On Omaha beach on D-Day how did the Allies finally break through, get off the beach, and establish a firm beachhead? What part did General Norman Cota play?
The assault on Ohama Beach on 6 June 1944 is remembered as one of the most intense of the D-Day landings. That morning, the sea conditions pushed the Allied troops to the left so they landed to the left of their intended targets. On the first wave of attacks, the Allies were held at the water line by the Germans and it was not until a second company attacked that a gap was found and they were able to push through. Another company followed shortly after.
Had the Germans realized the importance of this, they might have sent reinforcements. They were, however, under the impression that they had won the battle and this misinformed view allowed the Allies to push even further and take the beach.
As for General Norman Cota, he is best remembered for personally leading his shell-shocked soldiers through enemy fire and through a gap on the beach. It was during this attack that he uttered his most famous words: "Gentlemen, we are being killed on the beaches. Let us go inland and be killed."