If it weren’t a time of great conflict, one would think this photograph simply shows US Rangers from E Company, 5th Ranger Battalion to be just a bunch of neighborhood boys having a field day someplace nice. They boarded their Landing Craft Assault Vessel in Weymouth harbor on June 4th, 1944, without a trace of worry on their faces.
It would be a major turning point in the war, and these soldiers were part of that effort. First Sergeant Sandy Martin was killed instantly during the Omaha Beach landing. Corporal John Loshiavo, Technician Fifth Grade Joseph Markovich, and Private First Class Frank E. Lockwood are seen here holding onto a Bazooka, a 60mm mortar, a Garand rifle, and – most importantly – a pack of Lucky Strikes.
Into The Devil's Den
On a fateful day that would end with over 10,000 deaths, photographer Robert F. Sargent was able to take a stirring photo that shows US soldiers disembarking from their landing crafts to wade through sea water towards the beaches of Normandy.
The photographer was just arriving at Omaha Beach along with the soldiers, and he aptly captioned it “Into The Jaws Of Death,” where many were killed in action even before they could raise their weapons. Some found themselves lost in fear, psychologically broken down, dead within a minute of disembarkation. Sargent’s photograph was eventually colorized to bring it closer to a semblance of reality.
Helping Troops On Omaha Beach
Most of the photographs representing Operation Overlord are of young soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy. They are symbolic of the rush of emotions at the time, vivid, and frantic. This photo, however, shows us how these soldiers are also trained to look out for one another. A humanitarian side to the war.
These servicemen are from the 5th or 6th Engineer Special Brigade. The photo was taken on June 6th, 1944. They are easily recognized through the white arc printed on their helmets and their jump boots. The Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 30 in the background was part of the Force O-2 attached to the 116th Infantry Division.
Getting Ready For D-Day
The Allied Forces had their eyes set on Normandy. To win the war, they knew they had to tackle the beach fronts, and from there push tactically toward France. They were ready to give whatever it took to gain that strategic advantage, even if it meant losing thousands of lives in a single day.
It also meant that they needed to train as hard as they could to perfect the execution of Operation Overlord. This photo shows US troops of the 7th Naval Beach Battalion training in Britain for the D-Day landing in 1944.
Operation Overlord And The Canadian Infantry
The silver lining of the Second World War was that it united many countries to rally behind the Big Three (the UK, the Soviet Union, and the United States) against the Axis powers. This would mark the time when leaders had to take a stand to quench the insatiable thirst of evil regimes; the birth of an alliance that would keep us safe up to this day.
This picture shows soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division patrolling the vicinity of Juno Beach. They arrived for Operation Overlord 14,000 strong on June 6, 1944, landing on the outskirts of Bernieres-sur-Mer. Unfortunately, 340 of them would die during the war effort.