77 years ago to the largest amphibious assault in history began. Involving 1000s of ships, and over 150,000 men in the landing alone. While there are technically many D-Days there is only one “D-Day”.
“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”
– Dwight D Eisenhower
Last year I did an Airborne post so this year I’ll do a landing forces post. Here’s some lesser seen photos from the longest day. You can get some good looks at the gear worn and landing specific items like the assault vest and E6 gas mask (later designated M5) and E7 carrier. I’ll have to break the Commonwealth forces off into their own post to keep this short and sweet.
4th Infantry Division, Utah Beach
29th Infantry Division, Omaha Beach
1st Infantry Division, Omaha Beach