(Life.com) -- It's no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term "D-Day."
We've all seen -- in photos, movies, old news reels -- what happened on the beaches of Normandy (code named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed an historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.
But in color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine's Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after:
-- American troops training in small English towns.
-- The French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads.
-- The reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital.
-- The jubilant liberation of Paris itself.