Lifelong Learning Institute, Manassas

LLI: Geography of the Normandy Landings in 1944

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Gregory Family Theater


Speaker/Host: Dr. Paul Severance

This presentation will address the geographic aspects of the D-Day invasion at Normandy in June 1944, including a wide array of fundamental geographic factors, principles, and influences that played major roles in the planning, execution, and outcomes of this operation. Dr. Severance’s comprehensive analysis will extend to climate and weather, hydrography, topography and micro-terrain, infrastructure, and human geography (villages, bridges, farms, etc.) that influenced the flow of the invasion and subsequent “breakout” in July. The underlying foundation of this presentation is that geography is a “First Principle” in the planning, resourcing, and execution of major military operations such as Normandy.

Dr. Paul Severance is a retired historian and now the head docent of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators’ Trial Restored Courtroom at Fort Leslie J. McNair in Washington, D.C. He served as a professor of strategy and professor of military science at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) and the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at Fort McNair from 1993 to 2018. Dr. Severance is also a faculty member of the Blue-Gray Education Society and a highly sought-after educator on the American Civil War and the Gettysburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Peninsula, and Seven Days campaigns. Dr. Severance received his undergraduate degree in education from Northeastern University, his master’s in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology, and his doctorate in human development from Virginia Tech. He is currently an instructor with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the College of William and Mary and the Lifelong Learning Society at Christopher Newport University, where he lectures on the nature of war, forms of war and patterns in warfare, military history, and geography. In October 2023, he spoke at LLI-Manassas on the Lincoln assassination trial.

This event is open to the public. For more information about the Lifelong Learning Institute, Manassas, visit