52 Amazing Photographs Showing D-Day on 6 June 1944

The Normandy landings were the landing operations and associated airborne operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of France (and later western Europe) and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, and the operation had to be delayed 24 hours; a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days each month were deemed suitable. Adolf Hitler placed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower in command of Allied forces.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialised tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. Carentan, Saint-Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five beachheads were not connected until 12 June; however, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year. (Wikipedia)

US soldiers advance towards land from the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Reinforcements disembarking from a landing barge at Normandy during the Allied Invasion of France on D-Day.
Allied soldiers, tanks and ships take part in the D-Day landings at Arromanches beach in Normandy, Northern France on June 6, 1944.
US Marines landing at Normandy in amphibious landing craft on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) smiles while speaking with the men of the US 101st Airborne Division, ‘The Screaming Eagles’, as they prepare for the D-Day invasion, England, World War II, June 6, 1944.
Landing Craft Infantry on the way to Normandy during World War Two, France, June 6, 1944.
US troops landing in Northern France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Troops from the 48th Royal Marines at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer on Juno Beach, Normandy, France, during the D-Day landings, June 6, 1944.
US troops of the First Army on Landing Craft Infantry during the allied assault on the beaches of Normandy, World War Two, France, June 6, 1944.
American troops, part of the Allied Expeditionary Force, wading ashore beside their amphibious tanks during the initial landings in France on June 6, 1944.
Troops of the Canadian 3rd Division, leaving their ship with their bicycles, at Juno beach along the coast of Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
A ‘2nd Invasion Extra’ edition of the Worcester Telegram newspaper, published in Worcester, Massachusetts, reporting the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
A line of American Paratroopers with full equipment filing along to their Douglas C 47 transports ready for the Invasion, June 6, 1944.
American troops with their equipment boarding a landing craft ready for embarkation to France.
Correspondents at the Ministry of Information, London, busy typing their first invasion stories on June 6, 1944.
A US soldier holds a group of German troops and laborers at gunpoint in a ditch during World War II, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
A New York haberdasher fixing up a sign explaining that his shop will be closed while staff pray for Allied victory in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June, 6 1944.
Canadian snipers get some last minute training in England, May 9, 1944 as all await D-day.
German prisoners of war are detained behind barbed wire by American soldiers on Utah Beach.6 June 1944 during World War II
Robert Capa
D-Day, the invasion of France, June 6, 1944. American craft of all styles at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion. Click to fade to a view of Omaha Beach on May 7, 2014, near Colleville sur Mer, France.
The body of a dead German soldier lies in the main square of Place Du Marche after the town was taken by U.S. troops who landed at nearby Omaha Beach in Trevieres, France, June 15, 1944.
Commandos of No. 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, aboard a LCI(S) landing craft on their approach to Queen Red beach, Sword area, 6 June 1944.
Commandos of No. 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, coming ashore from LCI(S) landing craft on Queen Red beach, Sword area, 6 June 1944.
Follow-up troops wade ashore from landing craft on Queen sector of Sword Beach, 7 June 1944.
Beach Group troops wade ashore from landing craft on Queen beach, Sword area, on the evening of 6 June 1944.
British troops from 3rd Division, some with bicycles, move inland from Sword Beach, Normandy, 6 June 1944.
An M10 Wolverine 3-inch self-propelled gun of 20th Anti-Tank Regiment provides cover for infantry of 3rd Division as they advance inland from Queen beach, Sword area, 6 June 1944.
A battery of M7 Priest 105mm self-propelled guns from 33rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, near Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.
A Royal Artillery command post, probably from a 105mm SP M7 Priest Field Regiment, near Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944. The Sherman OP (observation post) tank in the background has a small ‘GD’ tactical marking on the side of its hull, indicating the GPO (Gun Position Officer) of B Troop, 2nd Battery. Motorcycle despatch riders and a Universal Carrier can also be seen. Some troops are bedding down in the foreground.
Churchill AVREs of 79th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers, and other vehicles on Queen Red beach, Sword Area, 6 June 1944.
Universal Carriers of 2nd Middlesex Regiment (3rd Division’s MG battalion) pass a Churchill AVRE of 77th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment, in La Brèche d’Hermanville, 6 June 1944.
A jeep and other vehicles and troops passing through La Breche as they move inland from Sword Beach, Normandy, 6 June 1944.
Troops of 3rd Division pause in La Brèche d’Hermanville during their move inland, 6 June 1944. The infantry on the right have been identified as 2nd Royal Ulster Rifles from 9th Brigade. The half-track is from 246 Field Company Royal Engineers.
Vehicles and infantry on bicycles of British 3rd Division in La Brèche d’Hermanville, as they move inland from Sword Beach, 6 June 1944. A Churchill AVRE can be seen on the right.
A Universal Carrier fitted with deep wading screens and motorcyclists of British 3rd Division in La Brèche d’Hermanville, 6 June 1944.
Two wounded British soldiers from 3rd Division making their way back through La Brèche d’Hermanville, 6 June 1944.
A Universal Carrier with wading screens attached and half-tracks of 3rd Division passing through Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.
British 3rd Division troops passing a First World War memorial in Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.
A screen of 6-pdr anti-tank guns in position by the side of the Rue de la Croix Rose in Hermanville-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944. The Route de Caen can be seen going off to the right
Commandos of 48 (RM) Commando coming ashore from landing craft at St Aubin-sur-Mer on Juno Beach, 6 June 1944.
Consolidated B-24H Liberators of 486th Bombardment Group, US Eighth Air Force, flying over part of the Allied invasion fleet gathered off the Normandy coast, 6 June 1944. They were part of a force of 380 aircraft of 3rd Bombardment Division despatched on the morning of D-Day to bomb villages through which access roads ran to the beachheads.
Aerial photo of the numerous Allied naval craft off Dog and Easy beaches, Omaha assault area, 6 June 1944. The photo was taken from a Martin B-26 Marauder of the US Ninth Air Force while on a bombing mission to Avranches.
Troops of US VII Corps move over the sea wall on Uncle Red beach, Utah area, 6 June 1944.
A survivor from a sunk American landing craft is given first aid on the beach, Omaha assault area, 6 June 1944.
A survivor from a sunk American landing craft being helped ashore, Omaha assault area, 6 June 1944.
The scene on Omaha assault area after the initial landings on 6 June 1944, showing naval vessels massed offshore. In the foreground, LSTs (Landing Ship Tank), which have grounded on the beach, are unloading directly onto the shore.
Commandos of No. 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, use an improvised stretcher to bring one of their casualties back as they advance into Ouistreham, Sword area, 6 June 1944.
Sherman DD tanks of ‘B’ Squadron, 13th/18th Royal Hussars support men of No. 4 Army Commando on the Rue de Riva- Bella in Ouistreham, 6 June 1944.
Sherman DD tanks of ‘B’ Squadron, 13th/18th Royal Hussars support commandos of No. 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, as they advance into Ouistreham, Sword area, 6 June 1944.
Men of 4 Commando, 1st Special Service Brigade, being briefed by Lt Col R Dawson just before embarking for Normandy, June 1944.
Troops of 51st Highland Division aboard a landing craft heading for Normandy, reading booklets on France which they were issued before embarkation, 7 June 1944.

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