Paratroopers leap into Normandy again ahead of 75th D-Day anniversary

These stunning photographs show how paratroopers today jumped from vintage aircraft over one of the battle sites of the D-Day landings in a deeply moving sight.

Nearly 200 parachutists leapt from vintage C-47 Dakota planes this morning during the commemorative jump over Carentan on the Normandy coast of France ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary tomorrow.

They jumped from the C-47 transporters in Second World War colours and other aircraft, aiming for fields of wild flowers on the edge of the town, in one of the early objectives for Allied troops who invaded from the air and sea.

Today, thousands of veterans will join a service in remembrance of the landings in Normandy, while President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May will gather for another event in Portsmouth starting at 11am.  

Paratroopers take part in a parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan in north-western France this morning

Paratroopers take part in a parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan in north-western France this morning

Paratroopers take part in a parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan in north-western France this morning

US paratroopers jump from vintage C-47 Dakota planes in a commemorative parachute jump over Carentan in France today

US paratroopers jump from vintage C-47 Dakota planes in a commemorative parachute jump over Carentan in France today

US paratroopers jump from vintage C-47 Dakota planes in a commemorative parachute jump over Carentan in France today

The paratroopers jump from C-47 Dakotas over Carentan on the Normandy coast today ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary

The paratroopers jump from C-47 Dakotas over Carentan on the Normandy coast today ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary

The paratroopers jump from C-47 Dakotas over Carentan on the Normandy coast today ahead of the 75th D-Day anniversary

Parachutists jump from C-47 transporters today as they aim for fields of wild flowers on the outskirts of the town of Carentan

Parachutists jump from C-47 transporters today as they aim for fields of wild flowers on the outskirts of the town of Carentan

Parachutists jump from C-47 transporters today as they aim for fields of wild flowers on the outskirts of the town of Carentan

The parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan is part of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary

The parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan is part of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary

The parachute drop from seven C-47 aircraft over Carentan is part of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary

Other parachute jumps as well as those over Carentan (pictured) are planned involving British veterans at Sannerville

Other parachute jumps as well as those over Carentan (pictured) are planned involving British veterans at Sannerville

Other parachute jumps as well as those over Carentan (pictured) are planned involving British veterans at Sannerville

Among the jumpers at Carentan today was due be American D-Day veteran Tom Rice, 97, who jumped into Normandy with thousands of other parachutists on June 6, 1944 and recalled it as ‘the worse jump I ever had.’

Mr Rice jumped in tandem with another parachutist and had been training for six months. Other parachute jumps marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion are planned involving British veterans at Sannerville. 

Elsewhere, divers today laid a wreath on the bed of the English Channel in a poignant tribute to a group of soldiers who died on the eve of D-Day, as world leaders prepare to converge to commemorate the 75th anniversary. 

The ring of poppies was left among the remains of seven DD Valentine tanks that fell off a boat and sank during a disastrous practice run of the landings in April 1944, claiming the lives of six Royal Dragoon Guards members. 

Exercise Smash simulated the landing of thousands of armoured vehicles on the Normandy beaches, but the disaster at Studland Bay in Dorset persuaded commanders to scrap the plans and land them further on shore.  

Divers this morning left a wreath among the remains of seven DD Valentine tanks that sank in Studland Bay in Dorset, during a disastrous practice run of the landings in April 1944, claiming the lives of six members of the Royal Dragoon Guards

Divers this morning left a wreath among the remains of seven DD Valentine tanks that sank in Studland Bay in Dorset, during a disastrous practice run of the landings in April 1944, claiming the lives of six members of the Royal Dragoon Guards

Divers this morning left a wreath among the remains of seven DD Valentine tanks that sank in Studland Bay in Dorset, during a disastrous practice run of the landings in April 1944, claiming the lives of six members of the Royal Dragoon Guards

Lieutenant C Gould, Sergeant V Hartley, Corporals Arthur Park and V Townson and Troopers A Kirby and E Petty all drowned in the disaster. Pictured: The wreath being laid at the spot on the English Channel at Studland Bay this morning

Lieutenant C Gould, Sergeant V Hartley, Corporals Arthur Park and V Townson and Troopers A Kirby and E Petty all drowned in the disaster. Pictured: The wreath being laid at the spot on the English Channel at Studland Bay this morning

Lieutenant C Gould, Sergeant V Hartley, Corporals Arthur Park and V Townson and Troopers A Kirby and E Petty all drowned in the disaster. Pictured: The wreath being laid at the spot on the English Channel at Studland Bay this morning

Their soldiers' deaths were kept secret for decades but a memorial to those who died was erected to mark the 60th anniversary of Exercise Smash in 2004

Their soldiers' deaths were kept secret for decades but a memorial to those who died was erected to mark the 60th anniversary of Exercise Smash in 2004

The wreath on the bottom of Studland Bay

The wreath on the bottom of Studland Bay

The deaths were kept secret for decades but a memorial to those who died was erected to mark the 60th anniversary of Exercise Smash in 2004. The exercise simulated the landing of thousands of armoured vehicles on the Normandy beaches

The early morning tribute to the victims of Exercise Smash was organised by Paul Pettitt, 53, who has campaigned for the tanks to get special protection. He said: 'Over 20 divers went out and laid wreaths on each of the tanks'

The early morning tribute to the victims of Exercise Smash was organised by Paul Pettitt, 53, who has campaigned for the tanks to get special protection. He said: 'Over 20 divers went out and laid wreaths on each of the tanks'

The early morning tribute to the victims of Exercise Smash was organised by Paul Pettitt, 53, who has campaigned for the tanks to get special protection. He said: ‘Over 20 divers went out and laid wreaths on each of the tanks’

The remains of seven tanks now lie 60ft beneath the waves on Studland Bay, 75 years after the ill-fated Exercise Smash

The remains of seven tanks now lie 60ft beneath the waves on Studland Bay, 75 years after the ill-fated Exercise Smash

The remains of seven tanks now lie 60ft beneath the waves on Studland Bay, 75 years after the ill-fated Exercise Smash

Some 60,000 members of the public are expected to attend the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common for the event which marks the 75th anniversary of the biggest amphibious invasion in military history.

Considered a turning point in the Second World War, Operation Overlord saw thousands killed and injured. Mrs May will be making her final official appearances as the British Prime Minister during the commemorations.

In Studland Bay, the early morning tribute to the victims of Exercise Smash was organised by Paul Pettitt, 53, who has campaigned for the tanks to get special protection and enlisted the help of local divers.

He said: ‘Over 20 divers went out and laid wreaths on each of the tanks. It was a great success as we managed to lay wreaths on all the six tanks where we think men may have been lost.’ 

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment in uniform stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment in uniform stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment in uniform stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment old the American flag after scaling the cliffs in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy

Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment old the American flag after scaling the cliffs in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy

Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment old the American flag after scaling the cliffs in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Normandy

Soldiers climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc some 75 years on from the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches in 1944

Soldiers climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc some 75 years on from the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches in 1944

Soldiers climb the cliff of Pointe-du-Hoc some 75 years on from the American assault of Omaha and Utah beaches in 1944

During the American assault on June 6 in 1944, US Army Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery pieces

During the American assault on June 6 in 1944, US Army Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery pieces

During the American assault on June 6 in 1944, US Army Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery pieces

In 1944, the Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery that could have fired on the American landing troops

In 1944, the Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery that could have fired on the American landing troops

In 1944, the Rangers scaled the 100ft cliffs to seize German artillery that could have fired on the American landing troops

The troops were recreating a journey taken by the US Army's 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions to destroy Nazi guns on the cliffs

The troops were recreating a journey taken by the US Army's 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions to destroy Nazi guns on the cliffs

The troops were recreating a journey taken by the US Army’s 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions to destroy Nazi guns on the cliffs

Mr Pettitt added that they tried to visit the seventh tank, but it was ‘too rough’. The sandy shoreline of Studland Bay was chosen for a live-firing practice for D-Day because it was almost identical to the beaches at Normandy.

The surrounding area was largely unpopulated so it was seen as safe to fire into land without the risk of harming civilians. At dawn on April 4, 1944 the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards launched their floating Valentine tanks.

The weather soon deteriorated and the tanks were overcome by the waves and sank 60ft to the seabed, with six servicemen all drowning in deaths that were kept secret for decades. 

But a memorial to those who died – Lieutenant C Gould, Sergeant V Hartley, Corporals Arthur Park and V Townson and Troopers A Kirby and E Petty – was erected to mark the 60th anniversary in 2004, 60ft beneath the waves.  

The operation helped prepare the way for Allied troops landing on beaches to break Hitler's stranglehold on France

The operation helped prepare the way for Allied troops landing on beaches to break Hitler's stranglehold on France

The operation helped prepare the way for Allied troops landing on beaches to break Hitler’s stranglehold on France

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc today

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc today

Soldiers from the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc today

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in Normandy in June 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in Normandy in June 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in Normandy in June 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later

Today's event is part of ceremonies in France and Britain marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944

Today's event is part of ceremonies in France and Britain marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944

Today’s event is part of ceremonies in France and Britain marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944

US Army Rangers climbed the jagged cliffs of Normandy's Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them 75 years ago

US Army Rangers climbed the jagged cliffs of Normandy's Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them 75 years ago

US Army Rangers climbed the jagged cliffs of Normandy’s Pointe du Hoc to honor the men who scaled them 75 years ago

The 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one

The 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one

The 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one

Planes fly over as Rangers of the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Planes fly over as Rangers of the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Planes fly over as Rangers of the US 75th Ranger Regiment stand on the overlook after climbing the cliffs of Pointe-du-Hoc

Meanwhile, US Army Rangers climbed the jagged cliffs of Normandy’s Pointe du Hoc today to honour the men who scaled them 75 years ago in a valiant D-Day assault.

Elderly veterans looked on this morning as members of the 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one, seagulls swooping above them.

They recreated a journey taken by the US Army’s 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions to destroy Nazi guns, preparing the way for Allied troops landing on beaches a few miles up the coast to break Hitler’s stranglehold on France.

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later. Today’s event was part of extensive ceremonies in France and Britain marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. 

D-Day: How Operation Overlord saw 156,000 Allied troops land and turned the tide of war in Europe

Operation Overlord saw some 156,000 Allied troops landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

It is thought as many as 4,400 were killed in an operation Winston Churchill described as ‘undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place’.

The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6.30am.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. 

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. 

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. 

The landings took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

The assault was chaotic with boats arriving at the wrong point and others getting into difficulties in the water.

Troops managed only to gain a small foothold on the beach – but they built on their initial breakthrough in the coming days and a harbour was opened at Omaha.

They met strong resistance from the German forces who were stationed at strongpoints along the coastline.

Approximately 10,000 allies were injured or killed, inlcuding 6,603 American, of which 2,499 were fatal.

Between 4,000 and 9,000 German troops were killed – and it proved the pivotal moment of the war, in the allied forces’ favour.

The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944

The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944

The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944

Link hienalouca.com

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