Into the Jaws of Death

Image Source: US National Archives and Records Administration

Image Source: US National Archives and Records Administration

This story was originally published in August 2012.

The iconic image was made on 6 June 1944 as soldiers from the US Army First Division disembarked at Omaha Beach in Normandy during World War II. Robert F Sargent, Chief Photographer’s Mate,US Army who made this photograph said,“American invaders spring from the ramp of a Coast Guard-manned landing barge to wade those last perilous yards to the beach of Normandy. Enemy fire will cut some of them down. Their ‘taxi’ will pull itself off the sands and dash back to a Coast Guard manned transport for more passengers.”

The whole of the beach at Omaha was controlled by German forces who were perched on cliffs. These forces tore into American troops leading to 2400 casualties. This massacre is one of the primary reasons why the Normandy landings are remembered so well. Despite the casualties, 34,000 troops landed on the war-torn beach that day. The landing operations were the first step towards eventually defeating Germany in May 1945.

Tags: 6 June 1944, August 2012, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Story Behind the Picture, The Normandy Landings, world war II