment efforts.