Normandy landings: A day of reckoning, June 6

6 JUN 2014
June 6, 1944 was a day that challenged and defined the essence of what it means to live in freedom. The D-Day landings in Normandy saw the largest seaborne invasion in history and played a key role in the eventual Allied victory in the second world war. Looking back 70 years on the carefully planned exercise, it is tempting to see it as grand theatre, a bloody drama of epic proportions. But up close, the numbing events of that eerie dawn have reverberated through the decades, wreaking a heavy toll on the lives of the young, jangled troops who survived and their families. Casualty estimates for Allied forces on D-Day range from 2,500 to more than 5,000 dead. Photos: EPA, Reuters, APDD11


German defences.


A landing party struggles ashore on Omaha beach.



British troops keep watch over a destroyed square in Caen several weeks later.


The body of a German soldier in Caen’s Place Du Marche.


An aerial view of the landing on Sword beach taken by a British reconnaissance Mustang aircraft.


The heat of the battle on Sword beach.


The heat of the battle on Sword beach.


US troops secure a beachhead after the initial landing in Normandy.


A nervous wait aboard a US coastguard vessel on the eve of D-Day.


US troops disembark at Omaha beach.