A Collection Of Photographs Shows The True Horror Of D-Day

On 6 June, 1944, thousands of men were brutally killed on the beaches of Normandy.

More than 150,000 soldiers stormed the sands to try and take back north west Europe from the Nazi forces.

But now a book has published a collection of haunting photographs, from one soldier's perspective of the battle through a port hole, to soldiers wading towards the shore under a hail of gunfire, capturing the sheer horror of one of the bloodiest events in the Second World War.

The soldier looks through the port hole as troops wade through the water to the beach. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA
The soldier looks through the port hole as troops wade through the water to the beach. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

Historian Brooke S. Blades, author of The Americans on D-Day and in Normandy: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives, says: "Omaha Beach and other Normandy locations are sacred places to many today.

"The D-Day beaches were in large measure the primary gateways, the low doors in the Atlantic Wall that led, through heroism, suffering and sacrifice, to the liberation of Western Europe.

A group of soldiers injured during the landing. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA
A group of soldiers injured during the landing. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

"To modern eyes, the landscapes associated with those events are memorialised and even sanitized to a point where the reality of those awful days in the summer of 1944 is increasingly hard to visualise.

"Even more regrettably, the people who occupied those landscapes and experienced those days have largely faded in person and public memory.

Thousands of men lost their lives during the D-Day landing. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA
Thousands of men lost their lives during the D-Day landing. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

"This volume proposes to revitalize both landscape and person, at least for the Americans who were there and the civilians they encountered.

"The intent is to reduce the immense scope of the invasion of France to a human scale that is both understandable and moving for the reader."

Blades says he hopes the photographs will remind the world of the sacrifices made by these brave troops during one of the bloodiest periods of the Second World War.

The book includes a collection of photographs from the fateful day. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA
The book includes a collection of photographs from the fateful day. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

He said: "This book is not dedicated to those photographers involved - richly deserving though they may be - but to their subjects and locations.

"Some of the images are reinterpreted or correctly identified as to location or subject for the first time.

Around 2,500 Allied troops lost their lives at Normandy. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA
Around 2,500 Allied troops lost their lives at Normandy. Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

"However, it is hoped that the reader will come to regard this volume as more than a collection of photographs, since the intent is to view them as interpretive documents to enhance a broader understanding of the 'soldiers, sailors and airmen' and others in Normandy."

Sadly D-Day was not the end of the bloodshed, and in the weeks following the bloody landing the Battle of Normandy saw more than 425,000 Allied and German troops killed, wounded or missing.

Featured Image Credit: MEDIADRUMIMAGES / NARA

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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