Into the Jaws of Death: United States Troops Wading Through Water and Nazi Gunfire


This photograph from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, shows American soldiers landing in Normandy, France, on the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the long-awaited invasion to liberate continental Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany. Most of the troops that came ashore were from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, with smaller contingents from France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands. The invading forces confronted formidable obstacles. German defenses included thousands of soldiers dug into bunkers, artillery, mines, barbed wire, machine guns, and hazards to prevent landing craft from coming ashore. Allied casualties (killed, wounded, missing in action, and taken prisoner) on June 6 totaled over 10,000--6,603 U.S., about 2,700 British, and 946 Canadian--of which 2,500 were killed. However, by the end of the day 155,000 Allied soldiers were ashore and in control of more than 200 square kilometers of the French coast.

Last updated: January 8, 2018