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Exercise Tiger: The Disastrous D-Day Rehearsal That Cost 800 Lives


In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers stormed into the beaches of northern France in what became the largest seaborne invasion in history. In the space of a single day, Operation Overlord put over 180,000 troops ashore in Normandy, creating a beachhead that eventually allowed more than 3 million Allied soldiers into German occupied Western Europe, setting the stage for the final phase of the war in Europe.

In the months leading up to D-Day, the Allied powers organized a series of training exercises involving full dress rehearsal and live ammunition in order to give the soldiers a small taste of what they would experience during the actual landings. One such rehearsal took place in a small sleepy Devon village named Slapton.
American troops landing on Slapton Sands in England during rehearsals for the invasion of Normandy.
Slapton was located on the southwest coast of England where it meets the English Channel. It was chosen because Slapton’s beach looked very similar to the one in Cotentin Peninsula, the westernmost of the five beaches along Normandy where the real assault would take place. This particular beach was code named Utah.