Western Europe 1939-1945: D-Day

Why was D-Day successful?

British commandos land in Normandy

Photograph shows British commandos keeping well down as they push forward across the beach

Catalogue ref: DEFE 2/502

British commandos land in Normandy; DEFE 2/502
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What is this source?

This is one of a series of “stills” taken from a government film made about British Commando troops embarking for France and landing on the Normandy beachhead on D-Day.


What’s the background to this source?

By late 1942 the tide began to turn against Germany. From 1943 to 1944, British Empire and US forces began a build up of troops and equipment to drive the Germans out of the lands they had invaded in 1940. The landings took place in June 1944.


How does this source help us to understand why D-Day was successful?

  1. What does this source tell us about the training of Allied troops?
  2. Is it possible to say whether the role of the ground troops was more or less important than the role of the other forces on D-Day?
  3. How would you sum up the main value of this source to the historian?
  • Will you include this source in your storyboard?
  • If you do use it, what are the main points you will make in your caption?

Use this framework to plan your storyboard.