operation-overlord

The Planners of D-Day: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force commanders at a conference in London, 2 January, 1944. From left to right: Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Sir Bernard Montgomery, Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory and Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith.

Trooper of 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, 6th British Airborne Division wearing a MkI Airborne Helmet with leather chin strap and heavily scrimmed net, England, June 1944.

On the evening on 5 June 1944 the battalion was transported to France in fifty aircraft. Each man carried a knife, toggle rope, escape kit with French currency, and two 24-hour ration packs in addition to their normal equipment, in all totalling 70 pounds. The battalion landed one hour in advance of the rest of the brigade in order to secure the Drop zone (DZ). Thereafter they were ordered to destroy road bridges over the river Dives and its tributaries at Varaville, then neutralize strongpoints at the crossroads.

On 6 June 1944, a couple of Churchill tanks sat on a beach in Normandy, code-named Sword, as the invasion of occupied western Europe began. The Churchill on the right of the image is an AVRE variant, fitted with a 290mm Petard mortar for demolishing German fortifications. On the far right sits an M10 Wolverine which arrived with their British counterparts, the Achilles, within an hour of the first landings to provide an anti-tank force should the Allies worst fears of German armour relocating South come to pass. As it happened, the hubris of Adolf Hitler prevented this, making a bloody day in history perhaps a little less so.