Historic Coverage from the D-Day Invasion

Watch historic footage produced by the Coast Guard, showing and explaining elements of the Normandy invasion.

Video Transcript

NARRATOR: At dusk we arrived at the rendezvous under the welcome cover of the deepening night. Now began the most trying ordeal of all, waiting through the long, nerve-straining silence for H-hour.

[sounds of explosions]

Our naval barrage swept the enemy beaches with brooms of fire and by dawn the smaller landing craft were in the water ready to take on their cargoes of infantry.

[sounds of explosions]

While the big guns fought it out with hidden nazi shore batteries, our 1st wave moved in.

[sounds of explosions]

From the skies hundreds of planes provided air cover for the seaborne invasion below.

[sounds of explosions]

While operating inshore vast rocket boats showered the enemy with their rain of death.

[sounds of explosions]

The LCBP moved in close to the obstacle barricade and dropped their ramps.

[sounds of explosions]

Through deadly enemy machine gun and mortar fire the troops waded through deep water to the shore.  Many never reached it.

[sounds of explosions]

Now the larger LCIs came shouldering in with more infantry to reinforce our hard won foothold.

[sounds of explosions, and planes flying overhead]

[triumphant music]

Coast Guard rescue cutters were already going about their grim business of picking up the wounded and the dead.

[music]

During those next violent days, while we were fighting to extend our gains, thousands of men and vast quantities of supplies and equipment were shuttled in from the sea. We landed more medical field units. The severely wounded were carried to the relative safety of outlying hospital ships and transports.

[somber music]

The two way traffic never stopped. The wounded going out, the ever growing tide of more men and materials pouring in. When the enemy had been pushed back from the beaches, the mammoth LSTs came lumbering ashore with their tons of heavy equipment.

[music]

Our beachhead to Berlin was established. The invasion surged further inland, gaining power as it went. Now the troops were on their own.

[music]

[sound of broken lighter]

As the Allied armies rolled forward thousands of German prisoners were filtered to the rear to wait until we had time to evacuate them. 

[music]

Scores of our older merchant vessels had been scuttled to form protective break waters against the treacherous sea.

[music]

But now the full fury of a Channel gale swept our invasion coast.

[sounds of intense wind and crashing waves]

The sea had taken its toll, adding to the high price we had already paid in men and ships.

[music]

They Flying Angel was among our Coast Guard losses. Young Bill Jackson will never sing in your choir again. I have already written his parents. That’s the hardest part of our task, those last letters we in the chaplain corps must write. There are so many deeds of courage that cannot be measured in mere words. They must be recorded by a much great power than is ours. So much for now old friend. The great crusade of liberation is well begun. I am myself have been more than fortunate. My prayer is that I will always be with my boys in whatever trials may lie ahead.

[music]