world war ii: operation overlord

Today (06.06.17) marks the 73rd anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy.
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

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.“

He was only 20yrs old on D-Day.

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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 Omaha Beach, 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.

Members of the ‘Filthy Thirteen’ 101st Airborne, sport Indian-style mohawks and apply war paint to one another before going into battle, June 5, 1944.

The Filthy Thirteen was the name given to the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, of the United States Army, which fought in the European campaign in World War II. The Demolition Section was assigned and trained to demolish enemy targets behind the lines. They were ordered to secure or destroy the bridges over the Douve River during the Normandy Invasion of Europe in June 1944. Half were either killed, wounded or captured, but they accomplished their mission. This unit was best known for the famous photo which appeared in Stars and Stripes, showing two members wearing Indian-style “mohawks” and applying war paint to one another. The inspiration for this came from unit sergeant Jake McNiece, who was part Choctaw.

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#DDAY70 D-Day:

“…and men kept pouring in…”

The Normandy Invasion beings as thousands of Allied troops unload from landing craft onto Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches on the morning of June 6, 1944.

Excerpted from: “D-Day to D plus 3.”  From the series: Moving Images Relating to Military Activities, compiled 1947 - 1964. Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985

#DDAY70 D-Day:

“Aerial view of the landing operation on the French Coast shows three LST’s stuck in shallow water a couple of hundred yards off shore. A line of tanks and vehicles scuttles through the heavy surf. Soldiers jam beaches as others swim ashore.”

Local Identifier: 342-FH-3A16037-52286ac. Record Group 342: Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, 1900 - 2003

More D-Day images in the new immersive D-Day exhibit from the National Archives on the Google Cultural Institute.

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.