From THE WAR Episode 4:
NARRATOR: Far off shore, General Bradley considered abandoning Omaha rather than sending in more men to die.
NARRATOR : Then, the Americans began to improvise. Commanders defied orders and risked tearing the bottoms from their ships, to bring them within 1,000 yards of the beach and use their guns to finally knock out the German pillboxes and gun emplacements. And on the beach itself, officers and enlisted men alike began taking their survival into their own hands. “They’re murdering us here!” one wounded officer shouted to his men, “Let’s move inland and get murdered there, instead!” Here and there, individuals got to their feet and started forward. Then, small groups began to follow.
JOSEPH VAGHI: This officer came up to me and saw that I was a beach-master and I had the power megaphones and he said, “ Tell these guys get the hell off the beach.” So I said, “Got orders here that you’re to get the hell off the beach now.”
WALTER EHLERS: And the beach master said, “Well, you follow that path there, because if you go right or left of it, you’ll be stepping on mines.
JOSEPH VAGHI: This one soldier he got up he put a bangalore torpedo in the, under the barbed wire, blew a gap in it. He said, “Come on, follow me.” And he led the way.
WALTER EHLERS: I rushed my squad through it. We got off of the beach, and it was probably the biggest thing I ever did in my life was get those twelve men off the beach.
NARRATOR: When the Germans continued to block the gullies that led inland, the Americans hurled themselves right at the bluffs, clambering to the top and attacking enemy positions from the side and rear.