D Day

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 6/3/2010

Robert Capa (1913 - 1954) documented World War II from the bombing of London to fronts in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. He captured this arresting image of American troops landing at Omaha Beach on D-day, June 6, 1944.

Capa was one of two magazine war correspondents allowed to join the U.S. troops landing on the shores of Normandy, France, for the D-Day operations, launching the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Western Europe. Sailing with the 2000 men transported on the U.S.S. Chase, Capa joined the men of Company E on a barge headed for the section of the beach designated "Easy Red."

Dodging bullets and hiding behind pieces of steel, Capa photographed for hours in waist-deep water with several Contax cameras. His hands trembled, and he ruined many rolls of film as he tried to change film amid the dead and wounded of the battle. Capa did make his way to the shore, but soon after found himself jumping aboard a barge to rest and dry off, not realizing the boat was returning to its main ship. Capa didn't get back to shore again until the fighting had ended.

Capa's D-Day was sent directly to the offices of LIFE in London for processing. Hurrying to develop the rolls, a technician turned up the heat in the dryers, ruining many of the 72 images taken.

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