History GCSE: The Battle for Omaha

D-Day veterans recall the bloody attack on Omaha Beach on 6th June 1944 that lead to 1700 American lives being lost.

They recount the experience of being part of the largest armada in history, and the awareness before the attack that there would be heavy casualties.

Historian Dan Snow narrates reconstructions of the attack, and how the failed attempts to take out the Nazi guns meant carnage for the troops landing on the beach.

We hear about the bravery of the elite team of US Rangers who had to climb a 30 foot cliff under heavy fire in an attempt to take out the biggest German guns, only to discover they had been moved.

Veterans recall getting injured, and seeing friends killed, and the panic of being under heavy fire.

A Ranger recalls how the intensive planning and studying of maps beforehand enabled his men to attack the machine guns on the cliffs, turning the tide of the battle and allowing the Americans to progress inland.

The battle was a victory that would eventually lead to the defeat of Hitler, though at a heavy human cost.

This short film is from the BBC series, D-Day: The Last Heroes.

PLEASE NOTE: This short film contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

Teacher Notes

This short film provides a useful detailed account of the US landings on Omaha, using reconstructions and veteran’s own accounts of what happened on that day.

Students could watch this short film and debate whether military leaders were right to send the US troops to attack such a well-defended beach.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching history at GCSE and above in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 and above in Scotland.

More from D-Day: The Last Heroes

Planning D-Day
Winning D-Day - The Sword Beach landings