The Invasion of Normandy: D-Day, 6 June 1944

 

First Aid Station on the Beach
Mitchell Jamieson #219
Watercolor, June 1944
88-193-HT

 

These wounded were awaiting evacuation to the ships, but the difficulty was in getting craft to the landing beaches to take them. It was low tide, when many landing craft were stranded in the shallows by the swiftly subsiding water. In the meanwhile, the medics did what they could for the wounded and tried to get them out of the line of fire. A trawler was set afire just behind the sea wall and exploded spasmodically with a shower of steel fragments whining overhead. One man died, and a corpsman covered him with a blanket. Wounded were being brought back from the fighting inland, but at this stage of the invasion the wounded did not receive anything like prompt care and evacuation, although the medics and corpsmen did everything in their power.

 

 

Heavies on Their Way Home After Raid on France
Alexander P. Russo #37
Gouache, 1944
88-198-AK

 

Men in the foreground were remnants of a U.S. Navy beach battalion which suffered heavy losses during the initial Normandy landing.

 

 

The Beach, German Planes Overhead
Mitchell Jamieson #217
Ink & watercolor, June 1944
88-193-HR

 

Partly hidden by the smoke of a burning landing craft, four German planes, bent on bombing and strafing, made a sudden appearance over this American-held beach. The defenders scrambled for cover as an anti-aircraft gun prepared to go into action.

 

 

Diving For Cover
Alexander P. Russo #17
Watercolor, 1944
88-198-Q

 

Men dove for foxholes or bomb craters as enemy planes strafed the Allied beachhead on D-Day + 2 (June 8, 1944).

 

 

Foxhole on a Normandy Beach
Alexander P. Russo #19
Gouache, 1944
88-198-S

 

Beach battalion men and shore troops sought refuge in foxholes along the beach. Every night since D-Day, raids by enemy planes on the allied beachhead became an accepted discomfort. The men crouched, laid or sat in foxholes all night and caught whatever few precious hours of sleep they could before dawn. Some Allied casualties in this area were inflicted by friendly low anti-aircraft fire.

 

 

An American Soldier Sleeps
Alexander P. Russo #22
Ink with wash, 1944
88-198-V

 

 

The first rise in terrain off Omaha Beach was studded with foxholes, shell-holes and bomb craters left behind by troops that participated in the initial landings on D-Day. This soldier was typical of thousands who found what comfort and shelter they could after their landing on a hostile beach. Dreams of home, fatigue, and the realization of where he was and what he had been through marked his tired, sleeping face.

 

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