D-DAY, NORMANDY: Operation Overlord


Pre-Invasion Days


D-Day: The Troops Move In


D-Day: On the Beach


D+1 through D+3


D+ 4 and Aftermath

On the night of June 5, 1944, 1,000 ships, the greatest armada ever to set sail, left the British isles, bound for the Coast of Normandy--its mission to liberate Europe. Operation Overlord had begun. On June 6, almost 200,000 Allied soldiers landed on rugged French beaches, code-named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Rocky cliffs fortified by the German loomed over the beaches. This was the formidable threshold of the second front, the long-awaited campaign that spelled the end of the Third Reich. Stubborn German resistance and gale-force channel storms caused a devastating loss of men and equipment in the period immediately following the landing. Some American units suffered casualties to half their numbers. The invasion of Europe often seemed on the brink of foundering.

But it did not fail. The door to Europe was opened. American, British, and Canadian forces poured in, accompanied by contingents representing the governments-in-exile of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. In little more than two months Paris was liberated. Within a year Hitler was dead and the German Army defeated. Today, above Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery bears silent, but perpetual witness to the cost of the mightiest sea-to-shore operation ever launched.

While the invasion forces gathered throughout Great Britain, the United States Navy assigned combat artists to record the great adventure. For the young artists, the challenge was unique. During their training period, they lived with the crews of the vessels destined to take part in the invasion; they rode the ships across the channel, and accompanied the troops as they landed. Their paintings, including descriptions of their work, were subject to strict censorship. Not until well after the events occurred did the Navy Art Collection receive these historic records.

For this exhibition the paintings of three artists have been selected: Mitchell Jamieson, Alexander Russo and Dwight Shepler. These painting by the U.S. Navy's combat artists are the visions and images of the greatest amphibious operation ever launched-- the Normandy Invasion.


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Note: for all the the art in the collection related to the Invasion of Normandy click here.

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