Home > Learning Activity 6-B-1: WWII Maps > Group A 6-B-1 Workspace

SEA Record

WWII map from June 8, 1944


  • WWII tan map
  • Outline map
  • made by Engineers sec 12 AG
  • date June 8, 1944
  • waterways labeled in blue
  • railroads marked
  • roads marked
  • map key shows US, British, Enemy, Bombline
  • arrows are drawn to show exact spot of the troops on the map
  • numbers are beside the symbols; Roman Numerals are above the symbols; symbols are in symbols; some have ?
  • title: Europe (Air) Conical Orthomorphic
  • towns, cities and rivers look like French words
  • Scale is 1:500,000. Distance scale is in kilometers and miles.
  • PZ LEHR DIV. in south with arrow toward north


  • tan map of WWII France
  • depicts placement of British, U.S. enemy troops and bombline on map key
  • numbers are shown next to each symbol on the map which may mean the number of troops; the Roman Numerals may mean the divisions; ? indicates not knowing the enemy numbers
  • arrows are drawn that show movement lines of British and U.S. troops
  • arrow in the south shows movement of PZ LEHR DIV
  • "situation: 2400 hours 8 June 1944" HQ FUSAG
  • sheet 3 indicates how detailed these maps are
  • map includes latitude and longitude coordinates which are measured from the Greenwich Line
  • word "Secret" appears crossed out meaning the map is no longer classified
  • includes all towns, cities, waterways, railroads
  • handwritten notes; Concentration of TKS and PZ LEHR DIV look like notes about enemy tanks (tanks and German Panzers)
  • label shows "declassified"
  • I recognize the Seine River and the Bay of Mont St. Michel as waterways on the map
  • Outline Maps must mean that it shows the cities, roads, railways, and water, but not the topography or other political areas
  • This was also a Communications and Air Map


  • conclusion this is a map of France, based on foreign words and knowledge of the Sienne River
  • map was once considered "Secret" and "classified", no longer the case because the war is over
  • map symbols show U.S. troops with # and expected movement lines
  • map symbols show British troops with # and expected movement lines
  • map coordinates show exact locations of troops
  • Allied forces knew specific locations prior to D-Day Normandy Invasion; there is a March 1944 date on the map
  • Allied forces practiced for months before the invasion. No one with the possiblity of being captured could know about it. Plans of the invasion were to be cancelled if there was any chance of information leaking.
  • This map was dated 2 days after D-Day so this would be where the troops set up
  • D-Day was a surprise invasion at Normandy. It was delayed because of the weather. The bluff was for the Germans to think that the invasion would be at Pas de Calais. They also thought that no invasion would take place because of the weather. The invasion, the greatest amphibian invasion in world history, was in two phases: airborne after midnight and amphibious at 6:30 AM. The entire operation was Operation Neptune. It continued until June 30, 1944.
  • FUSAG means First United States Army Group, which is the 12th Army
  • the maps reflect knowledge at the time; some of the information was an intelligence failure or incomplete

Discussion Area

Discuss and answer the following questions about the series of maps.

How can this series of maps be used in the classroom?
For anyone studying WWII in the classroom, these maps would really give perspective to how the U.S. planned their strategies and recorded important information.
Another lesson could be to compare WWII maps with earlier and later war strategy maps.
Comparing where troops were thought to be by the Commanders and where the troops actually were would illustrate why certain decisions were made.
Progress of the Allied troops could be recorded by students.

What prior information would be necessary for students to use these maps effectively?
Students would need to know how to read a map key. I don't think students need to have studied WWII yet, it might be a great activity before they actually know the outcome. It would be good inductive reasoning.
For deductive reasoning, the students could learn about the Normandy Invasion then look at the maps to see what the commanders knew at the time and compare that to what history shows what happened.

Would you use these maps in your classroom? Why or why not?

Personally, I would not use these specific maps in my classroom. My class is learning basic map skills, so I would use more kid-friendly maps in my classroom. I would surely use these maps if I taught WWII history, but I do not.
I would probably not use these maps in kindergarten, either. (The USGS site has activities and lessons for beginning map skills.) One way to use these maps would be to use them as an example of different types of maps: political, topographical, over view, etc. or as an example of different symbols on maps.

Map Uses Brainstorming

  • In language arts, activities and maps from the USGS http://egsc.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/teachers-packets/mapadventures/ could lead to creative writing. The children could write a creative story about the map, finish a sentence starter about the map, or write answers to questions about the map.
  • In math class, students could use the map scale to determine actual distances from specific locations on the map; or students could research actual distances and create a map scale
  • In social studies or French class, students could use these maps to do a compare/contrast activity to more recent maps of same area and write a paragraph citing similarities or differences noted
  • In computer class, the students find the satellite picture of the same area by using the latitude and longitude lines, and explain how strategy would be the same/different today.
  • In reading, students read about the Normandy Invasion, secondary stories or reporting, or primary sources, such as letters. The students then write letters, pretending they are one of the soldiers, telling their families about their experiences.
  • Integrating technology and writing: students will compare and contrast using a Venn diagram two viewpoints of the Normandy invasion, one written by an Allied forces soldier, one written from a German soldier; http://www.proteacher.com/redirect.php?goto=1905 Allied perspective
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/dday2a.html German soldier perspective
  • after reviewing the WWII maps students will search for more information using this webiste: http://www.thedropzone.org/europe/Normandy/Normandydefault.html student will read through three primary source articles found in the virtual museum written by Normany soldiers, students will choose one article to write a brief summary and explain their thoughts on the experience
  • Social Studies: map skills: students will use the primary source WWII maps as a reference to re-creating their own version of the map using different symbols and creating a new map key
  • Centers: make a map game using the map outline as the game board. Index cards would be the places on the map children need to learn. For their turns, they would draw cards and place them on the map. Correct placement would earn them a manipulative that would pertain to the map. Other centers: Make a puzzle from the map for students to put together. Play RISK! http://mapofeurope.com/
  • Math: Using the symbols on a map that showed symbols representing numbers, such as the British, American, and German troops, the students could create word or story problems for math.