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June 7, 2010

Remembering D-Day, 66 years ago

Yesterday was June 6th, the 66th anniversary of the successful 1944 Allied invasion of France. Several operations were combined to carry out the largest amphibious invasion in history - over 160,000 troops landed on June 6th, assisted by over 5,000 ships, aerial bombardment, gliders and paratroopers. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives on those beaches on that day - many thousands more would follow as the invasion succeeded and troops began to push German forces eastward, eventually leading to the Allied victory in 1945. Collected here are some photographs of the preparation, execution and immediate aftermath of the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy, and a few images from 2010. (42 photos total)

U.S. troops disembark from a landing vehicle on Utah Beach on the coast of Normandy, France in June of 1944. Carcasses of destroyed vehicles litter the beach. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives)

U.S. Soldiers march through a southern English coastal town, en route to board landing ships for the invasion of France, circa late May or early June 1944. (Army Signal Corps Collection/U.S. National Archives) #

General view of a port in England; in foreground, jeeps are being loaded onto landing craft - in background, larger trucks and ducks are being loaded, June 1944. (U.S. National Archives) #

The sight of a low-flying Allied plane sends Nazi soldiers rushing for cover on a beach in France, before D-Day June 1944. The aircraft was taking reconnaissance photos of German coastal barriers in preparation for the June 6th invasion. (AP Photo) #

Coast Guard Flotilla 10 tied up along with British landing craft, preparing to sail the English Channel and invade Nazi-occupied France. These landing craft landed U.S. troops on Omaha Beach. (U.S. Army) #

German soldiers observe the coast during the occupation of Normandy by German forces in 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

A-20 bombers make a return visit to the Pointe Du Hoc coastal battery on 22 May 1944. (U.S. National Archives) #

Allied convoys of ships on the open sea - June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Allied troop carriers near Omaha beach, one covered with a thick white smoke, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

U.S. soldiers approach Omaha Beach, their weapons wrapped in plastic to keep them dry, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Allied forces push through the breakers toward Omaha Beach. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

U.S. reinforcements wade through the surf as they land at Normandy in the days following the Allies' June 1944, D-Day invasion of France. (AP Photo/Peter Carroll) #

An A-20 from the 416th Bomb Group making a bomb run on D-Day, 6 June 1944. (U.S. Army) #

Aerial view of part of the Allied force off the coast of France, on D-Day, 1944. (U.S. Air Force) #

American soldiers wade from Coast Guard landing barge toward the beach at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (U.S. National Archives) #

An 88mm shell explodes on Utah Beach. In the foreground, American soldiers protect themselves from enemy fire. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Heavy smoke spreads from the dunes littered with barbed wire, after an explosion near Cherbourg, France. Two soldiers huddle behind a wall. Photo taken Summer, 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

U.S. soldiers rescue shipwreck survivors on Utah Beach, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Aerial view of the Normandy Invasion, on June 6th, 1944. (U.S. Air Force) #

Thirteen liberty ships, deliberately scuttled to form a breakwater for invasion vessels landing on the Normandy beachhead lie in line off the beach, shielding the ships in shore. The artificial harbor engineering installation which was prefabricated and towed across the Channel. 1944 photo. (AP Photo) #

U.S. soldiers land on Utah Beach, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Above Omaha Beach, a German-placed bomb hangs on the side of a cliff, as a defensive measure. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Allied soldiers, vehicles and equipment swarm onto the French shore during the Normandy landings, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Photo taken on D+2, after relief forces reached the Rangers at Point du Hoc. The American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved in after capture by the relieving forces. 8 June 1944 (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Two U.S. soldiers escort a group of ten German prisoners on Omaha Beach, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

American soldiers on Omaha Beach recover the dead after the D-Day invasion, June 1944. (U.S. National Archives) #

Gliders towed by C-47 aircraft fly over Utah Beach bringing reinforcements on June 7th, 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Three U.S. soldiers take a rest at the foot of a bunker which the Germans have painted and camouflaged to look like a house. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

The corpse of a German soldier, in front of a bunker overlooking the coast, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

A U.S. soldier scans a French beach with his binoculars, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Allied tanks on the move near Barenton, France. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

In a farm courtyard, U.S. soldiers discuss an attack plan, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

U.S. soldiers move inland from the beaches of France, June 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

American soldiers crawl toward shelter on a street Saint-Lo, France. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

View of the station and destroyed town of Saint-Lo, 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Wreckage Of A Republic P-47, Which Crashed During The D-Day Invasion, Lies On The Battle-Scarred Beach Of Normandy, France. 22 June 1944. (U.S. Air Force) #

The liberation of Saint-Lo, Summer 1944, allied jeeps and soldiers among the ruins. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

Bodies of U.S. soldiers are attended to in the French countryside, Summer 1944. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

French townspeople lay flowers on the body of an American soldier. (Regional Council of Basse-Normandie/U.S. National Archives) #

On June 5, 2010, parachutists land near Sainte-Mere-Eglise, during the D-Day celebrations to mark the 66th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 allied landings in France. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images) #

John Kessler (right) of the 29th Infantry 116th Infantry Division, salutes the colors during the National D-Day Memorial's memorial ceremony on the 66th Anniversary of D-Day in Bedford, Virginia on June 6, 2010. (AP Photo/The News & Advance, Kim Raff) #

Peter Smoothy, 86, who was a leading writer in the Royal Navy on D-Day visits the grave of a fallen comrade on June 6, 2010 in Bayeux, France. Across Normandy several hundred of the surviving veterans of the Normandy campaign are commemorating the 66th anniversary of the D-Day landings which eventually led to the Allied liberation of France in 1944. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

 
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