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D-Day in our fabulous Postcards collection!

Posted by Sean Daly on Jun 5, 2024
American troops exit a landing beach in Normandy

Eighty years ago this week, Allied forces landed on five beaches in Normandy and set out to join up with paratroopers who had landed overnight. We browsed Geneanet’s massive Postcards collection for striking images to commemorate the day, and found these!

June 6, 1944, is a date well remembered in the Allied countries of World War II: after two years of preparations, the logistical event of the century culminated in the landing of tens of thousands of American, British and Canadian troops on five beaches in Normandy, joining paratroopers landed overnight in fields throughout the Cotentin peninsula and on the eastern flank facing Caen. Polish airmen participated, and a Free French commando unit landed as well, but the most furious fighting — especially on Omaha Beach — was borne by the infantry. We’ve browsed the fabulous Geneanet postcards collection (over 850,000 images!) and found some iconic images of the Battle of Normandy to celebrate the anniversary, and to remember the fallen.

D-Day had been planned for June 5, and when it was postponed 24 hours by General Eisenhower due to the weather, troops endured an extra day in cramped conditions on their ships in English ports.
Heavily laden GIs climbed down shipside nets to board their landing craft in rough seas. These simple boats offered no protection to the troops inside once the ramp was lowered in the front in shallow water.
Each ship was carefully planned to send waves of soldiers to specific sectors of each beach. But in some cases, such as on Utah Beach, landings occurred hundreds of yards away from the intended sector due to strong currents
The General Purpose light vehicle or “Jeep” was used in many combat roles during the war, and today, many owners of vintage Jeeps in France bring them to Normandy for the anniversary festivities.
Infantrymen always appreciated a ride on a jeep, truck, tank or half-track like this one exiting a landing beach. Thanks repentor for the postcard.
LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) would beach at receding tide, open the prow doors, and tanks, supply trucks, and other vehicles would roll off to join the battle. At high tide, the ships would refloat, carrying wounded soldiers and German prisoners back to England.
“Beachmasters” directed traffic and organized newly landed men and equipment as anti-barrage balloons discouraged the very few Luftwaffe fighters from strafing the beaches
Villagers knew where the German strong points were and often briefed Allied troops. Thanks repentor for this postcard.
The Normans suffered terribly in the Allied bombardments, but detested the Germans who had forbidden the coastline, so liberating troops were often welcomed with food, drink, flowers… even kisses! Thanks repentor for the postcard.
The key railway junction of Carentan is situated between Utah and Omaha beaches and when American troops won the battle there, the American beachhead was unified. Postcard uploaded by member repentor, thanks!
British General Bernard Montgomery or “Monty” was overall commander of the Allied ground troops, under American General Eisenhower the supreme commander in the theater.
Allied bombers had pounded railway junctions and bridges throughout Normandy in the months before the invasion, to hinder German reinforcements from arriving quickly at the front. However, to hide the Normandy beaches as the destination, raids were organized very far from the area. 20,000 Norman civilians lost their lives before and during the Battle of Normandy.
This vintage postcard shows the rocky outcrop at the Pointe du Hoc of US Army Ranger fame. Erosion has since reduced the size of this feature. Thanks maudmang for the postcard!
The British Hawker Hurricane fighter accompanied the Supermarine Spitfire during the war years and flew over Normandy during the battle, attacking supply trains, German command staff cars, and armored columns. This photo was made before June 1944, as all Allied planes had three broad white stripes added just before D-Day so soldiers would not mistake Allied aircraft for Luftwaffe planes.
Towns in western France soon became accustomed to the rumbling of Sherman tanks in their towns and villages. Thanks lorety for this postcard!
Allied bombardments before and during the Battle of Normandy took a terrible toll on French civilians, with 20,000 dead, oft-forgotten victims of the war.
Railway junctions in Normandy and beyond were repeatedly bombed in 1944, with great loss of life. Thank you to member bellagamba for this image.
Once the Allies broke out of the Norman hedgerows in Argentan, and Hitler squandered his reserves in a risky counterattack with his army decimated in the Falaise pocket, the German front in France collapsed and the path to Paris was open. But that’s another story, for late August! Thanks sleroy and also mcarvin for the postcard!

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Annette LAMBERT (lambertak)  

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Amazing pictures. So many brave men. So much tragedy. And still happening today. When will mankind ever learn?

Daniel LAROCHE (daniellaroche1)  

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My Dad was one of the trainers for the D-Day action. I thank my lucky stars that he was safe in England while all this was happening. He made it home safe and our family had only one casualty from the war my uncle Major John Sullivan of the US Army Air Core.

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