Day of Destiny: The Photographs of D-Day

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Experience the triumph and the tragedy of the battle upon the beaches of Normandy through photographs taken by combat photographers and servicemen. Day of Destiny includes more than one hundred rare photographs never before assembled to provide a visual narrative of one of the century's most pivotal events.

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Overview

Experience the triumph and the tragedy of the battle upon the beaches of Normandy through photographs taken by combat photographers and servicemen. Day of Destiny includes more than one hundred rare photographs never before assembled to provide a visual narrative of one of the century's most pivotal events.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688168827
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/7/1998
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 8.35 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Read an Excerpt

On June 6,1944,150,000 Allied soldiers landed on five beaches in Normandy, in a bold attack on sixty divisions of tenacious, battle hardened German forces. The Allied troops would be the first to face 1.4 million of Hitler's best soldiers in France. By sheer numbers, the Normandy invasion was the greatest amphibious assault of all time. Five thousand ships, 11,000 aircraft, 175,000 troops in all. For sheer human determination and uncommon valor, D-Day remains the touchstone of modern military history.

After two years of planning, the Allied fleet of landing craft sailed into the teeth of the formidable German Atlantic Wall. Giant bunker fortresses with large artillery bore down murderously on the invaders. Thick smoke from mortar fire clouded the beaches. Heavy seas and incoming tides carried soldiers hundreds of yards off course, as they struggled to shore between deadly submerged mines and interlacing machine gun fire. At Omaha Beach, American troops were hit by artillery fire from 1,000 yards out in the water and across 200 yards of open beach.

Many units lost half their men even before reaching the seawalls and cliffs. For the first ninety minutes, an immeasurably long time on the bloody, bullet-ridden beaches, it looked as if Normandy would become an Allied defeat. But after continuous waves of incoming troops, one squad after the other silencing pulboxes and machine gun nests, the tide began to turn. Colonel George A. Taylor of the 16th Infantry Regiment recalled saying: "two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead, and those about to die. Now let's get the hell out of here!" The American, Canadian and British soldiers who scaled the bluffs and stopped the German88-millimeter guns often had no leaders, or orders -- nothing beyond the simple fact that they were still alive.

Before the say ended there would be three thousand Allied casualties, and many more left uncounted, lost beneath the waves forever.For those who survived, there would be months of heated battle ahead before they achieved the liberation of Europe.But June 6 would remain forever the day that not only made history, but changed the future.

Copyright ) 1998 by L. Douglas Keeney and William S. Butler

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