On D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, Omaha Beach was bleak. U.S. V Corps under the direct command of Major General Leonard Gerow would sustain the most casualties by far of any of the five invasion beaches. Between 2,000 and 4,700 U.S. servicemen would lose their lives on the bloody sands of Omaha.
Had U.S. forces failed in taking Omaha, the entire invasion would have been a disaster as Utah would have been cut off from Sword, Juno, and Gold. Fortunately, after a long and brutal battle with Army forces caught between the shoreline and the bluffs overlooking the beach, elements of V Corps were able to break through stiff German resistance and rush inland.
Killing bluff overlooking Omaha Beach
The beach assaults on D-Day occurred at five locations. Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches lay to the east. Gold and Sword were led by the English. Canada led the way at Juno. The U.S. Army assaulted the two beaches to the west, Omaha and Utah, with Utah being the western-most invasion site.
M4 Sherman Tank
Leading the assault of Utah Beach was the son of a president, General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. General Roosevelt hid from his superiors a heart condition that would lead to his death just a little over five weeks after the invasion.
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
The assault forces at Utah met with surprisingly light resistance. There were 197 casualties out of the 21,000 men who landed there.
Utah Beach Navy Memorial
Those who landed on the beach just to their east were not nearly as fortunate. Next up in this series is the assault on Omaha. Until then, here are a more photos of Utah:
Utah Beach Memorial