D-Day 2017: What Does the ‘D’ in ‘D-Day’ Stand For?

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d-day definition, d-day meaning

British soldiers negotiating a barbed wire defense during a seashore invasion exercise. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

June 6, 2017, is the 73rd anniversary of the Normandy beach invasion by American and Allied forces against Nazis in 1944 France. But what does the “D” stand for? It does not stand for “disembark.”

peration Neptune was part of the larger Operation Overlord. The belligerents included the Allied forces, consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Free France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Poland, against Nazi Germany.

By late August, all of Nazi-occupied northern France had been liberated from Nazis thanks to Operation Overlord, which started with D-Day. In military terminology, “D-Day” is the day on which any given combat operation begins. Therefore there has been more than one D-Day throughout history, but “Operation Overlord” is the most famous of these. The “D” in “D-Day” does not stand for anything.

In military terminology, “D-Day” is the day on which any given combat operation begins. Therefore there has been more than one D-Day throughout history, but “Operation Overlord” is the most famous of these. The “D” in “D-Day” does not stand for anything but is instead used as an indicator to points of time before or after a combat operation begins. For example, D+1 means 1 day after D-Day. H-Hour is also a term used and references the hour on which any given combat operation begins. According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History:

There is but one D-day and one H-hour for all units participating in a given operation. It is unnecessary to state that H-hour is on D-day.

Throughout history there has been A-Day through Z-Day, with only “B-Day” skipped over. Each “Day” with a letter before it as its own militaristic meaning for days and hours. To see a complete list of military designation of days and hours, click here.