Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mapping D-Day

Jase Carr, Environmental Studies Program

Operation Overlord effectively opened a Western Front on mainland Europe during the Second World War, taking pressure off the bloodied Soviet Red Army, and hastening the destruction of Hitler's Third Reich. However, before the cross-Channel invasion could even be attempted, Allied commanders had identified and select the beaches on which their soldiers would disembark using methods analogous to modern-day Geographic Information Systems technology. Despite only having accurate cartographic information from 1933, the combined forces of Canada, France, Great Britain, and the United States were able to successfully employ geographic and spatial analysis to calculate and measure the changing landscape of the Caldavos Peninsula in the build-up to D-Day. This project would show how involved the planning was for the landings, the importance of the human element in its implementation, how they collected and interpreted data, and why the late-May/early-June time frame was considered the optimal time for an invasion of mainland Europe. 

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