By the end of May 1944, the Allies had assembled a vast armada of ships and men for the invasion of Nazi-occupied France. This mission was code-named "Operation Overlord." The landing force consisted of two British divisions, two American divisions, and the 3rd Canadian Division along with the 2nd Armoured Brigade, commanded by Major-General R.F.L. Keller. The five divisions were under the command of a British officer, General Bernard Montgomery. The invasion force would land at five "beaches" on the coast of Normandy in northern France. The Americans would land at Utah and Omaha beaches, the British at Gold and Sword beaches, and the Canadians at Juno Beach. During the night of 5-6 June, the 6th British Airborne Division, which included the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, formed an advance force that parachuted into the main assault areas.
The 3rd Canadian Division included The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, The Regina Rifle Regiment, the 1st Battalion, The Canadian Scottish Regiment (7th Infantry Brigade), The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, and Le Régiment de la Chaudière (8th Brigade). Landing later in the day were The Highland Light Infantry of Canada, The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, and The North Nova Scotia Highlanders of the 9th (reserve) Brigade. Supporting these brigades were, respectively, the 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars), the 10th Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse), and the 27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment) of the 2nd Armoured Brigade.
At 8:05 a.m., 6 June 1944, the 3rd Canadian Division stormed ashore. The Regina Rifles were the first to reach Juno Beach. To the west, the 3rd British Division landed at Sword Beach, while, to the east, the 50th British Division surged onto Gold Beach. Almost immediately, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and 3rd British Division repulsed a counterattack by the German 21st Panzer (tank) Division. However, the Canadians were able to continue inland and meet up with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. By the end of the 6 June 1944, the Canadians had advanced the farthest inland.