This article is adapted from Craig Symonds’ book Operation Neptune: The D-Day Landings and the Allied Invasion of Europe (Oxford University Press, 2014).
The first Allied soldier stepped ashore on Omaha Beach at 0640 on 6 June 1944, and immediately found himself in a virtual hell of machine-gun and artillery fire. “Drenching fire” from a naval bombardment, which was supposed to have softened up the beach and demoralized defenders, had been too brief. Bombs from hundreds of Allied aircraft had fallen inland well beyond the beach, and rockets from the rocket-firing LCTs (landing craft, tank) offshore had mostly landed too short.
Action Reports of USS Carmick, Doyle, Ellyson, Emmons, Frankford, Laffey, McCook, and Thompson, all in Special Collections, Nimitz Library, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
Action Report of LCI(L)-408, LCI Association Papers, National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg, TX.
Thomas B. Allen, “The Gallant Destroyers on D-Day,” Naval History, vol. 18, no. 3 (June 2004), 18–23.
Omar Bradley with Clay Blair, A Soldier’s Life: The Autobiography of General of the Army Omar N. Bradley (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983).
William B. Kirkland, Destroyers at Normandy: Naval Gunfire Support at Omaha Beach (Washington, DC: Naval History Division, 1994).
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Invasion of France and Germany, 1944–1945, vol. 11 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (Boston: Little Brown, 1957).
Edward F. Prados, ed., Neptunus Rex: Naval Stories of the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1998).
Theodore Roscoe, United States Destroyer Operations in World War II (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute, 1953).
Paul Stillwell, ed., Assault on Normandy, First-Person Accounts from the Sea Services (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1994).
Oral histories of George Bauernschmidt, Joel G. Smith, Robert Miller, William Steel, Joe Esclavon, Felix Podolak, Curtis Hansen, Karl Everett, Robert Evans, and Clifford Sinnett, all in the Eisenhower Center, National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA.