Technician Fourth Grade Joseph F. Gorenc of 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Boards a C-47 

June 1944 Photograph

The paratroopers’ mission on D-Day was to capture vital causeways and villages that would allow them to hold off German reinforcements and protect the flanks of the amphibious landings. In order to accomplish this task, the men carried an assortment of weapons and munitions — usually a pistol, a rifle or sub-machine gun, mortars and anti-tank guns, grenades and mines — in addition to food, radios, personal effects, and most importantly their parachutes. All loaded up, most paratroopers carried more than their own weight in equipment. These images highlight how loaded down allied paratroopers were when they boarded C-47s for the trip to France.

Joseph F Gorence of the 101st Airborne Division boards a C-47