D-Day, Normandy: The Troops Move In
British Positions Behind Beach,
Early Morning June 3
Mitchell F. Jamieson #V-37
Charcoal and wash on paper
Two days before D-Day, a destroyer gunnery officer briefs his director crews and main battery gunners. In a sealed ship the secret is unfolded, along with exhaustive maps, drawings, and photographs of bombardment targets.
Canadian Minesweeping Squadron 31, supported by U.S. destroyers Emmons and Doyle, clear a bombardment support lane to the Normandy Coast during the night before H-Hour. The tense silence of the scattered moonlit night was broken by the opening of the air attack on Pointe de Hoe, while pathfinders dropped their red and green markers.
As the troops clean their rifles and check equipment, the rubber boat of the demolition team hangs ready for immediate launching from its LST mother ship. These boats were used to carry both men and explosives.
With its deck fully loaded with trucks, halftrucks, jeeps, and trailers, an LST heads for France. Other LSTs can be seen towing their "Rhino" ferries that will be used in shuttle service between the ships and shore, unloading the equipment of the invasion force.
The first assault waves can only wonder what awaits as they stare at the distant coastline which is barely discernible. The boats, suspended on davits, seem part of the dark threat of dawn off the Normandy coast as H-Hour approaches.
Sent ashore the low tide carrying their explosive packs, the men of the demolition team must clear boat channels of obstacles for the invasion force.