Historical images on the anniversary of the invasion

Monday marks the 78th anniversary of the historic D-Day operation.

In the midst of World War II, on June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in Nazi-occupied France. More than 156,000 troops, most notably from the United States, Britain and Canada, confronted Nazi forces on D-Day to reshape the war forever, the Defense Department said.

D-Day began the assault phase (codenamed Operation Neptune) of the wider Allied invasion of northwestern Europe led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, known as Operation Overlord. According to Britannica, all of northern France was liberated from Nazi control by the end of August 1944.

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The exact number of people killed in the fighting is unknown, but research by the US National D-Day Memorial Foundation estimates that there were more than 4,000 Allied deaths and between 4,000 and 9,000 German casualties on D-Day.

Over 100,000 Allied and German soldiers died in the entire Battle of Normandy and about 20,000 French civilians are said to have been killed in the bombing.

Here are some D-Day photos from all those years ago.

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US troops of the 4th Infantry Division "famous fourth" land on Utah Beach as Allied forces storm the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
Joseph Vaghi, Central, a US Navy ensign, talks to residents of Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6, 1944, after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy.
Military aircraft of the allies bombing enemy boats to prepare the landing of the allies for the fight against the German Wehrmacht as part of the Second World War.
A photo, taken on June 6, 1944, shows the Allied troops landing in Normandy.  In what remains the largest amphibious assault in history, some 156,000 Allies landed in France on that day.  An estimated 10,000 Allied troops were left dead, wounded or missing, while Nazi Germany lost between 4,000 and 9,000 troops and thousands of French civilians were killed.
Allied army paratroopers land at La Manche on the coast of France on June 6, 1944, after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day.
A photograph courtesy of the United States Army showing soldiers of the 16th Infantry Regiment, wounded during the storming of Omaha Beach, waiting by the chalk cliffs to be evacuated to a field hospital for treatment on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in Normandy, France .
British paratroopers, their faces painted with camouflage paint, read slogans on the side of a glider after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day on June 6, 1944.
This file photo, taken on June 6, 1944, shows soldiers of the Allied forces during the D-Day landing operations in Normandy, in northwestern France.
American paratroopers, heavily armed, sit in a military aircraft as they fly over the English Channel en route to the Normandy French coast for the Allied D-Day invasion of the German stronghold during World War II, June 6, 1944.
German troops surrender to American soldiers during the Allied invasion of Europe, D-Day, in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.
Canadian soldiers land on Courseulles Beach in Normandy as Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches on D-Day.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, left, assesses American troops at a base in England on the eve of D-Day, June 1944, during World War II.  The initials AAAO on the steel helmets with a stripe across the As stands for "Anywhere, anytime, anyhow, except nothing."   The GI's identification shoulder patches are obliterated by the censor.
Some of the first British soldiers injured in the fighting on the French invasion coast lie on stretchers somewhere in England, brought back on the day the attack began, June 6, 1944. Allied soldiers look at their stricken comrades with compassion.

Contributors: Ryan Miller

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