Pre-invasion: Planning and Preparation
Preparations for the Allied invasion of Normandy were unprecedented in scale and complexity. In addition to accumulating hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions of tons of material in Britain, the Allies gathered hundreds of specialized landing craft in ports across southern England. These would play a critical role in delivering the Allied assault troops to the French beaches. Given the presumed difficulties in seizing French habors from their German garrisons, the Allies designed and built huge metal and concrete artificial harbors--later called "mulberries"--for tow to the Normandy beaches. Once the American and Commonwealth assault troops had secured beachheads in France, the mulberries would make unloading cargo ships easier and faster than carrying supplies over the beach.