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65 years ago: D-Day

Today marks the 65th anniversary of D-Day (June 6th, 1944), the Normandy Landings. The assault was divided into two phases; the first being an air assault landing of American, British and Canadian troops, and the second being the infamous amphibious landing of Allied infantry on the coast of France.

The latter phase was the largest single-day amphibious invasion ever, with 160,000 troops landing on a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast by the end of the operation, which was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, June and Sword.

On June 6th, there were approximately 10,000 allied casualties (killed, wounded, missing or captured) and between 4,000-9,000 German casualties.

There were many narrow escapes from death, with one soldier’s life being saved by a picture of his sweetheart, and another by a pair of spectacles.

One the many media organizations reporting from the frontline was the BBC, and you can listen to exerpts from their harrowing broadcast on their website.

As part of the 65th anniversary remembrance ceremonies, paratroopers recreated the Normandy jump at Pegasus Bridge, the spot where the first shots were fired in the Allied invasion shortly after midnight. During the day many dignitaries paid their respects, including U.S. President Barack Obama, French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Britain’s Prince Charles.

Click here for more detailed information on the operation. Read more of this story for photos from that day.

Troops and crewmen aboard a Coast Guard manned LCVP as it approaches a Normandy beach

Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach

Army troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach

Troops wade ashore from a LCVP landing craft, off “Omaha” Beach

“D-Day” beach traffic

Troops land at Normandy

Omaha beach

Dead soldiers on Omaha beach

Dead soldier on Omaha beach

Infantry going over seawall at Utah beach

German POWs at Utah beach

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