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Opening the Attack

The Invasion of Normandy

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D-Day, The Invasion of Normandy

With Germany in control of the majority of continental Europe throughout World War II, the allies of Great Britain (with their commonwealth countries) and America understood that a force would need to cross the channel from England to liberate those nations under oppression.  The invasion took place in Normandy, France on 6 June 1944 after years of planning and preparation.  Landing in the face of determined resistance, the Allies established a beachhead, defeated counter-attacks, and eventually broke out into a fast-moving campaign in France.


Instrumental to success at Normandy was the naval and amphibious contingents. In preparation for D-Day, allied forces trained and planned for amphibious operations out of ports in southern England - minesweepers cleared the channel of mines; battleships and destroyers bombarded enemy fortification; patrol aircraft attacked German submarines that operated in the English Channel. During the actual invasion, navy-manned landing craft shuttled troops ashore in the face of fierce enemy resistance. Upon landing, Navy beach battalions served under fire to facilitate the orderly flow of men, vehicles, and supplies from cargo and amphibious ships offshore. Navy field hospitals also provided aid to the wounded and transported them to ships for the voyage to hospitals in England.


Through all phases of the operation, Navy combat artists Dwight Shepler, Mitchell Jamieson and Alexander Russo observed and recorded different aspects of this vast and complicated campaign. The artwork they created helps convey a sense of the feelings and emotions behind the events. This exhibit presents a fraction of the art work produced before, during, and after the invasion by these three men.