The Normandy Invasion Captured on 16 mm Kodachrome Film (1944)


The Normandy Invasion, otherwise known as “Operation Overlord,” was launched by the Allies on June 6, 1944. On that day — D-Day — American, British and Canadian troops landed on five separate beachheads in Normandy, on the western shores of France. By the end of August 1944, the Allies had liberated all of northern France and started marching towards Nazi Germany.

At the time, the filmmaker George Stevens (1904-1975) was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps. Dwight D. Eisenhower, tasked with planning and carrying out the Allied invasion of Normandy, wanted film crews present at the invasion to provide footage for a documentary film. Stevens took charge of the Special Motion Pictures Unit and gathered a group of cameramen and writers dubbed the “Stevens Irregulars”. They used the standard Army motion picture stock, 35 mm black and white newsreel film. But they also brought along a hand-held camera and some 16 mm Kodachrome color film. Stevens shot several hours’ worth of color footage from France, Belgium and Germany. The scenes from the liberation of Dachau concentration camp are particularly shocking and left their mark on the lives of the cameramen. In 1994, Stevens’ son used this film footage to assemble the documentary George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin.

Bonus material:

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.



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  1. Jerry Lee says . . . | November 14, 2012 / 11:36 am

    REALLY? More than two minutes of ads before the video? How’s that gonna work out?

  2. Matthias Rascher says . . . | November 14, 2012 / 12:44 pm

    Ads? What ads?

  3. dav says . . . | November 14, 2012 / 2:57 pm

    the allies landed on the northern coast of france not the western

  4. Art Wade says . . . | November 20, 2012 / 6:32 pm

    With the disaster of the 1st wave at Omaha Beach Bradley never should have sent in the 2nd wave until they brought the big naval guns in to neutralize the area. When I visited Omaha Beach I realized the slaughter that took place because the aerial & Naval bombardment planned was never properly executed. Courts Martial should have been prescribed for this disaster.

  5. Bruce says . . . | June 20, 2013 / 11:06 pm

    hi,what is it

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