by Hailey Hollinshead & Megan Kay
Tuesday, June 6th 1944 at 6:30am
Most heavily guarded beach of the Atlantic wall
Of all the beaches that were invaded, this was the largest. It was 6 miles long.
Rommel had his troops build “dragon’s teeth” on the beach. Dragon’s teeth were built to take out any landing aircraft. The teeth even had explosives.
Germans were stationed in “resistance nests” on cliffs off the beach. German positions were all connected by trenches for easier movement
Us troops were going to invade at 6:30 am, June 6th, 1944.
Troops from the US 1st army were led by Omar Bradley
The plan was to invade the beach with amphibious Sherman tanks, and land infantry troops alongside them.
Sherman tanks would’ve allowed for much more protection and a major blow to the Germans. However, the Sherman tanks never made it because they were released from the landing crafts too far away from the beach.
Another problem was that many units were landed in the wrong place. Tides and winds carried the landing crafts off target. This caused a lot of confusion
German guns were strategically placed, and many died while trying to get off the beach onto the seawall.
Americans escaped the beach by scaling cliffs
Naval craft attacked german gun emplacement
- By nightfall, Americans had gained a hold on the beach and surrounding areas 34,000 troops had landed by the end of the day. There were 2,400 casualties in the battle of Omaha.
furthest west of the 5 beaches on D-day & located at the base of the Cotentin Peninsula
necessary to ensure the early capture of Cherbourg (vital port)
target was about 3 miles wide - it was made up of sandy dunes
fortifications were weak compared to Omaha
scheduled for 06.30
Allied Force came from the U.S. 4th Infantry Division
paratroopers were dropped at 01.30 and caused the chaos the Allied Forces desired
the airborne drop worked well but the seaborne landing went unexpectedly - the strong ocean currents sent the crafts 2000 meters off their intended target
20,000 men landed along with 1,700 military vehicles
- casualties: less than 300
101st training for their drop on Normandy
paratroopers preparing for jump the morning before D-Day
the sky was dark and littered with planes and troopers and chutes
101st Airborne Division was activated after the U.S. entry into World War II, 15 August 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana
In October 1942 the division moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and joined by the 502d PIR, began its training under the Airborne Command
On May 27, 1944, the paratroopers of 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne waited at the railway station in Hungerford, England to be taken to their D-Day marshaling area.
Played an essential role in D-Day (June 6th, 1944)
The paratroopers jumped in the dark the morning before H-Hour to secure positions west of Utah beach.
The 101st encountered fog and antiaircraft fire, which forced some of the planes to break formation. Many paratroopers landed miles away from one another, often without their equipment due to poor weather conditions, and searched for their squad mates in the dark, joining up with men from other companies and divisions as they made their way toward the bridges.
The objectives of the unit on D-Day were to secure the nearby towns of Carentan and Ste Mere Eglese along with capturing the bridges between St. Martin-de-Varreville and Pouppeville.
The commanders in charge were MG William C. Lee, BG/MG Maxwell D. Taylor and BG Anthony C. McAuliffe.
The unit’s WWII Campaigns included Normandy, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.
They were nicknamed the Screaming Eagles and known for their motto “Rendezvous with Destiny”.
mascot was the Bald Eagle a.k.a. Old Abe
The map below was constructed by survivors. They placed a pin on a map suggesting where they ended up landing after the weather issues faced on D-Day.
Roy Arnn - Battle at Omaha Beach
Thomas Valence’s boat was in the A company, and he was in the first wave to attack the beaches. He recalls that the tide was low, and they could plainly see the defenses the Germans had set up. No Germans were to be seen, but they were firing rapidly. Thomas was a rifle sergeant, and him and others had to abandon the plan that they had practiced for so many months in England, and just try to survive. They were trained to move forward, crouch, and fire. However, nobody knew what to fire at. Thomas saw a huge tracer, and says he never knew that gun emplacement could be so large. He had no clue what was going on around him, and it was extremely hard to stay standing in the rough waters, and was forced to abandon his heavy equipment. As he was trying to get his balance, he was shot through his hand twice. However, he still moved forward. His rifle was jammed, and he had to use a carbine. He had no hope of taking out any emplacements with a .30-caliber rifle. He was hit again in his thigh, breaking his hip bone, and in his back. He collapsed further up the beach against a wall. Private Henry G. Witt said to him “Sergeant, they’re leaving us here to die like rats. Just to die like rats.” He had to sit there and watch many of his friends wash up on shore who had died, and more than just a few of than had been blown to pieces.