Omaha Beach was the bulkhead of the Allied invasion
of Normandy, France
The first company to land was Able company. About five-thousand yards from the beach the first mortar shells began to fire.
"At one thousand yards, Boat number 5 is hit dead on and floundered. Six men drown before help arrives." - These were the first casualties of the invasion.
The other six Higgins-class landing boats got within 100 yards, unscathed. 2 men were killed at this point, in boat #3. Shortly after, another dozen drown as the boat sinks. The other boats continue on.
A Lieutenant named Edward Tidwick cries out at this point, "My God, we're coming in at the right spot, but look at it! No shingle, no wall, no shell holes, no cover. Nothing!"
As the boats move in, at 6:36 AM, the first ramp drops on the Allied boats. Instantly, machine-gun fire sweeps the entire line of men struggling to reach the beach. Able company was going to attempt to swarm the beach in three lines. The first line makes an attempt:
"The first men out try to do it but are ripped apart before they can make five yards." C.L. Sonnichsen. The chain of command in Able company collapses.
Landing Craft, Assault, No. 1015, or boat SIX, dissapeared with 2 commanders. Even to this day, their cause of death remains unknown. It is assumed, of course, that the boat was hit by mortar fire.
Lieutenant Elijah Nance is the only remaining commander, who is badly wounded. Among all the chaos, Medic Thomas Breedin leads a rescue effort across the beach to bring wounded men ashore. He does this for an hour. By the end of the first half hour, almost 2/3's of Able company are passed. The only men to continue the fight for that day from Able company are two privates that joined the ranger group that landed. The rest lie exhausted on the beach, or dead.
Later, Baker company landed. Due to a handful of men, like Breedin, the Allies took the beach.
Captain Walker, on an LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) recalled just before the landing began.... "I took a look toward the shore and my heart took a dive. I couldn't believe how peaceful, how untouched, and how tranquil the scene was. The terrain was green. All the buildings and houses were intact. The church steeples were proudly and defiantly standing in place. 'Where', I yelled to no one in particular, 'is the damned Air Corps?'"
When Captain Raaen landed, "I saw a dismaying sight. Obstacles everywhere. Wounded and dead, lying in the sand. The crack of machine-gun fire passing us by. The puffs in the sand where bullets hit. Those awful 20mm antiaircraft cannon shells bursting overhead. And of course the artillery shells bursting around us."
Ernest Hemingway also landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.