Omaha Beach, Normandy

Omaha Beach, Normandy

Back to our Trafalgar Tour ‘best of France’ .. afternoon of day 10

As my Dad fought in World War II in North Africa and Italy, nowhere near the D-Day Landings in Normandy, on June 6 1944, it made the whole thing real for me.  He used to talk about the war, had an entire set of WWI and WWII books, and had a tin filled with memorabilia including medals and pins.  To be standing in the place where, 68 years ago, over 135 ooo men were brought ashore, with losses totalling around 10 000 was quite a moving experience.

“In the early hours of 6 June 1944, Allied forces began landing on the shores of Normandy, the first step in a long-planned invasion of German-occupied France, known as Operation Overlord.  Parachutists were dropped near Ste-Mère-Eglise and Pegasus Bridge, and sea-borne assaults were made along a string of code-named beaches.  US troops landed on Utah and Omaha in the west, while British and Canadian troops, including a contingent of Free French commandos, landed at Gold, Juno and Sword ”

The movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’  was filmed here.  Standing there, I could imagine troops, having manoeuvred themselves through the German defence obstacles and landmines then scrambling up the hills and cliffs  …

Bunkers still exist in the cliffs ..

Bunker for an 88mm anti-tank gun which  ” faced around 30 tanks that had landed on the beach.  Despite suffering losses, the American tanks finally managed to destroy the gun that morning ..

Supported by tanks and US naval artillery, the surviving infantrymen managed to get a foothold and climb the cliffs, and finally attack and reduce German positions from the rear.

The anti-tank wall that barred the road was then destroyed by the Engineers’ sappers.  This gave the tanks access to Vierville and allowed the Allies to continue their offensive”

Monument built on top of a bunker

Peaceful ..  serene .. calm;  hard to imagine this beach littered with German defences, dead and dying troops, hundreds coming ashore, tanks included ..

It’s just too beautiful to leave it there .. so here’s a few more, taken from the end of the pier ..  to which I  ran walked fast walked !!

A mounted-gun placement ..

Plague reads “The 58th armored field artillery battalion landed here 6 June 1944”

The bus awaited – next stop ..  ‘Normandy American Cemetery – Colleville sur Mer’ not far down the road

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