The Normandy Landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
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.
When the seaborne units began to land about 06:30 on June 6, the British and Canadians on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches overcame light opposition. So did the Americans at Utah. The U.S. 1st Division at OmahaBeach, however, confronted the best of the German coast divisions, the 352nd, and was roughly handled by machine gunners as the troops waded ashore. During the morning, the landing at Omaha threatened to fail. Only dedicated local leadership eventually got the troops inland—though at a cost of more than 2,000 casualties.
In this colorized photo of F-Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division underway to Normandy aboard C-47 #12. At 01.20 hours D-Day they jumped over DZ “C” (Hiesville). (L to R): William G. Olanie, Frank D. Griffin, Robert J “Bob” Noody, Lester T. Hegland.
Robert “Bob” Noody second from right with the Bazooka. “Bob landed behind the mayor’s house at Ste-Mere-Eglise. In the ensuing days, Noody utilized his bazooka to destroy a German tank that threatened his unit outside of Carentan.”
Later in the war he made the Operation Market Garden jump and fought with Fox Company from Eindhoven to the Rhine. His unit was rushed to stem the German breakthrough at Bastogne. They held the line in woods next to Easy Company. He was wounded by friendly fire, and re-joined his unit at Hagenau.“
Some of the first American soldiers to attack the German defenses in Higgins Boats (LCVPs) approach Omaha Beach near Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Plastic covers protect the soldier’s weapons against from the water. (Photo by Robert F. Sargent, U.S. Coast Guard/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
On this day in 1944, the D-Day landings began on the beaches of Normandy as part of the Allied ‘Operation Overlord’. The largest amphibious military operation in history, the operation involved thousands of Allied troops landing in France. For those landing on the beaches of Normandy, they faced heavy fire, mines and other obstacles on the beach, but managed to push inland. In charge of the operation was future US President General Dwight Eisenhower and leading the ground forces was British General Bernard Montgomery. The landings proved a decisive Allied victory, as they secured a foothold in France which had been defeated by Nazi Germany in 1940. D-Day was a key moment in the Second World War and helped turn the tide of the war in favour of the Allies. 70 years on, we remember not just the strategic victory that was D-Day but also the ultimate sacrifice paid by thousands of soldiers on both sides of the fighting.
“You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.” - Eisenhower’s message to the Allied Expeditionary Force