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Unprecedented scale: D-Day's fighters, helpers, victims

The D-Day invasion that helped change the course of World War II was unprecedented in scale and audacity. As veterans and world leaders commemorate the 75th anniversary of the operation, here's a look at some details of D-Day:

WHO TOOK PART Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Of those 73,000 were from the United States, 83,000 from Britain and Canada. They faced some 50,000 German forces. More than 2 million Allied soldiers, sailors, pilots, medics and other people from a dozen countries were involved in the overall Operation Overlord, the battle to wrest western France from Nazi control that started on D-Day.

WHERE AND WHEN The sea landings started at 6:30 a.m. local time, targeting five code-named beaches, one after the other: Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword, Juno. The operation also included actions inland, including overnight parachute landings on strategic German sites and U.S. Army Rangers scaling cliffs to take out German gun positions.

VICTIMS ON ALL SIDES A total of 4,414 Allied troops were killed on D-Day itself, including 2,501 Americans. More than 5,000 were injured. In the ensuing Battle of Normandy, 73,000 Allied forces were killed and 153,000 wounded. The battle — and especially Allied bombings of French villages and cities — killed some 20,000 French civilians.

The exact German casualties are not known, but historians estimate between 4,000 and 9,000 men were killed, wounded or missing during the D-Day invasion. Some 22,000 German soldiers are among the many buried around Normandy.

SURVIVORS A few thousand D-Day veterans are believed to be still alive, all in their 90s or older. Several dozen are expected in Normandy for the 75th anniversary.

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