NORMANDY: Pointe-Du-Hoc & D-Day beaches

I love learning everything about WWII. But to actually BE AT Pointe du Hoc was such a humbling experience. 

The feat of the 2nd Ranger Battalion

“A link in the long-range defenses in the bay of the seine – six 155 mm guns of French origin had been placed on a platform. Following aerial bombardment, 2 case-mates had been built in the spring of 1944. With a range of 12 miles, the battery was a threat to both Omaha and Utah beaches. Its landward defenses and position in a narrow bill ruled out and attack from the rear, much less a parachute drop.”

The assault against the fortress: 

“225 men under Colonel Rudder were to scale both faces of the cliff at 6:30 AM. The attack was late due to navigational errors. the small landing craft did not arrive until 7:10 – 40 minutes late, and 40 minutes after the naval bombardment. Having recovered from shock, the German gunners were ready for their assailants. The Rangers attacked from the eastern side only. With their rocket-fired grappling hooks and rope ladders, they began the climb under gunfire and grenades. The Rangers reached the top at 7:15 AM and at 7:35 AM 150 survivors seized their objective.” 

“An artillery position with no guns! They were removed and withdrawn to positions further inland. But the Germans replaced them with wooden beams covered with camouflage nets – misleading aerial observation. The 155 mm guns were found 1 km south. Cornered against the clifftops, the Rangers had to fight for two days (June 6, 1944 – June 8, 1944). They were down to 90 men by the time the rescue tanks arrived.”

**D-Day WWII** 

Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial 

  • Layout: 172.5 acre memorial overlooking a reflective pool to the grave plots, chapel, and statues
    • Symbolic statues: Two granite statues represent the U.S. and France
    • Graves: Ten grave plots – all men and women lie under headstones of white marble Latin crosses and stars of David
    • The Chapel: Mosaic ceiling depicts America blessing her sons as they depart, and a grateful France placing a laurel wreath upon the American dead
    • The plants: Trees, shrubs, and roses highlight the grave plot
  • 9,387 headstones, 9,283 crosses, 149 stars of David, 1,557 MIA, 3 medal of honors, 41 sets of brothers
  • The dedication was on July 18, 1956
  • One of the 14 American WWII cemeteries on foreign soil – granted by the French government
  • On a bluff overlooking Omaha beach
  • Established June 8, 1944
  • The 1,557 MIA Americans who lost their lives but never recovered have their names written on the walls on the east side of the memorial
  • “Spirit of American youth” statue
  • Notable soldiers: 
    • Theodore Roosevelt Jr – Medal of Honor
    • Lesley J McNair – U.S. Army General
    • Jimmy W Monteith – Medal of Honor
    • Frank D Peregory – Medal of Honor
    • Preston & Robert Niland

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