WWII evoked a strong sense of duty among young men in America. A majority of them would volunteer to fight in the war, some eager to be of the right age so they could be shipped abroad and fight alongside their fellow men, in the spirit of brotherhood.
At the time, it was considered a shame to be a young man and not be part of the war effort. In this photo you can see how eager the soldiers are to be crossing the English Channel to prepare for the fight in Normandy. An American flag flaps against the zephyr that would carry their eager, yet terrified souls to Normandy for the D-Day invasion.
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.
The Decimation Of A Nearby Town
Operation Overlord unleashed its wrath and destroyed everything in its path. It was a massive force of 156,000 fully-equipped men supported by warships firing continually from a distance. This would leave the shores of Normandy red with blood.
Not too far from the devastation on the beach lay the crumbled city of Saint-Lô. Not unlike the Omaha Beach landing, the streets were strewn with dead people. Death was everywhere, in the hills, under the ruins, its miasma permeating the atmosphere. Saint-Lô was bombarded by 2,000 Allied bombers, destroying 95% of the city.
The First Group To Invade Normandy On D-Day
The first group of men chosen to lead the attacks on Normandy were soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army. They are seen here preparing, as they board their Landing Craft Transport (LCT), aptly named “Channel Fever.” They were destined to cross the English Channel, cruising from South England and landing in France.
The men didn’t cower at the thought of breaking into the beach’s defenses first, taking on the task with pride and honor. They suffered a high casualty rate against a prepared enemy, but they were instrumental in the capture of Formigny and Caumont from the beachhead.