The landings in Normandy on June 6th 1944, often referred to as D-Day, was the largest seaborne invasion in history. Part of Operation Overlord and codenamed Operation Neptune, it began the liberation of German-occupied France and laid the foundations for Allied victory on the Western Front.
An amphibious assault of unimaginable scale, nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participated. 156,000 troops crossed the English Channel that day alone, supported by 195,700 naval personnel. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 of those confirmed dead; German casualties were estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men.
The target 80 km stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. American divisions were assigned to Utah and Omaha, British divisions to Gold and Sword, and the 3rd Canadian Division to Juno. Simultaneous airborne and naval operations were conducted, as well as coordination with the French Resistance and an assault at Pointe du Hoc by the United States 2nd Ranger Battalion.
American troops wade up to the shoreline on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944.
A group of American soldiers take cover behind a beach obstacle while assaulting Omaha beach during D-Day, June 6th 1944.
American soldiers press forward toward Omaha beach, Normandy. Dark smoke hides the enemy in the distance. D-Day, June 6th 1944.
They were brought to the beach by a Coast Guard manned LCVP.
An American LCT (Landing Craft Tank) lands at Utah Beach full of troops during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944.
British troops advance inland during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944.
American Soldiers of the 101st Airborne division walk through an unknown town during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944.
The Canadian 8th Brigade unloads onto Juno Beach during the first few seconds of the assault, June 6th 1944.
In preparation for the invasion, artillery equipment is loaded aboard LCTS at an English port. Brixham, England. 1 June 1944.
Photo by Nehez.
American Troops crouch inside a LCVP landing craft, just before landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
On board a barge, facing Omaha. The sky is leaden, the sea is heavy. Everyone protects their weapon with a plastic case provided for this purpose by the stewardship. A USN and an officer observe the trajectory that brings them closer to the beach.
A LCVP landing craft from USS Samuel Chase (APA-26) approaches Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
The boat is smoking from a fire that resulted when a German machine gun bullet hit a hand grenade. After discharging his load of troops the boat's coxwain, Coastguardsman Delba L. Nivens of Amarillo, Texas, assisted by his engineman and bowman, put out the fire and returned to their transport.
Note the beach obstacles just ahead of the boat.
The sinking Coast Guard manned USS LCI(L)-85 comes alongside another ship to transfer her survivors, after she was hit by German shells off Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Note casualties on deck, including a man on a stretcher (left center) whose face has been obscured by wartime censors.
Also note binoculars atop a chart in the LCI(L)'s conning tower (upper right) and life raft (at left) with paddles secured to its side.
A sinking Coast Guard manned LCI(L) limps alongside a transport to evacuate her crew, on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Wartime censors have painted out the landing craft's number, but she may be LCI(L)-85, sunk by German shell fire off Omaha Beach.
View of the invasion force off the Normandy coast, photographed from USS Ancon (AGC-4), with Omaha Beach in the background and barrage balloons overhead. The amount of smoke on the beach strongly indicates that the photograph was taken on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
USS LST-373 is at right.
USS LCI(L)-490 and USS LCI(L)-496 approach Omaha Beach.
The original caption gives date as June 7th 1944, but the heavy smoke ashore strongly indicates that the view was taken on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Photographed by Wall.
Landing craft approach Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Vessels present include LCM, LCI(L) and LCT types.
Troops and vehicles on board a landing craft approaching Omaha Beach.
The original caption gives the date as June 8th 1944, but heavy smoke ashore strongly indicates that the photograph was taken on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
An American Soldier lies dead alongside an anti-landing craft obstruction on Omaha Beach, June 6th 1944. He is wearing an inflatable life belt.
Note rifles by his feet, an M1 semiautomatic rifle on the sand, with a M1903 bolt-action rifle laid across it.
Scene on Omaha Beach on the afternoon of D-Day, June 6th 1944, showing casualties on the beach, a bogged-down "Sherman" tank, several wrecked trucks and German anti-landing obstructions. A LST is beached in the left distance and invasion shipping is off shore.
D-Day scene on Omaha Beach, June 6th 1944.
USS LCI(L)-553, lost at this time, is partially visible in the left background.
LCVP landing craft at left is from USS Samuel Chase (APA-26).
Note vehicles and men on the beach, and "Caution .. No Signal .. Left Drive" sign on the vehicle in lower right.
American assault troops of the 3d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st U.S. Infantry Division, injured while storming Omaha Beach, and although wounded, gained the comparative safety offered by the chalk cliff at their backs. They await evacuation to a field hospital for further medical treatment. Food and cigarettes were available to lend comfort to the men at Collville-Sur-Mer, Normandy, France. June 6th 1944.
Dead Soldiers on Omaha beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944. They were members of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.
Photographed by Taylor.
Note inflatable life belts draped over some of the bodies, and a box over another.
Troops of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division assemble on a narrow strip of Omaha beach before moving inland near Collville-sur-Mer on D-Day, June 6th 1944. USS LCI(L)-83 is in the background, landing more men.
Photographed by Taylor.
U.S. Army Rangers show off the ladders they used to storm the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, which they assaulted in support of Omaha Beach landings on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Photograph was released for publication on June 12th 1944.
U.S. Army Rangers rest atop the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, which they stormed in support of Omaha Beach landings on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Photograph was released for publication on June 12th 1944.
U.S. Soldiers of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, move out over the seawall on Utah Beach, after coming ashore. Other troops are resting behind the concrete wall.
Photo dated June 9th 1944, but probably taken on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
A U.S. Army weapons carrier moves through the surf toward Utah Beach, after being launched from its landing craft on June 6th 1944.
Note .50 caliber machine gun on the vehicle, pointed skyward for anti-aircraft defense.
German prisoners of war in a barbed-wire enclosure on Utah Beach, June 6th 1944.
Note the group of African-American Soldiers in the near center distance, Sherman tank (with name "Delphia" on its side) beyond them, and USS LCT-855 stranded on the beach behind the tank.
Troops and crewmen aboard a Coast Guard manned LCVP as it approaches a Normandy beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
The U.S. Coast Guard manned USS LST-21 unloads British Army tanks and trucks onto a "Rhino" barge during the early hours of the invasion on Gold Beach, June 6th 1944.
Note the nickname "Virgin" on the "Sherman" tank at left.
D-Day beach traffic, photographed from a Ninth Air Force bomber on June 6th 1944.
Note vehicle lanes leading away from the landing areas, and landing craft left aground by the tide.
A Coast Guard manned LST approaches the Normandy coast on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
Note small radar antenna on the LST's bridge, signalman using a blinker lamp, U.S. star markings on some truck covers, and the folded bicycle stowed atop the vehicle in the lower right.
LCM landing craft, evacuating casualties from the invasion beaches, brings them to a transport for treatment, on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
A survivor is pulled aboard a U.S. Coast Guard boat after his ship was hit during the Normandy landings, circa June 6th 1944.
Casualties are transferred from an LCM to a larger ship for evacuation from the Normandy area.
Photograph released June 8th 1944.
U.S. Army troops administer first aid to the survivors of sunken landing craft, on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
USS LCT-29 is in the background.
Note M1 rifles carried by some of these Soldiers.
American LCVP landing craft putting troops ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
The LCVP at far left is from USS Samuel Chase (APA-26).
Troops land from USS LCI(L)-412 during the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, June 6th 1944.
Note "half-track" weapons carriers at the water's edge, with their guns pointing inland; troops dug in on the shore; and LCI(L)-412's bow 20mm gunner engaging enemy targets.
Troops watch activity ashore on Omaha Beach as their LCVP landing craft approaches the shore on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
American assault troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
The smoke in the background is from supporting naval gunfire.
Note helmet netting; faint "No Smoking" sign on the LCVP's ramp; and M1903 rifles and M1 carbines carried by some of these men.
Troops wade ashore from a LCVP landing craft, off Omaha Beach, June 6th 1944.
Note DUKWs and half-tracks at the water line, lines of men headed inland, and M1903 and M1 rifles carried by some of the troops leaving the landing craft.
Landing ships putting cargo ashore on Omaha Beach, at low tide during the first days of the operation, June 1944.
The Coast Guard-manned LST-262 is the third beached LST from the right, one of 10 Coast Guard-manned LSTs that participated in the invasion.
Among identifiable ships present are USS LST-532 (in the center of the view); USS LST-262 (3rd LST from right); USS LST-310 (2nd LST from right); USS LST-533 (partially visible at far right); and USS LST-524.
Note barrage balloons overhead and Army "half-track" convoy forming up on the beach.
Army troops on board a LCT, ready to ride across the English Channel to France. Some of these men wear 4th Infantry Division or 101st Airborne Division insignia.
Photograph released June 12th 1944.
Forward 14"/45 guns of USS Nevada (BB-36) fire on positions ashore, during the landings on Utah Beach, June 6th 1944.