I recently found a treasure trove of WW2 Life Magazines as well as a number of pre-war magazines for a marginal cost.
The issue below caught my eye because it is dated July 19th, 1944 thirteen days after the Normandy Invasion which took place on June 6th, 1944.
Life Magazines in the war years are fascinating to me not only for the excellent reporting from the various fronts US and Allied troops were engaged in but also for the advertising, some of which I’ve highlighted in this blog.
In this case I wanted to highlight The Cost of the invasion as recorded by Life Magazine The captions will explain what is going on.
One of the iconic images of the Normandy Invasion taken by Life photographers.
The original caption identifies the ship as a Coast Guard LCT (Landing Craft Tank). After the LCT dropped off the tanks on the beach it was used to evacuate casualties. Here a Coast Guard medical officer is giving a wounded GI a blood transfusion as the LCT heads for the hospital ship offshore.
For these GIs medical treatment on the hospital ship did not save their lives. The dead have been wrapped in white bags and according to the original caption will be shipped to England where they will be buried. The text of the article indicates that at this point (June 19th) the total casualty rate is unknown but higher than expected.
The UK’s Express tells the story of how Eisenhower (and Winston Churchill) were tormented by the expected casualty rate and the risk of failure. From what I’ve read Eisenhower grieved over the course of the rest of his life as he shouldered the responsibility of sending Americans and other Allied troops to their deaths as their supreme commander. I think this cover photo captures the seriousness of Eisenhower and the heavy load of responsibilty he bore.
The total casualties for all the forces involved in the Normandy Invasion can be found at The Dday Museum in the UK. Current research tells us that the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions suffered over 2,000 casualties on Omaha Beach. The opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan gives us some idea of that bloodbath.