D-Day photographs

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ellis_vener_photography, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Why do we know D-Day only from the 11 surviving photographs made by robert Capa?


    has the answers
  2. Not sure what you mean.... 100's of stills have been shown on the BBC over the last few days, together with colour 16mm footage....
  3. Of course only Capa's pictures of the Omaha beaches survived (which was the toughest assault I think), there are plenty of shots from the other beaches I think.
  4. Just a tiny sample of what is available from only 1 archive. There are thousands of others.... click here
  5. I've seen footage of the landing at Sword beach. It's the classic "duck" lowering it's door to a beach in the midground and a few houses beyond. There was relatively little fire at Sword beach because the German battery guarding the beach had been taken out by British commandos an hour before the landing. Capa, on the other hand, is landing on Omaha beach where the heaviest casualties will be taken and rather than wait for the beach to be secured to land and shoot, he chose to go in with the first landing craft. He's IN it. You can see why Hemingway loved this guy. And why Ingrid Bergman couldn't resist his charm. Where's the movie: "Capa"?
  6. From Omaha beach, on a US landing craft, on the morning of 6th June and not by Capa but an official photographer.... click here ... I cannot believe that Capa was the only photographer on that beach that morning.
  7. The heaviest of all casualties on D-Day itself were suffered by the French populace.
  8. http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=006V7t


    "Where's the movie: "Capa"?"
  9. The heaviest of all casualties on D-Day itself were suffered by the French populace
    I hope Trevor corrects me if I am wrong, but I am sure I heard on the Beeb that 20,000 French civilians were killed largely as a result of allied bombing.
    A very moving statistic. So close to liberation...
  10. Sadly true (20,000 at least) and sadly unavoidable.
  11. A lot of French casualties in Caen, 20 miles East of the beach. The allies dropped warnings for the civilians to evacuate the city but I don't know how timely this dropped was. Only 2 buildings were left standing in Caen after the bombs: the church and the hospital. The Germans housed the captured French underground in a prison in Caen. Most of them were executed as the allies approached. Maybe ALL civilians are hostages in a war. Maybe it has always been this way.
  12. A BBC programme last week showed why Omaha beach was so deadly. Instead of bringing in the amphibious tanks close to the beach so that they could wade ashore and provide cover for the infantry, which was the plan, an un-named general or admiral, it wasn't made clear exactly who, exhibited an appalling combination of cowardice and stupidity. The tanks were chucked out a mile or more from the beach and in a rough sea, all sank.

    As a devout coward myself, I can understand not wanting to be close to several dozen heavy guns, all manned by people with a strong desire to hit the ship you're on, but condemming several hundred men to death in order to save your own skin is a bit much. On the other beaches, where the tanks were launched much closer to the shore, they fullfilled their purpose admirably and saved many infantrymen.
  13. Kent wrote Maybe ALL civilians are hostages in a war. Maybe it has always been this way.

    If you ask my mother, war is the biggest evil, anytime, anywhere and for any reason.
    She was the only survivor from her school. She lived with her grandparants in a small village and the school used to flee into a church at the first alarm, her gradfather didn't like that and always picked her up to hide in the woods not far away. One day, the church was hit by two bombs :-(

    Never again!

  14. i stand correted about the other beaches.

    If Trevor bothered to read the article he'd find out what happened to the film from the
    other photographers on Omaha. except for that one photo shot by an unidentified Coast
    Guard photographer that turned up years later, Capa's photos appear to be it. And it was
    someone in the Navy who gave the order to pull up short.

    It is a pity that someone didn't assasinate Hitler when there was a chance to do so in the
    early 1930s. Think of all ofthe suffering that would have been prevented to the German,
    French, Polish, Czech, American, brits, Spanish, Italian, Slav, Hungarian, Russian (picking
    off Stalin n the 1920s would not have been a bad idea either), & everyone else.
  15. Omaha was a mess, and a lot of it was down to the US authorities, who
    wanted their men to storm the beach without any gimmicks.

    Stephen Ambrose, who's cornered the market in D-Day books, shamelessly
    pillories the British D-Day troops for their reliance on gadgetry - specialist
    tanks cleared the mines and barbed wire on the beach. Ultimately he sees it
    as evidence of cowardice. Truth was, Brit generals knew that they had few
    men left, for the army or industry, whereas the US still had a big supply of
    cannon fodder they felt they could throw away.

    I believe that fact that just 11 blurred, nightmarish photos survive makes that
    moment all the more iconic, far removed from today's news-managed remote-
    control conflicts. Capa admitted to crapping himself, too, didn't he? Or was
    that on a parachute jump? i've lent out my copy of Alex Kershaw's biog of him,
    but there are still copies going for a bargain price in London...

    I'm constantly staggered by Capa's work, even thought he didn't really believe
    he was a great photographer. I'm intrigued by how the work of Leica/Contax
    photogs like Capa looks so different from SLR users like Don McCullin.
    McCullin's war photos are brilliant, but they're so graphic, more like
    advertising shots. Capa's photos are much more human, perhaps because,
    as that cliché goes, he wasn't composing moments, he was simply capturing
  16. My friend Warren Leib donated his father's COLOR movie footage of the D-Day invasion to the National Archive. His father was a war photographer for Movietone and took along his family movie camera. They are pretty incredible. He showed them to our Brotherhood at the Temple last month. There may be a VHS available from Warren if anyone is interested. Lots of pictures of the liberation of Paris also.
  17. From a BBC page by a veteran of the French Resistance in the bombed city of Caen:

    "After the liberation, when the city was being cleared up, they came across a cellar where a man had died of suffocation after being trapped. They found a note with him that said, 'I feel that I am dying. It is terrible to know that I'm going to die because I have been expecting the liberation for so long. But I know that, because of my death, other people will be liberated. Long live France, long live the Allies.'"

    Capa's D-Day pictures are here.
  18. I don't recall Ambrose criticizing the Brits for using gadgets. Even if the Americans had bothered, it wouldn't have helped them on Omaha. The current and surf on that beach was unpredictable and strong, which is why only one company managed to actually land at its planned spot.

    I'm not sure the floating tanks would have done much either, seeing as how artillery and mortar fire was so vicious. If I recall, at least one or two tanks did make it ashore and were promptly blown up.
  19. Thanks for the post, Ellis
  20. OT, but do need to say it. Totally agree with Ellis that the world
    would be better off if Hitler had been "picked off" in the 1930s, or,
    better yet, the 1920s. It may not have changed the course of
    political events leading the Second World War but very likely would
    have made the horror less than it was. There may still have been an
    Omaha Beach; but very likely there would not have been the Holocaust.
    (Japan's Asian crimes against humanity, well underway in the 1930s,
    would have happened regardless.) Truly, if one needs to hate anyone,
    Hitler is a perfect choice. Bear in mind, however, how ordinary he
    was. If you read Mein Kamp you'll see the operation of not only a
    bigotted but also utterly vapid landlocked mind. There are plenty of
    potential Hitlers among us who, fortunately, never get the power to
    do the damage Hitler did.

    Had Hitler been dusted off, who would have Leni Riefenstal courted to
    advance her advance her career?
  21. Also, the Americans were given the toughest beaches to take because the American ground forces were not subjected to years of bombings and death from Hitler's planes. They were new and fresh and the English were entitled to get to storm the beaches with the least resistance. Omaha was completely covered by artillery and bunkered machinegun fire, its no wonder why the first wave was killed getting off the Higgins boats. I don't think a few tanks would have made any difference.

    I don't know how many of you have actually been to Normandy and been on the beaches, but Omaha is one damn tough beach to take. Utah, the other American sector, had to be taken by soldiers climbing cliffs, thankfully the artillery from the ships was doing a better job than on Omaha.

    The Canadians at Sword also had a tough time of it.
  22. It's a very slippery slope you're discussing. First the authorization for Diem; next the assassination of JFK. If you open the door for one how do you prevent the other? Just let the man into art school for Christ's sake.
  23. Of course these are all overly simplistic answers. But I would argue on the side of not legitimizing assassination.
  24. Stalin bumped a load of folk off. Did better than that Adolf sad soul.

    He was on the winning side....best forget about it.
  25. >Ellis Vener , jun 08, 2004; 06:01 p.m.

    >It is a pity that someone didn't assasinate Hitler

    It's all you big boy--pull the trigger. Let's see it. Are your balls big enough?
  26. It would be hard to blame Stephen Ambrose for being the first to pillorize the English use of gadgets on D-Day. Someone else must have written that passage before him.



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