The Normandy beachhead. General Charles De Gaulle and other Free French officers and officials, in jeeps, make their way into village of Courseulles-sur-Mer. Barrage balloons seen in sky. Allied troops move along roads in military vehicles, and some soldiers are on foot. A French Catholic priest, on a bicycle, recognizes General de Gaulle and his party, stops his bicycle in amazement and doffs his hat. A Frenchman, gardening, waves. Man, on horse-drawn cart, stops to look. Women on the side of the road greet and wave to the jeeps. People on either side of the road. General Charles De Gaulle arrives with other officers in the village. Children offer flowers to th General. Several people look on. The General and officers walk through the streets of the village. The General meets the villagers. A French sailor kisses a woman. General De Gaulle speaks from a platform,under a Free French Cross of Lorraine flag, and flanked by British and American flags. A huge crowd gathered to listen to the General. Several women and children look on. General Henri Giraud, stands nearby. The audience sings La Marseillaise. The General amidst the villagers.He kisses a small child. Buildings in view behind. The General proceeds to the vehicle.
View from a 4-engine airplane in flight over altocumulus clouds. Setting sun creates pink colors. Scene changes abruptly to views, inland from Omaha Beach, at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, of the temporary military battlefield cemetery established by the U.S. First Army, on June 8, 1944, right after the Allied invasion of Normandy, in World War 2. Simple wooden crosses mark the graves of the fallen Americans, each identified by one of their dog tags fastened to the marker.
Film opens with map showing lower France and Mediterranean areas.However, it shows images covering primarily the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) under German occupation. German infantry march along a road. A flight of German FW-190 Fighter airplanes flies inland from the Mediterranean Sea and crosses low above a harbor. Change of scene shows a single fighter plane buzzing the Marseille Port. (It looks like a P-47 with invasion stripes. But It does not draw any anti-aircraft fire.) Camera tracks it from vantage point at the Marseille Basilica, high above the harbor. Brief view of the Basilica as the aircraft passes. A glimpse of the Marseille Port below from the Basilica. View of the Marseille Transporter Bridge designed by Ferdinand Arnodin and built in 1905. (It was destroyed after these films were made, in 1944.) A German soldier peering through binoculars in front of a 2 cm Flak 30/38/Flakvierling, quad anti-aircraft gun position. Another one is seen in the background. Several more views of German anti-aircraft and other gun emplacements protecting the Marseille Port, including 88mm guns, heavy machine guns, and coastal defense guns. Scene shifts to German soldiers marching near the French Riviera beach and palm trees. Italian cavalry are seen riding in formation, ostensibly from Nice. Italian soldiers in trucks are being transported along the Riviera waterfront. A road sign points toward Toulon at 6.3 kilometers away. (So this location is probably near Sanary-sur-Mer.) View of the Toulon harbor, where the French battleship Provence, scuttled in 1942, is seen settled low in the water at a pier.
Twenty one former Nazi SS men go on trial before military tribunal for the massacre of 1944, of 642 men, women and children at a village in Oradour-sur-Glane. While in the village, seven survivors survey the charred buildings of the hamlet which was put to torch. Abandoned bicycle with flowers. Mourners at graves.
A group of passengers waiting to go on board the American ocean liner SS Washington, standing at the port of Le Verdon Sur Mer, Bordeaux France. Passengers leaving France shortly before its fall to Nazi Germany are shown inspected for passport and searched before boarding. A car being hoisted onto the ship. View of the clock tower and loading areas at the port of Le Verdon Sur Mer (subsequently destroyed by Nazi Germany later in the war, in November 1944). Captain Manning standing on the bridge. View of ship SS Washington pulling away from dock. June 1940.
German prisoners of war at work digging graves for fallen American soldiers, at the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944. This is the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II, and located on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux in Colleville-sur-Mer. (It is now the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.) Vertical posts with dog tags attached, mark the gravesites of the fallen troops. American soldiers sit near covered bodies of the fallen and perform tasks of identification and grave assignment. Covered remains of one soldier are carried across the field on a stretcher. Barrage balloons are seen in the sky overhead.