9 Photos That Remind Us of Massive Scale of D-Day

Omaha Beach after D-Day. Protected by barrage balloons, ships delivered trucks loaded with supplies. June 7-10, 1944, World War 2. Normandy, France, World War 2.

9 Photos That Remind Us of Massive Scale of D-Day

Just how big was D-Day? The Day of Days as it has come to be known was a massive invasion of Nazi-occupied France. Words can’t do it justice, but the 9 images selected for your perusal certainly can. As we approach the 80th anniversary of such an important event, it helps to remember who gave everything in service for freedom.

Into the Fray

Over 2000 American servicemen died at Omaha Beach.

The sheer scale of D-Day cannot be emphasized enough. This was a joint operation between British, American, Canadian, and Free French forces to begin the liberation of occupied France. Omaha Beach received the worst of it, American troops in this image were disembarking the landing boats when hails of gunfire began raking over the first men to make it to shore.

Preparations for the Fight to Come

British troops were still using American material well into 1944.

The sheer number of moving parts at play in the preparation for D-Day boggles the mind to consider. A British ship is being laden with M4 Sherman tanks, getting ready for the big push into Normandy just moments before the operation would begin.

Final Instructions

British troops were instrumental in securing the French coast.

As I mentioned, D-Day was a joint endeavor between most of the Western Allied powers. This image depicts members of the 4 Commando of the British armed services receiving their orders shortly before the start of Operation Overlord. The night before, American paratroopers landed deep behind enemy lines to sabotage and begin the prep work needed for the operation to succeed.

Taking Fire

USS LCI(L)-553 and USS LCI(L)-410 land troops on Omaha Beach
This is just one of many ships left to ruin in the wake of Operation Overlord.

Thousands of lives and untold amounts of material were lost in D-Day by the Allies. LCI-553, depicted in this photo, would receive two shells on the day of the landing. It ended up washed up near the shore, burned out, and abandoned.

A Shifting Tide

German POWs
German POWs were treated fairly in comparison to American and British prisoners.

The fighting at Omaha Beach was some of the most ferocious seen during the whole of D-Day. German soldiers were on a training exercise at the time when the invasion began in earnest, so the guns and turrets were manned with plenty of ammunition. It wasn’t enough, as these two surrendering Wehrmacht soldiers could attest.

Raining Steel

Operation Overlord
German fortifications made for good cover during the initial operation.

The Allies getting a foothold in France was a nightmare scenario for the German war machine. It was inevitable at this point that Germany had lost the war. Still, that didn’t stop the fighting from raging. American troops are sheltering for cover among the tank obstacles, shells and explosions ripped through the coast until it was secured.

Prisoners of War

Operation Overlord
Thousands of German troops surrendered during the liberation of France.

Germans weren’t willing to fight to the last man at this point in the war. That would come later, during the Battle of Berlin. Allied forces took their fair share of prisoners during Operation Overlord, as you can ably see in this old photograph. German prisoners of war would be shuttled to England, where many would remain in a new life after the war’s end.

Lock and Load

Operation Overlord
Every piece of equipment counted during the operation.

The morning before D-Day, you could almost feel the tension through every ship. Troops were nervous, skittish, and ready for the day to end. These British troops from the Yorkshire Regiment are going through a last-minute equipment check. A fouled rifle or empty bandolier could spell certain death.

A Welcome Sight

Operation Overlord
Months after the invasion, France would be fully liberated.

There are many things you can say about D-Day, but the ultimate goal was the liberation of France. For this French civilian, the sight of American troops is likely a welcome sight after years under the rule of the Vichy regime. It represented a shift in the tide of the war and one where Germany was on the back foot on two separate fronts.

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