Saturday, June 7, 2014

6 June, 1944 – D-Day 70th Anniversary: The World Remembers. Pictures taken then and now

On June 6, 1944, allied soldiers descended on the beaches of Normandy for D-Day - an operation that turned the tide of World War II against the Nazis, marking the beginning of the end of the conflict. Today, as many around the world prepare to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landings, pictures of Normandy's now-touristy beaches stand in stark contrast to images taken around the time of the invasion.

But while the landscape has changed, the memory of the momentous event lives on. Reuters photographer Chris Helgren compiled a series of archive pictures taken during the 1944 invasion and then went back to the same places, to photograph them as they appear today.

The 2nd Battalion U.S. Army Rangers, tasked with capturing the German heavy coastal defence battery at Pointe du Hoc, west of the D-Day landing zone, march to their landing craft in Weymouth, England, on June 5, 1944.


Tourists walk along the beachfront in the Dorset holiday town of Weymouth, England, on July 13, 2013. The port was the departure point for thousands of Allied troops who took part in the D-Day landings.


Scroll down to see the rest of the pictures.
Click on the pictures for bigger and better views.



U.S. troops wade ashore from a Coast Guard landing craft at Omaha Beach during the Normandy D-Day landings near Vierville sur Mer on June 6, 1944.


Tourists take part in a land sailing class on the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer on Aug. 22, 2013.


U.S. reinforcements land on Omaha beach during the Normandy D-Day landings near Vierville sur Mer on June 6, 1944.


Youths enjoy the sunshine on the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013.


A Cromwell tank leads a British Army column from the 4th County of London Yeomanry, 7th Armoured Division, inland from Gold Beach after landing on D-Day in Ver-sur-Mer on June 6, 1944.


A couple walk inland from the former D-Day landing zone of Gold Beach where British forces came ashore in 1944, in Ver-sur-Mer on Aug. 23, 2013.


German prisoners of war march along the Juno Beach landing area to a ship taking them to England, after they were captured by Canadian troops at Bernieres Sur Mer on June 6, 1944.


A tourist sunbathes on a former Juno Beach landing area where Canadian troops came ashore on D-Day at Bernieres Sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013.


U.S. Army troops make a battle plan in a farmyard amid cattle, which were killed by artillery bursts, near the D-Day landing zone of Utah Beach in Les Dunes de Varreville on June 6, 1944.


Farmer Raymond Bertot, who was 19 when allied troops came ashore in 1944, poses on his property near the former D-Day landing zone of Utah Beach in Les Dunes de Varreville on Aug. 21, 2013.


U.S. Army reinforcements march up a hill past a German bunker overlooking Omaha Beach after the D-Day landings near Colleville sur Mer on June 18, 1944.


Youths hike up a hill past an old German bunker overlooking the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha Beach near Colleville sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013.


A crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on the waterfront some time after Canadian forces came ashore on a Juno Beach D-Day landing zone in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France, in June 1944.


Tourists enjoy the sunshine on the former Juno Beach D-Day landing zone, where Canadian forces came ashore, in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German troops holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944.


A U.S. flag lies as a marker on a destroyed bunker two days after the strategic site overlooking D-Day beaches was captured by U.S. Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, France, on June 8, 1944. The gun emplacement was captured by seaborne Rangers, who arrived in the early hours to find that the German artillery it housed had been moved inland. The guns were later located and destroyed.


An Italian tourist views a bunker at a strategic site overlooking the D-Day beaches which had been captured by U.S. Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc on Aug. 22, 2013.


Canadian troops patrol along the destroyed Rue Saint-Pierre after German forces were dislodged from Caen in July 1944. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German forces holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings in Normandy.


Shoppers walk along the rebuilt Rue Saint-Pierre, which was destroyed following the D-Day landings, in Caen on Aug. 23, 2013.


German prisoners of war captured after the D-Day landings in Normandy are guarded by U.S. troops at a camp in Nonant-le-Pin on Aug. 21, 1944.


A farm field remains where German prisoners of war were interned following the D-Day landings in Normandy in Nonant-le-Pin on Aug. 24, 3013.


Peter Macdiarmid also has taken photographs of locations in France and England to match with archive images taken before, during and after the D-day landings. The Allied invasion to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during the second world war took place on 6 June 1944. Operation Overlord was the largest seaborne invasion in military history, with more than 156,000 Allied troops storming the beaches of France.

May 1944: Ammunition stored in the town square of Moreton-in-Marsh shortly before D-day.


12 May 2014: A view of the high street in the English town today.


June 1944: Boats full of US troops wait to leave Weymouth to take part in Operation Overlord. This location was used as a launching place for Allied troops participating in the invasion of Nazi-occupied France on D-day.


5 April 2014: A view of the harbour of the English town today.


June 1944: American craft of all styles pictured at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion.


7 May 2014: A view of the beach near Colleville-sur-Mer, France.


6 June 1944: Royal Marine Commandos of Headquarters, 4th Special Service Brigade, make their way from LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry Small) onto 'Nan Red' Beach at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer.


6 May 2014: A view of the sea in the Juno beach area today.


6 June 1944: Troops of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division land at Juno Beach on the outskirts of Bernières-sur-Mer on D-day.


5 May 2014: A view of the seafront and beach in Normandy today. 340 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the battle for the beachhead.


June 1944: German prisoners are guarded by British soldiers from the 2nd Army on Juno Beach. 


8 May 2014: A view of the beach in Bernières-sur-Mer in Normandy today.


6 June 1944: A Canadian soldier directs traffic in Bernières-sur-Mer. 14,000 Canadian soldiers had landed at nearby Juno Beach.


5 May 2014: A view of Notre-Dame Nativity church today.


12 June 1944: A group of American soldiers stand in the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, which was liberated by paratroopers of the 501st and 506th Regiments of the 101st Airborne Division.


7 May 2014: A view of the old village fountain today.


June 1944: A French armoured column passing through Sainte-Mère-Église receives a warm welcome from its inhabitants.


7 May 2014: A view of the high street today.


July 1944: United States Army trucks and jeeps drive through the ruins of Saint-Lo.


7 May 2014: A view of the roadway in the town today. Saint-Lo was almost totally destroyed by 2,000 Allied bombers when they attacked German troops stationed there during Operation Overlord.


All credit to the photographers who made all these possible :)

Related posts:
June 5, 2009 – Getting ready for D-Day (group pictures of 1/6 scale WWII American paratroopers HERE)
June 6, 2009 – June 6, 1944: D-Day post in my toy blog HERE
June 7, 2009 – Dragon Models Limited (DML) WWII US 29th Infantry Division soldier "Mike Connolly" (D-Day) reviewed HERE
June 8, 2009 – BBi Elite Force WWII 63rd Anniversary of D-Day Limited Edition Private Vince Neiheisel "Vince" posted HERE
June 9, 2009 – Getting ready for the break out posted HERE

5 comments:

Kaido said...

Kudos to you, Alex, for honoring the veterans who fought and died to keep the world safe.

humanbeingill said...

Unbelievable pictures... Just beautiful.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

They certainly are :)

The Rebel said...

Great pictures Alex...thx for posting them.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Most welcome, "rebel" :) I just wanted to share these