This post was compiled by Harry Kidd. Harry is a volunteer at the National Archives working on textual and photographic digitization projects. Harry is a former Navy photographer and came across this story while researching military photographers.
On June 6, 1944 tens of thousands of American servicemen landed on the Normandy Beaches. The National Archives’ Special Media Division preserves thousands of photographs, maps, and motion picture films related to D-Day. This blog highlights records related to the experiences of the men in the 2nd and 6th Naval Beach Battalions who landed on Omaha and Utah Beach 75 years ago.
The map below of Omaha Beach is held in the Cartographic Branch. The version on the left has been annotated by the author to show the approximate boundaries of the D-Day beaches. The version on the right is a copy of the original held in the Cartographic Branch in part of the series, Annotated Maps, ca. 1944 – ca. 1944.
Motion Picture Records
The following clip from United States Coast Guard Report – #4. “Normandy Invasion.” The motion picture was photographed by U.S. Coast Guard Cameramen – with additional scenes from U.S. Navy and Army Air Forces. The twenty minute production traces the preparations for the Normandy Landings through the Invasion on June 6th and the immediate aftermath.
Another film documenting D-Day is titled, Invasion of Europe (Normandy). This film comes from the Navy and is part of the series, Moving Images Relating to Military Activities, ca. 1947-1980. An excerpt of that film, annotated by the author, can be seen below:
Still Photographic Records
The photographs below come from two series in the Still Picture Branch. They are Coast Guard Activities, Facilities, and Personalities (26-G) and General Photographic File of the Department of Navy (80-G). These represent only a small portion of D-Day photographs now preserved at the National Archives.
The Unwritten Record has highlighted a number of other special media records related to D-Day, including color photographs of D-Day and the first D-Day Documentary, among others available here. In addition, there are many textual records related to the servicemen who landed on the beaches of Normandy. Among these records are the World War II Command Files, which was the inspiration for this blog.