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The Normandy beaches were chosen by planners because they lay within range of air cover, and were less heavily defended than the obvious objective of the Pas de Calais, the shortest distance between Great Britain and the Continent. Airborne drops at both ends of the beachheads were to protect the flanks, as well as open up roadways to the interior. Six divisions were to land on the first day; three U.S., two British and one Canadian. Disorganization, confusion, incomplete or faulty implementation of plans characterized the initial phases of the landings. In the end, the Allies achieved their objective. The AIRBORNE ASSAULT into Normandy as part of the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe was the largest use of airborne troops up to that time.