Today is 6th June: the anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces landed on the Normandy coastline. D-Day and Normandy has prompted thousands of books, and during the campaign many thousands of photos were taken on both sides of the battlefield. These are a small selection of rarely seen images.
1. Rommel’s Asparagus, Utah Beach
This US Army Photographer is exaamining one of the many Rommel’s Asparagus that littered the D-Day beaches in 1944. Made from wooden poles angled to hit the bottom of ships or landing craft, they were topped with either a Teller Mine (as seen here) or even WW1 period shells looted from captured arsenals. A few stumpy remains of these survive on the Normandy coastline but most were removed in the post-D-Day period or just after WW2.
2. Gliders in a Normandy Field, 1944
This photograph was taken from the cockpit of a US Army scout plane flying over the D-Day Landing Zones of Airborne troops around St Mere Eglise. Both the British made Horsa glider and American made Waco glider are seen here; US Airborne forces used them both on D-Day.
3. Sherman on a Bailey Bridge, Caen 1944
The Sherman Tank was the mainstay of Allied armour during the Normandy campaign. This photograph shows an M4A2 Sherman, most likely in Canadian use, on a Bailey Bridge on the Caen canal in July 1944. The Bailey Bridge, an amazing piece of British engineering, was used extensively in the latter part of WW2 and in Normandy was extremely useful for crossing the many waterways where bridges had been destroyed.
4. German Paratroopers Grave, Hill 192
Hill 192 was located near to St Lo and an area of protracted fighting in June-July 1944. The US 2nd Infantry Division was particularly heavily involved here in an attack on 11th July 1944 when they faced Fallschirmjäger from the III./FJR. 9 and I./Fjr. 5. This photo shows one of the temporary battlefield graves on Hill 192.
5. British and American Troops in Chambois, August 1944
As the Battle of Normandy came to an end in August 1944 the Allies attempted to trap the German forces in the Falaise Pocket. In the town of Chambois the American and British forces finally met up to close the pocket in August 1944. In this photo a British Morris C8 Quad gun tractor advances ahead of a Crusader gun tractor, indicating these were two vehicles from an artillery unit, possibly a 17-pounder anti-tank regiment. The American troops appeared to be from a Reconnaissance unit.