Kayden Brust, Kristin Beier

US Troops Landings


The first wave of US landings was scheduled for around 6:30 in the morning, and was ordered to have 96 tanks, the Special Engineer Task Force, and eight companies of assault infantry.
With speeds of 5 mph a strong current was flowing on that morning from west to east. This created problems because all the troops were landing further east, some even landed where there was nothing there to provide protection.
The soldiers here were faced with the strongest German resistance, and it was the deadliest D-Day landing, with the most casualties.


The Beaches


The objective of the Omaha landing was to allow the soldiers to more south by securing a beachhead between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire river. They also wanted to link the VII Corps to the easy through the small town of Isigny.
There were four sectors of Omaha beach and they were given code names: Charlie, Dog, Easy and Fox.
Omaha Beach was around 7,000 yards long with a tidal range that was around 300 yards between the low and high tide. At four different locations on the beach there was small valleys that offered protected exits off the beach. These valleys were the only way for armor to reach high ground. There are three farming villages surrounding the beach that are: St. Laurent, Colleville and Vierville.
The enemies had a good advantage due to the crescent curve of the shoreline, which allowed for perfect fields of fire to protect against landing troops.
There were also 8 concrete casements, 35 pillboxes which contained various guns, and machine guns placed around the beach.

101st Airbourne

Operation Neptune
The 101st division went to take their positions west of Utah Beach. Their mission was to anchor the corps’ southern flake and to eliminate the German’s secondary beach defenses. This would then allow the seaborne forces of the 4th Infantry Division to continue inland.
fog caused the planes to break formation so they missed landing zones and had problems finding their units
Despite all of the struggles the men faced they never gave up on their mission. The soldiers had secured the beach exits in their zones and contacted the 4th Division’s landing forces by night

By June 14th the 101st Division had been successful in linking Utah and Omaha, along with landing forces.
The 101st were then transferred to VII Corps to be responsible for the southwest flank where they continued to fight in northern France for 3 weeks. Finally in July they were ordered back to England to begin a new mission.

verified 2,499 American deaths out of 4413 total

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Kenneth Trott

“I was born in Ilford, London, England on the 28th of December 1922. I volunteered for the RAF in April 1941, age 18 and joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in September 1941 as a Trainee Cadet Pilot. During my training, I held the rank of Leading Aircraftsman. I did my initial training on ground subjects at Torquay, Devon, England, before being posted overseas to Canada for flying training. I went solo at Windsor Mills Airfield near Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada flying Fleet Finch Biplanes. Later I was posted to St. Hubert, Montreal, for advanced flying on North American A.T. 6 Trainer. In September of 1942, I received my pilots' wings and was also commissioned as a pilot officer. I was finally demobilized in November 1946 in the substantive rank of Flight Lieutenant. The blackboard was then unveiled to reveal the proposed landings, etc. We were told to turn in early, as we should be on call from approximately 4 a.m. the next morning. Needless to say, the roar of aircraft going overhead towards France made sleep almost impossible in our tents. We all took an early breakfast and reported to our various dispersals, where the ground crew were already running up the Sabre engines of our Typhoons and then refueling them while we awaited the first calls to briefing and also listened to the BBC radio broadcasts. My squadron, 197 was first involved at 0710, eight aircraft being led by Wing Commander Baker, who later lost his life over Normandy on the 16th of June. They attacked targets in a low level attack south of Bayeux and all returned safely at 0820. As soon as the aircraft from the first operation of the day had landed and taxied in, they were surrounded by both ground crew and the other pilots on standby, who were checking firstly to see if the muzzle (the mouth of the cannon) covers had been blown off, which would indicate that each of the four 20mm cannons had been fired, and then if there was any flak damage to the aircraft. On my return to Needs Oar Point, I remained on call until 1750 hours when eight of us were briefed to carry out a reconnaissance south of Caen. My log book indicates that this involved low level bombing on an emergency supply dump, which was left with black smoke and flames coming from the target area. n all, during the ten weeks of the Battle of Normandy, 150 Typhoon pilots lost their lives, while many others were taken prisoners of war, myself included. To commemorate this battle, and in particular the part the Typhoon played, a memorial has been erected near the village of Noyers-Bocage (France) about ten miles southwest of Caen."

James Nannini

"My name is James Nannini. I was born July 22nd 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. I entered the Army, in 1943 and took my basic training at Camp Walters, Texas, which was an infantry replacement training center. I was discharged at Camp Butler, North Carolina in November of 1945. During my combat time I served in Companies C and F in the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. My division landed on D-Day, on June 6th ,1944, at Utah beach, France. I was not in the initial landing as I went to the United Kingdom as a replacement in January of 1944. I received additional training until the end of May of 1944 and then in the early part of June was shipped on to Southampton, in preparation to cross the channel. I was still not assigned to a unit then. We loaded a ship and headed to Utah beach. That took a number of days, as I recall, loading the ship and to get going. The sea was rather choppy. We disembarked from the ship down rope ladders to a waiting landing craft. I was one of the first replacements to the 4th Division. I can recall a constant roar of airplanes overhead as the bombers were making their runs. I was assigned to the 4th Division as a rifleman. We landed with our M-1 rifles, a number of bangalores, ammunition, and we were dressed in impregnated fatigues, including leggings, socks and shoes. This was for our protection in the event of a gas attack. We also had a backpack and gas masks. The clothing was warm and it was very uncomfortable because of the impregnation. It had a very bad odor. he landing craft dropped us off in about one foot of water, near the beach, and we received small arms fire and mortar fire, it was quite hectic. I was really frightened at that time and felt lonely as I looked around and knew no one. I saw a lot of other members of the 4th Division and one of the worst things I experienced was the first deceased American that I saw. It upset me very, very, much. We then moved on inland, into the hedgerows. We were in one hedgerow and the enemy was in the other. They could hear us, we could hear them, there was a lot of shooting. I will never forget the first night as we were dug in along the edge of the hedgerows when darkness fell. A plane came over and dropped flares. Those flares hung up there on parachutes and they made so much light that it looked like it was high noon. The flares seemed to last forever. Then the rumors started, from one fellow to the other, that after the flares, photos were taken and the fighters, bombers, artillery and everything else would start coming in. I don't recall, I don't think, that we got anything that night. After the invasion, the fighting inland was very intense. We captured a number of towns. I don't remember any of the names but they are right off the coast. We encountered 88's, screaming mimies, burp guns, and all kind of other mortar fire, everything, they threw everything at us. I remember that our next objective was to capture Cherbourg, around 10 - 15 miles away. I never got to Cherbourg as I was wounded on June 25th, in the outskirts of that city. I received a rather severe leg wound with a mortar shell that landed just behind me and killed a man that was immediately to my rear. I was taken to a field hospital for surgery and the day after I was flown to Oxford, England to a general hospital for additional surgery. I was hospitalized until mid October."

John G. Burkhalter

“I entered France on D-Day with the ‘Fighting First Division.’ We were all highly courageous, well-trained and experienced men. The First Division was the first to enter France during World War I and the first to enter France during this war; we were the assault troops in the American sector on D-Day. There aren’t many pictures of the First Division because it was too hot for photography that morning. When I landed, I had the impression that I would never leave that ground, I thought this was going to be the place that I was laid to rest. As I stood in line waiting to get off the LCI ro a smaller craft to go into shore, I was looking toward land and saw a large shell fall right on a landing craft full of men. I have never prayed so much, I prayed that I would get to go home and see my wife, my kids.. our craft was luckily spared and we made it to the shore. The enemy had a long time to fix up the beach. The beach was covered with large pebbles to prevent tank movements, and mines were everywhere. The enemy was well dug in and had set up well prepared positions for machine guns and had well chosen places for sniping. Everything was to their advantage and to our disadvantage, except one thing, the righteous cause for which we are fighting - liberation and freedom. For the moment our advantage was in the abstract and theirs was in the concrete. I walked over men who had been killed fighting for their country,It was an awful scene and I never want to see it again. In from the beach were high hills which we had to climb. We crawled most of the way up. As we filed by those awful scenes going up the hill and moving inland, I prayed hard for those suffering men, scattered here and there and seemingly everywhere. We filed over the hill as shells were falling on the beach back of us, meaning death for others who were still coming in. Later, one of the soldiers told me that on this occasion he saw a shell land right on top of a wounded man and blow him to bits. Before going over the top of the hill we crouched for awhile close to the ground just below the top. While lying there I did most of my praying. The shells were falling all around and how I knew that God alone was able to keep them away from us. I shall never forget those moments. I am sure that during that time I was drawn very close to God. On the afternoon of the second day we were quite a way inland and two of my assistants and I were out trying to locate bodies of dead soldiers. We always take care of the American dead first and then the enemy dead. This was the second day and we were still fighting our way; inland, moving fast. Since we did not have any vehicles yet to send bodies back, all we could do on the move was to put the bodies in mattress covers and leave them in a marked place to be taken care of later by the rear echelons. Our business was to keep fighting on inland and pushing the enemy back. On the roadside my assistants and I saw a dead German officer. He was a tall fellow; must have been about six feet four. We turned him over and stretched him out the best we could. I looked at his face and was surprised to see how young he looked. No doubt he was in his twenties but he had the face of a boy. I thought: surely, this fellow was too young to die. It almost seemed that he had asked for it. I became conscious of an awful evil force behind it all to cause a young fellow like this to seemingly hunger and delight to kill and be killed. We slid his body into a mattress cover and left him by the side of the road."