Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6 - 69th Anniversary of D-Day Landings in Normandy, France

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy, France. While there were other major battles that preceded and followed this one on all fronts of the war, this particular day was monumental in turning the tide in the European war against Germany because it opened up a major western front that began the squeeze on Nazi forces from the west by the U.S., Britain, Canada and free French forces and from the east by the Soviet Union's Red Army.

In 1994, I went to Normandy and visited many of the major sites of the D-Day battle just after the 50th anniversary. Below are three shots I took while there. More can be seen on my Flick Photostream HERE.

Omaha Beach
This is Omaha beach where U.S. Army forces landed. I took this shot standing at the water's edge looking back up at the beach and the cliff above. Imagine having to charge across this expanse littered with iron obstacles put there by the Germans and unrelenting machine gun and mortar fire. All round you, fellow soldiers lay dead or wounded while others scramble for cover. Eventually on June 6, forces here overcame the German defenses and moved in land.

Sainte Mere Eglise

The next shot is the church and town square of the village of Sainte Mere Eglise. This is a town behind the landing beaches that the U.S. 82nd Airborne division was charged with securing following their early morning jump into France. However, airborne forces were scattered all over the area, and many came down directly into the town where Germans were waiting. If you've ever seen the movie The Longest Day, this battle is depicted in one of the sequences in the film.

Point Du Hoc
The third shot here is Point du Hoc. This is where U.S. Army Rangers came in by small boat, scaled the steep cliffs under German fire and secured the area so the Germans could not fire down onto the main landing beaches. Again in the move The Longest Day, you can see this battle sequence dramatized.

All pictures in this post were taken by Marc Osborn. Marc Osborn owns the copyright for this images and no use of them for any purpose is permitted without prior written permission from Marc Osborn.

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