Today is Ukraine’s D-Day — Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Started

Wes O'Donnell
6 min readJun 6

Seventy-nine years ago, Allied forces landed across dozens of miles of beaches in Normandy, France. The landings were supported by paratroopers from both the famed 101st Airborne Division and the 82nd Airborne Division.

These soldiers from the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia began their moral crusade against a very real evil that had spread across Europe.

I say “moral crusade” because in all the wars of the modern era, from World War I to the War on Terror, WWII was pretty clear cut — it wasn’t for fake WMDs, it wasn’t for oil, it wasn’t even to stop Communism from spreading — it was a fight of good against evil > full stop.

Granted, the United States of the mid-20th Century was an imperfect democracy, and it still is today. In the 1940s, many Americans of color were denied even basic rights, and segregation was the law of the land.

But at least the ideals of America were intact, even if the nation has yet to live up to them.

Like the U.S. in WWII, Ukraine is also fighting to defeat a very real evil. And like the U.S., it is also an imperfect democracy with corruption and some elements of white nationalism.

And yet, Ukraine’s fledgling democracy is authentic, where the citizens genuinely desire closer ties with the West.

The landings in June of 1944 signaled the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime. 160,000 allied troops were expertly coordinated in a counteroffensive to retake fortress Europe from the German war machine.

Interestingly, the phrase D-Day isn’t necessarily reserved for June 6, 1944 — although today that’s what we associate with it because Normandy was the biggest and most well-known.

In reality, there were many “D-Days” during the war. U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told his executive assistant, Brig. Gen. Robert Schultz: “Be advised that any amphibious operation has a ‘departed date;’ therefore the shortened term ‘D-Day’ is used.”

That secret date is the key to everything.

Had the Nazis known the date (D-Day) and time (which is called H-Hour), the landings likely could have failed altogether.

Similarly, Ukraine’s counteroffensive plans have long been kept secret for the very same reason. They even refused to give their U.S. allies an exact date — opting instead to give them a date…

Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security Wonk for War is Boring, GEN, OneZero, Soldier of Fortune | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Founder of Warrior Lodge