They Drew Fire: A WWII D-Day Webquest

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Bullets fly around you, bombs explode above you, people die at your feet and you can't fight back or defend yourself because you are armed only with  paper and paintbrush. That was the situation of three Navy artists during one of the most important battles of World War Two Operation Overlord, known today as "D-Day."

Recently, the world commemorated the 60th anniversary of D-Day. From the perspective of history, we know this operation was a great Allied victory. However, on D-Day, from the perspective of the individuals involved, the invasion seemed on the brink of failure. No one knew whether victory or defeat lay ahead. They only knew that a heavy price was paid in human blood on that day. And some knew that their part of the battle, their personal pain, had been caught for posterity by the strokes of a combat artist.

These artists lived and trained with the crews of the vessels destined to take part in the invasion; they rode the ships across the channel, and accompanied the troops as they landed and fought. And under fire, they set pen and brush to paper to record the human side of this historic event. This art provides more than a cold historical record; it conveys a sense of the feelings and emotions behind the events.

Using this artwork as inspiration, you will imagine yourself as a participant in Operation Overlord. You will create an eye-witness account of D-Day, describing what it was like to participate in this world-altering event.

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 Copyright 2004 by Jo Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 06/28/12.