Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, these images show the moments before and after the landing operations onto Omaha Beach.

Almost immediately after France fell to the Nazis in 1940, the Allies planned a cross-Channel assault on the German occupying forces, ultimately code-named Operation Overlord. By May 1944, 2,876,000 Allied troops were amassed in southern England. The largest armada in history, made up of more than 4,000 American, British, and Canadian ships, lay in wait, and more that 1,200 planes stood ready. Against a tense backdrop of uncertain weather forecasts, disagreements in strategy, and related timing dilemmas, Eisenhower decided before dawn on June 5 to proceed with Overlord.

As the attack began, Allied troops came against formidable obstacles; Germany had thousands of soldiers dug into bunkers, defended by artillery, mines, tangled barbed wire, machine guns, and other hazards to prevent landing craft from coming ashore. By the end of the day 155,000 Allied troops were ashore and in control of 80 square miles of the French coast but at a heavy cost of 4,900 casualties. 

To view more images and find out more information about D-Day visit our new online Google Cultural Institute exhibit “1944 D-Day and the Normandy Invasion”: Follow along with events around #DDay70.

Images: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (RG 111), General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947 (RG 80), and Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (RG 26).

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