The Allies’ ability to quickly build up forces on the beaches of Normandy would make or break the invasion of France. But gathering enough LSTs—the ships best able to land the soldiers, vehicles, and supplies—proved a frustrating puzzle to solve.
This article and “‘The Navy Saved Our Hides’” are excerpted from Craig Symonds’ new book, Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings .
The Allied invasion of German-occupied France in June 1944 was by far the largest amphibious assault in history, involving as it did more than 6,000 ships, 100,000 vehicles, and 1 million men. In retrospect, the sheer vastness of the operation seemed to make success all but inevitable. And yet, in May 1943 during the Trident Conference in Quebec when the Allied high command made the decision to execute the invasion a year hence, the shipping it would require simply did not exist.