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Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division board LCVPs (landing craft, vehicle, personnel) attached to the U.S. Navy attack transport Joseph T. Dickman (APA-13) in Portsmouth, England, prior to steaming across the English Channel to the Normandy coast on the night of June 5, 1944. (National Archives)

The Easy Red sector of Omaha Beach is just east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer. (U.S. Army)

At 0630 hours on June 6, troops of 2nd Battalion, 16th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division exit their landing craft and head for shore under heavy fire on the Easy Red sector of Omaha Beach. Omaha saw the most critical delay of the five Allied beachheads, as well as the most grievous casualties. By the end of the day the 1st Division had suffered 186 dead, 358 missing in action and 620 wounded. The adjacent 29th Infantry Division’s casutalties totaled 341 casualties, mostly from Company A, 116th Infantry, which suffered 96 percent casualties in the first ten minutes. (National Archives)

A 1st Infantry Division officer examines a German-manned French 75mm cannon overlooking Easy Red—typical of a variety of captured French weapons that the Germans pressed into service to defend the “West Wall” while freeing up their latest and most powerful weaponry for deployment against the Soviet army. Elements of the German 352nd Infantry Division were stretched across Omaha to face the Americans all along Omaha Beach, but their fortifications, stiffened in recent months by General Erwin Rommel, proved to be a formidable combat multiplier. (National Archives)

A landing party helps survivors of a landing craft sunk by German shelling to come ashore at Utah, the westernmost of the Normandy beachheads and the nearest to the vitally needed port of Cherbourg. Resistance at Utah and the American casualties suffered there proved to be the lightest, about 200, partially because paratroops of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, who had already landed further inland, were occupying much of the Germans’ attention, and because most of the 4th Infantry Division’s landing craft, driven off course by wind and smoke, landed some 1,800 meters south of the intended location—apparently throwing off the Germans as much as its own officers. (National Archives)

Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division come ashore on Utah Beach. The first—and, at age 56, the oldest—general to land in Normandy, 4th Division deputy commander Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., quickly learned that he was in the wrong place, but after personally reconnoitering the area, calmly declared, “We’ll start the war from here,” and coordinated the advance, greeting and directing each successive wave. Roosevelt was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor. (National Archives)

Soldiers of the British 3rd Infantry Division consolidate their position on Sword, easternmost of the Allied beachheads in Normandy. Although the British took Sword with a relatively light 683 casualties, traffic congestion combined with the only German counterattack of the day—from the 21st Panzer Division—stopped them short of their key objective of Caen, fifteen kilometers inland. (National Archives)

Members of a shore fire control party set up their equipment in a shell hole and start directing naval gunfire against enemy targets on June 10. The Allied fleets, totaling some 5,000 ships, had played a crucial role in supporting the landings, and continued to be needed as German resistance stiffened and the threat of a counterattack grew. Ultimately the Allies drove beyond the beachhead and past the warships’ range—only to find their progress impeded by the Norman hedgerows and German soldiers and paratroopers taking advantage of them to contest each farmer’s field down the Cotentin Peninsula that stretches from Cherbourg to Carentan and Lessay. (National Archives)

From left, Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adm. Ernest J. King stop their DUKW at Vierville-sur-Mer on Omaha to question officers of a combat unit on Allied progress during a tour of the Allied beachheads on June 12. (National Archives)

Gen. George C. Marshall, U.S. Army Chief of Staff (center) confers with Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, commander of the First Army, at Omaha Beach on June 14. Bradley was subordinate to Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery’s 21st Army Group until after the Allied breakout from the Cotentin Peninsula in August 1944, when he was promoted to command the American 12th Army Group comprised of the First Army, under Maj. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, and the newly arrived Third Army under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. (National Archives)

 A French officer pins the Croix de Guerre on Brig. Gens. George A. Taylor (left) and Charles D. W. Canham on March 12, 1945. On Omaha Beach, Colonel Taylor rallied his 16th Infantry to break through and push 300 yards inland, declaring: “There are only two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are about to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here!” Canham likewise motivated his 116th Infantry, telling one lieutenant hiding under mortar fire, “Get your ass out there and show some leadership!” Sgt. Bob Slaughter of the 116th was among those who responded, stating, “I was more afraid of Colonel Canham than I was of the Germans.” (National Archives)