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Last Updated: Thursday June 03 2004 09:41 GMT


Omaha beach

Who landed on Omaha beach?
This was an American landing beach for the US 1st infantry division with the 116th regiment of the 29th division.

What were their orders?
To capture the coastal villages and then cut off the important road from Bayeux to Isigny.

How did it go?
This was the toughest place to land. The US soldiers had to fight really hard to get ashore and 2,400 were killed or wounded. There were problems even before the first soldier landed on the beach.

The German defences on the beach were supposed to have been damaged by an attack from bombers and warships, but these had missed their targets. The defences were intact, so troops had to advance 600m up the beach under heavy fire from German machine guns positioned on a cliff.

Thirty amphibious tanks that would have helped protect the American troops nearly all sank because the waves were too big. The conditions on the beach were recreated in the film Saving Private Ryan.

Despite all this by the end of the day 34,000 US troops had been landed here and the push inland had begun.