Normandy D-Day Beaches

Marilyn has had the Normandy D-Day beaches on her bucket list at least since we started planning this trip. So today we went to the Memorial de Caen Museum before starting toward the beaches. This is a wonderful museum with more detail about the causes and the waging of the war than can be ingested in one trip. We were slightly disappointed because the portion on D-Day was not as exhaustive as we wanted for this day trip. Still worth visiting.

We began our day by driving north from Caen to the coast between Sword (easternmost) and Juno beaches. We then traveled the coast to Arromanches-les-Bains just past Gold Beach. The view from here is the best view of Mulberry Harbor, an artificial and ”temporary” harbor to facilitate the unloading of men and materials to support the invasion.

Part of the harbor still exists.
Interesting sculpture with some of the beach defenses in the background.
A portion of the bridge for unloading. It was supported by pontoons.

Between Gold and Omaha Beaches, we stopped at Longues-sur-Mer for a look at some typical German bunkers. The amount of labor and concrete used in the defenses boggles the mind.

Large artillery guns.
Machine guns.
From the machine gun emplacement it’s hard to see the big guns.

From there we went to Omaha Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery (see next post). After that Bob walked out almost a mile from the visitor center at Pointe du Hoc to visit the sight of the scaling of the cliffs by Army Rangers. When they reached the top, they discovered that the big guns that would have threatened nearby beaches had been removed and not yet installed in new bunkers. The Rangers faced fierce mortar and machine gun fire, however, and their numbers were decimated. This is one of the few places where the craters from the allied bombardment are still visible.

Cliffs seen a little east of Point du Hoc. Pretty significant cliff to climb. Their ladders were too short and their ropes too heavy with sea water to throw up so they could climb. Finally, they used some the Germans had left, apparently.
The point. Very exposed landing.
How big was the bomb that caused this crater?

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