Historic photos bring the D-Day invasion to life, 72 years after it happened (100 items)
Seventy-two years ago, on June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops, aided by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, began their invasion of Europe during World War II, bringing the long, bloody fight against the Third Reich to Adolf Hitler's doorstep. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded during the invasion of the beaches of Normandy, France, in what would become known as D-Day. The war in Europe came to a close in May 1945, and World War II ended when the Japanese surrendered several months later. As world leaders, veterans, soldiers and family members gather in France today to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we present a photographic look back at the event that helped turn the tide of the war. Related: In their own words: The story of D-Day as told by the veterans who lived it Related: Associated Press reports from D-Day, 1944: Allies win footholds in France
1 of 100. May 3, 1944
Somewhere in England, these U.S. Army specislists, quartermaster corpsmen, use amphibious "Ducks " to unload a bargeload of gasoline cans, May 3, 1944 during drills for the western European invasion. One "Duck" is alongside the water at upper left and a third is on beach at upper right.
2 of 100. May 9, 1944
As the D-Day draws near, men of a U. S. tank division line up their General Sherman (M-4) tanks on a range for firing practice with their 75mm guns, somewhere in England, May 9, 1944.
3 of 100. May 9, 1944
Canadian snipers get some last minute training in England, May 9, 1944 as all await D-day. From left to right are : J. J. Showers, Montreal; C.H.Gerrard, Tottenham, Ont.; W. G. Bettridge, Brampton, Ont.; W.A.Lyons, Toronto and L.H. Oddy, Toronto.
4 of 100. May 9, 1944
The ‘Bazooka Boys’, a squad of tank maintenance men practicing on a firing range in England, May 9, 1944, marches through a collection of General Sherman tanks, as the tank crewmen watch, while final invasion preparation are made for D-Day.
5 of 100. June 1944
Barrage balloon cruises high over a heavily loaded "rhino ferry" undergoing a test trip before D-Day, somewhere off the coast of England, June 1944.