Past & Present: D-Day, Battle of Normandy and Beyond
Although not exactly an original idea, we thought it would be an interesting exercise to lay some wartime archive photos side-by-side with modern day shots. We've tried to capture the current photos from as close to the original location as possible, although this isn't always achievable without standing in someone's garden or hanging off an eroded cliff. These images are from around Normandy, but you can also see our Then & Now: Normandy gallery with scenes of the build-up to D-Day from around the UK.
Arromanches (Gold Beach)
At the eastern edge of the British and Canadian sector of the invasion front, Arromanches is now most famous for the Mulberry Harbour - also known as Port Winston - of which a great deal of concrete remains are still visible. After D-Day, the town saw vast quanitities of men, equipment and supplies pass through it in support of the fighting men of the Allied armies.
Bernières-sur-Mer (Juno Beach)
Defended on D-Day the German 716th Infantry Division, Bernières-sur-Mer was the target of the Canadian soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division. The pre-landing bombardment in this area had been ineffective and the Canadians suffered many casualties. Depsite this, the town was secure by lunchtime on 6th June.
Situated to the west of Omaha Beach and to the east of the town of Grandcamp, the German gun battery at Pointe-du-Hoc was assaulted by US Army soldiers of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. Using ladders and rocket-fired grappling hooks to scale the cliff, they took many casualties. When they reached the top, the German guns were not in their casemates. They had been removed to a nearby orchard some time before 6th June.
Located inland from Utah Beach, the village was occupied by German forces who were manning the various nearby gun batteries and beach defences. One of the villages to be liberated on D-Day, paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division. The plan for D-Day called for 2nd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment under Colonel Robert Sink to sieze the town with around 1,000 men. Due to the scattered parachute drops the task was achieved with just 75 men.
Ver-sur-Mer (Gold Beach)
On the morning of 6th June 1944 British troops of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division landed against the defending Germans of the 716th Infantry Division. The defences had bee weakened by the pre-landing bombardment and casualty numbers were relatively low. By midnight on D-Day, 25,000 men of the 50th had been landed.