Omaha Beach was one of five Normandy beaches where Allied troops landed on D-Day, 6th June 1944. It was also the deadliest with more than 2,000 American troops killed in action here with many thousands more wounded: and as such, it became known as ‘Bloody Omaha’. In fact, more Allied soldiers died on Omaha Beach than all the other D-Day beaches combined.
These photographs date from 1951 and show what remained on Omaha Beach some seven years after the D-Day landings. In the photograph above the original wooden grave markers in what would become the Normandy American Cemetery are seen with the backdrop of the beach itself and the remains of the blockships that one formed part of the Mulberry Harbour here.
In this photograph some of the remains of the Mulberry Harbour that was destroyed in the great gale in June 1944 can be seen and in the background the blockships and some Phoenix sections which were later used as a breakwater to allow the ‘Gooseberry’ system to be operated on the beach by bringing in ships, unloading the supplies in a safe harbour and taking them straight on to the beach.
The above view of the beach shows the sort of view the Germans had on D-Day from the bluffs, which are close to the American Cemetery. The St Laurent Draw is visible to the left as a sandy track leading to the beach, in the immediate area of Easy Green and East Red sectors and the boundary between where the US 1st and 29th Divisions landed.
This view shows the WN-72 bunker complex at the far end of Omaha Beach and overlooking Dog Green sector which has been immortalised in the film Saving Private Ryan. The bunker had a 50mm gun in it on D-Day with a secondary gun and an 88mm in another bunker close by, with a third bunker on the cliffs behind. All these laid down withering fire on 6th June 1944 into the men from 116th Infantry and the Rangers who landed at this point. The pontoon was part of the Mulberry Harbour that was here and is still in place today.
The WN-72 complex also had an 88mm gun, and this image above is taken from within its bunker looking straight down the beach giving the German gunners view they would have had on D-Day.
Omaha Beach remains one of the most iconic of the D-Day beaches and these images from just a few years after the war give a fascinating insight into what the beach once looked like, and show in stark realism the deadly problems American troops had landing here on 6th June 1944.