While most in the U.S. know of the bloody scenes that immediately follow the beaching of amphibious craft on the shores of Normandy, the brunt of the fighting took place far from the coast. Some 20,000 French civilians would perish in the crossfire, most killed by Allied bombing. Allied and German forces engaged in pitched, chaotic skirmishes throughout the picturesque Norman countryside, marked by hedgerows and old stone-and-steeple towns. Bitter fighting between U.S. forces and crack German paratroop regimes took place by St. Lo, which was reduced to rubble.
Journalists with Henry Luce's Life magazine were among the most enterprising and prolific during World War II. These images here are republished with Life's permission. You can view Life's terrific D-Day galleries here, here, here and here.