Victory In Full Color
Color Photos From D-Day
June 5, 2015 by Mark Dye
When Operation Overlord was first planned, it was a risk, but one that needed to be taken. It had been a long and brutal war, and a full-scale attack was seen as the only way to help it draw to a close. So on June 6, 1944, the attack commenced, with thousands of allied service members landing on the western coast of France with no intention of stopping until they reached Berlin. While it would be several more months before the war came to an official close, D-Day was the beginning of the end.
Below are some rare color photographs—most shot in color, with a few colorized years later—spanning from a few days before the attack to a few months afterward. While black and white photos can give one a sense of what was happening, seeing these images in full color provides a deeper connection to the events they portray.
We hope you find them as fascinating as we did. We also invite you to join us in thanking all of the brave men and women who fought and offered support to those in the field. Your sacrifices and bravery will never be forgotten. (Original slideshows can be found at Time.com here and here.)
Members of the Big Red One are all smiles as they pose for a picture June 5, 1944, one day before Operation Overlord begins.
Soldiers in life vests prepare to land on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944.
Landing craft, dirigibles providing recon, and other ships sit off the coast of Omaha Beach. It is the largest seaborne invasion in history, with more than 5,000 ships and 14,000 aircraft used to support the attack.
A group of Canadian soldiers land at Juno Beach, June 6, 1944. Canada plays an instrumental, if unsung, role in the invasion, with nearly 14,000 Canadian soldiers landing and 340 losing their lives in the effort.
From left to right: Chief of the Imperial General Staff Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in Normandy on June 12, 1944, six days after the D-Day landings.
The ticker in New York’s Times Square shares news of the attack. It runs updates throughout the day as information comes in, with thousands of people stopping to read the news.
German prisoners of war prepare to be transported to a ship anchored off the coast that serves as a make-shift prison. Thousands of Axis soldiers wind up being captured or surrendering in the weeks after the initial attack.
An American soldier checks out a destroyed Panther tank in the days after the landing. Most German armor was held back by direct order of Hitler, who was convinced the Allies would attack Calais, France, rather than Normandy. The decision proved to be a costly mistake for Germany and a blessing for the Allies.
Two children watch an American convoy roll through what remains of Saint Lo, France. The city was bombed heavily in the days leading up to the operation in order to soften up German positions.