D-Day, Normandy: On the Beach
USS Arkansas shells the German position all day, ably supported by the French cruisers, George Leygues and Montcalm. Attack transports fill the horizon as assault waves stream in under the heavy guns of the battle fleet.
One of the spectacular actions of D-Day was the duel between the twisting snarling USS Emmons, a destroyer, and mobile 88 mm German guns on the Normandy cliffs near Port-en-Bessin. While searching out artillery which had been raking the support waves on the beach, she poured out 250 rounds of five-inch shells in the gun emplacements.
The lovely 15th-century spire at Colleville-Sur-Mer, Normandy, dominated a view of Omaha Beachhead, and was a well-wired observation post for German gunfire. The USS Emmons demolished the position through some highly accurate shooting at noon of D-Day.
At about three in the afternoon of D-Day, along the sea wall at the easternmost of the two American beaches, men have dug themselves in to await the return of the boats to evacuate the dead and wounded. Enemy batteries constantly pound the beach positions.
The sudden appearance of German planes on strafing runs through the smoke of burning landing craft and equipment sends troops scrambling for cover.
While waiting for evacuation to the ships, the wounded are treated by medics, who do what they can and try to get casualties out of the line of fire.
The crew's quarters on the LSTs are used for treating both the American and German wounded evacuated from the beach.
Early D-Day morning, the survivors and casualties from a minesweeper that was sunk the preceding evening were brought on board. They were picked up and given emergency first aid by another minesweeper, and then transferred to an LST acting as a temporary hospital ship, with operating rooms set up in the rear of the tank deck.