By Allan Williams
Last updated 2011-06-06
The vast and complex job of planning for the Allies' D-Day landings depended heavily on aerial photography. Years before the final choice of beaches was made, photo interpreters had been watching the whole shoreline of northern France. They knew every gun emplacement, every pillbox, every wire entanglement and every trench system of the whole Atlantic Wall.
Their work paid off when, in June 1944, through a night of high winds and driving rain, a vast armada of over 6,000 ships, 50 miles wide and carrying 185,000 men and 20,000 vehicles, headed towards the beaches of northern France. It was the largest seaborne invasion in world history, and aerial photography played an absolutely crucial role in its eventual success. The photograph shows American troops landing on Omaha beach - scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the invasion.
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