Today marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Of the landings on the five assault beaches in Normandy on D-Day, Omaha Beach was the only one ever in doubt. Within moments of landing, a third of the assault troops in the first wave were casualties. The difficulties encountered on “bloody Omaha” were due to the more difficult terrain on this coastline, the unexpected presence of a first-rate German division at the beach and inadequate fire support. Yet in spite of all these problems, by the end of D-Day, the Atlantic Wall had been breached and the US Army’s V Corps was firmly entrenched on the French coast. 


Captions for Timeline

July 1943 First draft of Overlord plan completed
August 1943 Overlord plan approved by Combined Joint Chiefs of Staff
3 November 1943 Führer Directive 51 gives priority to reinforcing Western Front
6 November 1943 Rommel appointed to lead Army Group for Special Employment
4 June 1944 Poor weather forces cancellation of attack on Monday 5 June 1944
5 June 1944 Eisenhower decides that weather will permit execution of Neptune on
6 June 1944
Tuesday 6 June 1944 D-Day
0030hrs Minesweepers clear channel to beachhead
0100hrs German units alerted due to reports of Allied paratroopers
0300hrs Task Force O arrives off Omaha Beach, anchors 25,000 yards from beach
0310hrs General Marcks orders 84th Corps reserves, Kampfgruppe Meyer, to move
to junction between Omaha and Utah beach to deal with paratroopers
0415hrs Troops from assault waves begin loading in landing craft
0530hrs DD tanks begin swim to beach
0545hrs Naval bombardment group begins shelling Omaha Beach; firing ends at
0629hrs First wave of tanks begins landing
0631hrs First wave of assault troops and Gap Assault Teams begins landing
0700hrs Tide turns, obstacles gradually submerged by 0800
0700–0730hrs Second wave of troops land
0710hrs Rangers arrive at Pointe-du-Hoc 40 minutes late; reach summit by 0725
0720hrs First advance over the bluffs by group under Lt Spalding, E/16th Infantry
0750hrs Advance over the bluffs begins by 116th Infantry led by Gen Cota and
Col Canham
0800hrs Admiral Bryant orders destroyers to close on beach to provide fire support
0810hrs Advance by 5th Rangers over the bluffs begins
0820hrs Regimental HQ of 16th RCT lands, Col Taylor begins rallying troops
0830hrs Beachmaster orders no further vehicles to be landed at Omaha due to
0835hrs General Kraiss directs Kampfgruppe Meyer to stop British advance from
Gold Beach except for one battalion aimed at the Colleville penetration
0900hrs WN60 strongpoint falls to L/16th Infantry
0915hrs WN70 strongpoint abandoned due to advance by Cota’s force on Vierville
1000hrs 18th Infantry and 115th Infantry move towards beach in LCIs, they are
delayed by lack of clear lanes
1100hrs LCI-554 and LCT-30 force their way through to the beach, restoring
momentum to the landings
1130hrs E-1 St Laurent draw opened; first exit cleared on D-Day
1300hrs Hour-long naval bombardment of D-1 Vierville draw concludes; survivors
1300hrs Engineers complete makeshift road over bluff near E-1 St Laurent draw;
vehicle assembly area completed by 1500hrs
1335hrs Kraiss reports to 84th Corps HQ that invasion force stopped except at
1630hrs E-3 Colleville draw finally taken
1700hrs Tanks begin moving through E-1 St Laurent draw
1800hrs D-1 Vierville draw finally opened by engineers
1825hrs Kraiss orders 1/GR.914 to retake Pointe-du-Hoc
2000hrs D-3 Les Moulins draw declared open
2000hrs Engineers begin clearing path through E-3 Colleville draw, opens at 0100


You can learn more about the landings in D-Day 1944 (1): Omaha Beach