D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy,

and a rubber map.

John, I guess you could say that every map

has a story behind it,

but this one really has a story behind it.

Tell us what we're looking at.

Well, we're looking at a map of Utah Beach

for the D-Day invasion of 1944.

And this was a map prepared by allied forces

in preparing troops for the landing at the beachhead.

And it was done by taking aerial photography of the area

and then translating that onto a map.

And this, of course, is not actually just a drawing.

It's actually a three-dimensional map.

And tell us a little bit about that.

We get a feeling of raised relief.

You can see tree lines. You can see fence lines.

You can see buildings, and they're all raised up.

So if you were coming in at a certain angle,

you would get an idea of what lows and highs there were

as far as structures were concerned

as you're entering the combat area.

I guess the big issue for soldiers

was that they didn't want to unload

off their landing craft and get pinned down on the beach.

Is that right? That's absolutely correct.

Well, look at here too.

You'd feel that there's a sand due or high ridge here.

So not only you're encountering a very thin beach,

but you know you have to come up quite a ways

to get beyond the beach and into the safety of the land.

So they cross this little strip of sand,

and they're almost up against a wall.

They've got to get up and over.

Yeah, that's what's being shown right here.

You can see this height.

Quite a bit of intricate detail

that would be good to know it exists

so that you know what cover is and what cover is not.

My understanding is, this map was used

to brief Eisenhower and Montgomery.

This map? This map.

The gentleman who gave us this map

was a 27-year-old navy intelligence officer who,

at the ripe old age of 84,

called up the Geography and Map Division one day

and says, "I have this map. Would you be interested?"

and we said, "Yes."

Well, this is a piece that couldn't be more dramatic.

It really is kind of a God's-eye view.

And it tells the story in front of you,

or at least on the dawn,

on the eve of the story about to unfold.

Almost picture this silence right before everything...

let's go.

I'm John Hebert, Chief of the Geography and Map Division,

Library of Congress.