American Soldier Crawls through Heavy Surf on Omaha Beach

June 6, 1944 Photograph

All of their training and anticipation in the weeks leading up to D-Day could not adequately prepare the Allies for what they would encounter when they exited their landing craft. First-hand accounts of the beach landings describe confusion and terror. Most soldiers came ashore in knee-deep  to neck-deep water, loaded down with equipment and munitions, all while taking heavy fire from the German guns. For those who made it off the landing craft, these images highlight the chaotic environment the soldiers were walking into.

This doughboy shows how to go through breast high water under heavy artillery and machine gun fire on the French coast.

Omaha Beach defenses