Omaha Beach

Our fellow citizens know about the operation Overlord in the main from the film by Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and a string of computer games, a play on the famous Allied landing on the beach, "Omaha." The exciting thing that Spielberg almost exaggerated the scale of the disaster. Landing on the beach, "Omaha" really looked like hell, and specifically on it the lion's fraction of the losses of the allied forces in the first day of Operation Overlord. A piece of Normandy beach almost cost the Yankees in the 3000 fighter of them 2000 were killed or missing.


Operation Overlord (Lord) was the most large-scale amphibious operation in the history of the world population and the allies marked the opening of a second front in Europe. The total number of units disembarking was approximately 2,876,000 people. Exclusively in the first wave on June 6, on the coast of France have planted 156,000 American, British and Canadian fighter and about 10,000 units for sale.

This operation sought special and hard to conduct a large-scale training of disinformation. Until recently, the Germans were convinced that the landing will be planted in the Pas-de-Calais. Exploration explored every inch of the coast in the expected landing area. For the first time in the history of wars prospecting was so painstakingly. Allied reconnaissance aircraft made thousands of sorties, photographing every inch of the coast.

To identify the full extent of preparation for surgery, we give an example of subsequent inquisitive. At some places exploration from the air is very complicated existence of a developed system of the German defense, then the Allies had to go to extraordinary means. On British radio announcement was made that the Museum of Art and Archaeology Ashmolean asking people to send their pre-war photos and postcards depicting the northern coast of France. Two weeks later, intelligence received thousands of images of French coast. By analyzing these photos, the attention paid to detail. For example, the length of women's skirts while walking through the shallow water to draw conclusions about the relief of the coastal strip. Meticulous work done is allowed to choose more sustainable place for landing troops.

Omaha Beach
Scene from the movie "Saving Private Ryan"

For landing troops were chosen five sectors on the coast of Normandy. They got the name of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Sectors planting Utah and Omaha were assigned to parts of the South American, Gold and Sword for the British, in the sector of Juneau landed Canadians. Of all the sections of planting only in the sector of "Omaha" the Germans were able to provide a more violent resistance. Planting of the first echelon of the beach turned into a bloodbath, and this particular episode was for the Yankees one of the signs of the second World War.

The sector "Omaha"

The plot planting "Omaha" had a length of 6 km. Americans nepoprostu specifically chose this site for landing troops. For many miles around the coast consists of a vertical mountain, and only this six-kilometer strip of coast was applicable for planting people and, most importantly, technology. Naturally this guess and the Germans, who thoroughly reinforced this site. There was equipped with 8 large artillery bunkers, gun emplacements 35 long, 6-mortar pits found 18 anti-tank guns, 45 rocket launchers, 85 machine-gun positions and the mass is anchored 6 tank towers. Preserving the whole is a solid pile of sand dollars, stitching wire, mines, into the water near the shore were driven piles, which were to interfere with the approach of landing craft.

Preserving the presented himself as a pebble beach with bars, which ended a five-meter sand dune scrub, followed by a 200-meter stretched over boggy marsh, behind him was a fifty-meter ridge of hills, on which equipped their main positions Germans. Infantry could climb them without any problems, but for tanks and other vehicles, this was an impossible task. The only way for 4 vehicles were narrow plains, which were cut by streams flowing into them. On the western and eastern sectors of the beach Germans built massive concrete emplacements that were actually immune to artillery — from the sea wall thickness pillboxes reached 5 meters. Mounted in their guns could lead to fire towards the sea, but there were one hundred percent safe from fire naval artillery and kept under fire from certain sectors of the beach.

Omaha Beach
View of the landing site, our days are
Omaha Beach

Five-meter sand dune scrub
Omaha Beach

Waterlogged and saline ridge hills behind it, on the hills were equipped with German positions
Omaha Beach

One of the survivors of the German pillboxes

Planting plan foresaw that at 6:00 am will be held artillery attack on German positions with Allied cruisers, and then in the case were to enter 450 bombers, and after 20 minutes by saving value had to climb 64 amphibian «Sherman — DD». Right behind them on-sparing were to arrive everyday 35 tanks, 16 armored bulldozers that were to clear the shoreline of engineering structures Germans. Coupled with the technique was to have planted the infantry, the beach was divided into 8 plots on any of them had at one company of a total of 8 mouth of the first wave — 1450.

Coupled with the soldiers on Preserving the Posada was a special engineering unit, which consisted of a half-commando sailors, they had to provide passages in minefields, for that they have 30 minutes of time. After an hour on the beach had to arrive units of other waves.


At 6:00 am on the sector, "Omaha" appeared first wave of bombers, but because of the low cloud pilots bombed without seeing goals. All the bombs eventually fell into the depths of the German defense for the strip of coastal fortifications, some even fell at a distance of 3 km. from the shore. The sea was stormy at the time of landing, there was a heavy fog, it's all complicated firing from landing craft and ships cover.

The storm became a prerequisite and that 10 amphibious ships sunk before reaching the shore, some landing craft were saved only by the fact that the Marines are very organized bailing water out of their
helmets. The storm resulted in a failed landing amphibious tanks. Only in the first wave were two barges, each of which carried by 32 tanks «Sherman — DD», which could only have planted tanks with one of these barges. The captain took a different decision on their descent to the water as early as 800 meters from the shore, in the end 27 of the 32 tanks sank immediately, and were able to get to the shore only two cars. Most of the tanks sank with the crew.

When the landing craft approached the shallow water where the depth does not exceed 1.5 meters, have been omitted from the ramp, and began landing infantrymen. The German defense at this point is quite opamyatovalas and met troops with machine gun and artillery fire. Many of the commanders of landing craft, not daring to come closer to the shore, began to lower the ramp before reaching the shallow water. As a result, hundreds of fighters simply drowned. 35 pounds of equipment and heavy seas just did not give them the ability to get to the beach. Wading through the shallow water fighters soon encountered the first obstacle: on annotations they had to go in single file, so as not to run into the laid mines. But such a model of movement only made life easier German machine-gunners, and was able to get to shore just landed only a tenth of that here came under mortar fire tight.

Sappers who were killed artificial obstacles on the beach, too, suffered a severe loss, in addition, in landing they have lost a huge part of their equipment and explosives. From an engineering detachment of 300 men to the coast could reach only 120. Armored bulldozers, which were pinned great hopes, have not justified, only 3 out of 16 were able to reach Omaha Beach, the other Germans were destroyed or sunk even during landing.

Omaha Beach

From the memoirs of Captain Richard Pleasant (2nd Ranger Battalion) took part in the planting. Seventh fighter jumped out of the boat, as well as I did not get a scratch. But the 5-man, jumped out between us, two were killed outright, and three wounded. Here's a lucky man had need be.

South American infantry lying on the shore, pressed heavy fire of German artillery and machine guns, without cover of naval artillery and tanks, evenly accumulating under the cover of sand dunes — the breakwater. Survivors engineers to attempt to clear the passages in minefields and stitching wire. In one of the charges for the clearance of the German shell landed on the spot killed 14 miners. Only one and a half hours after the landing, self-sacrifice and courage of the sappers were able to parachute assault on German fortifications.

By about 10 am, the bulk of the German gun emplacements were destroyed landing, concrete casemates, invulnerable to artillery, infantry were damaged. By this time the fog cleared over the beach, "Omaha", and decreased the excitement of the sea. On the surviving Germans collapsed real barrage of naval artillery fire.

After an afternoon on-sparing began to arrive of the second wave — infantry, artillery, and tanks. But closer to the evening the Americans were able to move into the mainland by only 1.5 km, although the plan is already in the first day invasion bridgehead had to do 5 km. in depth. Even at 6 o'clock in the evening on the bank still had a lot of pockets of German resistance, especially the Germans stubbornly held in the districts of the small fishing village of Le Moulin.

The results

For June 6, the Americans lost only dead and 2,000 missing people, all shallow and beach were strewn with corpses and skeletons of scorched art fighter morale has been undermined. Sappers lacked equipment and explosives to the night on June 7, they were able to defuse the only third beach, which is prevented arrival of reinforcements. But without looking at it for 18 hours on the beach could have planted 7,000 people, and although the first day or planting puzzles have been bungled, she still landing was accomplished.

Sources used:
materials free internet encyclopedia wikipedia

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