D Day at Juno Beach
This is the initial work on a painting dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Canadian participation in D-Day. On 6 June, 1944, the first of 14,000 Canadian troops landed on a beach code named Juno as part of Operation Overlord. The Canadian troops were joined by many other Canadians at sea and in the air serving with RCN and RCAF units in this, the largest military amphibious operation in the history of warfare.
Sixty years ago, on June 6, 1944 almost 15,000 Canadians participated in the largest amphibious operation in history. They landed at a beach on the Normandy coastline code named Juno. They were at sea in ships of the Royal Canadian Navy, clearing mines, manning landing craft or in destroyers bombarding the beach defences. In the air squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force provided fighter cover, bombed targets in support of the allied invasion and roamed the countryside in fighter-bomber sweeps blasting German transportation and armour moving toward the beach heads.
The Canadian success that day on those beaches was a major contribution to the overall success of Operation Overlord and ultimately the victory of the allied forces in destroying the Nazi Third Reich’s grip on the countries of Europe. Although many years have passed since the historic events of that day Canadians can take pride that at a critical moment in the history of the world and the development of human civilization, Canada and Canadians faced a threat directly and fought the good fight for a good cause.
How historically based paintings are created: The first step is of course a concept. In the case of historical paintings involving aircraft and equipment accuracy is important. Consequently a lot of effort goes into researching technical details. This includes such details as types of equipment, aircraft and vehicles used, squadron and unit codes and insignia and the terrain and weather involved. Studying photographic resources is helpful however artistic imperatives such as composition and the use of the artist’s skill in the creation of the painting ultimately will determine the final product. There is always a balance and sometimes tension in this process of achieving accuracy and art.
For more information, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_Beach
The finished painting of the 6 June 1944 D Day landings in Normandy by the Canadian Forces. The painting depicts Canadian Infantry from the 3rd Infantry Division advancing past the beach defences after the initial assault. The infantry is being supported by specialized tanks of the British 79th Armoured Division, nicknamed “Hobart’s Funnies” after the Division Commander. The tank in the foreground is a Churchill AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) armed with a 290mm Spigot mortar, known as a ‘Petard”, which fired a 40lb demolition charge called a “flying dustbin” used to demolish concrete obstacles and bunkers. The landing beach is the scene of the unloading of troops and vehicles, including another type of specialized armoured vehicle a DD (Duplex Drive) amphibious Sherman tank), from landing ships and craft of RCN while in the distance offshore ships of the RCN continue to support the push inland by landed troops with naval gunfire support. Overhead two RCAF Spitfire fighters conduct a low pass over the beach while at a higher altitude transport aircraft fly inland to reinforce the paratroops dropped before the beach landings. The building in the painting is iconic of the Canadian landings and has become of focal point of Canadian visitors to Juno Beach.