D-Day

Date taken: June 6, 1944
Location: Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

Photographer: Robert F. Sargent
Source: National Archives and Records Administration

Historical Context

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded Europe. The Normandy landings, the largest amphibious invasion ever undertaken, took years to plan, involved the invention of new technologies and proved that Hitler's 'Fortress Europe' was made of sand.

Photographer Robert F. Sargent took this photo - aptly named "Into the Jaws of Death" - as troops waded ashore on Omaha Beach, the most calamitous of the landing sites. On the day at Omaha, little went to plan, most landing craft missed their targets and German defenses were unexpectedly strong.

Nevertheless, the Allies secured a foothold on all beaches. From there they broke out into Normandy proper as German resistance faltered. D-Day stands out as one of the most crucial moments in history: along with the German collapse on the Eastern Front, the success of the Allies in the West ensured that the Nazi defeat was near.

Historical Events

  • 1944-01-31 Operation-Overlord (D-Day) postponed until June
  • 1944-04-07 World War II: General Montgomery speaks to generals at St. Paul's School about his vision for the upcoming D-Day landings
  • 1944-05-17 General Eisenhower sets D-Day for June 5th
  • 1944-06-04 General Eisenhower cancels planned D-Day invasion on June 5th after receiving unfavorable weather reports
  • 1944-06-05 As part of Operation Tonga, the 1st British gliders touch down on French soil to prepare for the D-Day invasion
  • 1944-06-05 German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel goes on leave just before WWII D-Day landings by the Allies
  • 1944-06-05 After receiving favorable weather reports, General Eisenhower decides to proceed with the D-Day invasion on June 6
  • 1944-06-06 As part of the D-Day landings, the 82nd Airborne Division arrives at the French town of Sainte-Mère-Église
  • 1944-06-06 Baseball cancels all games honoring D-Day invasion
  • 1944-06-06 Operation Overlord: D-Day begins as the 150,000 strong Allied Expeditionary Force lands in Normandy, France, during World War II

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