D-Day: Key facts
(CNN) -- Following are key facts about D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.Discussions and preparations for an allied invasion across the English Channel begin in 1942.An earlier raid on the French port of Dieppe results in heavy losses, convincing D-Day planners to land on the beaches.The Germans expect an invasion along the north coast of France in 1944, but they do not know where. They choose to build up their troops and artillery where the Channel is the narrowest.The Allies plan to land in Normandy, south of the German build-up.June 5, 1944 was the day chosen for the invasion, but rough seas force the Allies to wait until the next day.Overnight, about 2,700 ships with landing craft and 176,000 soldiers cross the Channel. Minesweepers go ahead to clear the water, and paratroopers drop behind German lines to capture bridges and railroad tracks. The landing includes more than 5,000 ships and 11,000 airplanes.About 31,000 Allied airmen fly 7,500 sorties between midnight and 8 a.m. on June 6, 1944.At 6:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944, Allied troops come ashore on a 60-mile front in the largest seaborne invasion in history.The five beaches that the Allies land on are secured by the end of the day.