Spud piers with dazzle camouflage being prepared for the D-Day Normandy Landings
Unmounted (ref: 8567)
Signed and dated, stamped to the reverse 'Passed for publication, 24 May 1945, Ministry of Information'
15 1/2 x 22 3/4 in. ( 39.5 x 57.8 cm)
Provenance: The Artist's Family
During World War II, Rudolf Sauter was an Army Welfare Officer under South Eastern Command. Although he was never an official war artist he recorded significant events that he witnessed. This watercolours shows so called Spud piers being prepared for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The tall objects like chimneys are the legs that support a landing platform (which could be raised or lowered to suit the tide). Armaments and supplies were landed at these Spud piers and then taken by a floating causeway to the shore.
They were used at several landing places, including the most famous and bloodiest, Omaha Beach. They were only installed after troops had secured the beach and its immediate hinterland. Sauter probably painted this before the landings - in the months leading up to June 1944 - but as D-Day was an intensely secret operation it wasn't passed for publication until after the war in Europe ended (may 8, 1945). It is also possible that it was drawn in situ, in Normandy sometime after D-Day.
The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
We are grateful to Ian Jack for assistance.