Visiting this sacred ground was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had. My grandfather’s older brother, Peter, landed on Omaha Beach 18 days after D-Day. He fought with the 33rd Armored Regiment for nearly two more months before being killed by a direct hit to his tank on August 17th, just one day before operation Overlord was declared a success.
Pointe du Hoc was the site of the initial push on D-Day. It was thought that five long range German guns were held atop the point, so the first order was to have the 2nd Army Rangers scale the 100 foot cliffs below and destroy the guns. Once on top of the point, the Rangers discovered that the guns were in fact dummies. It was one of many intelligence shortfalls during the invasion, but Allied soldiers were still able to prevail against these incredible odds.
Rangers memorial – Dedicated on 6th June, 1984 by president Reagan
The memorial was meant to symbolize the sword in the Ranger insignia
I was amazed at how clear and beautiful the water was
Signs of Life
Life finds a way
If any of you have seen Saving Private Ryan, this is the site of the initial scene in the movie. The 1st and 29th Army divisions attempted to take this beach and were cut to pieces by German machine guns. 1,400 Allied deaths occurred on D-Day. The 29th alone suffered a staggering 92% casualty rate. Amazing that such horrific things happened in such a beautiful, peaceful place.
It was easy to see how German soldiers had a tremendous advantage here
The ground of the main memorial is made of pebbles collected on Omaha Beach
Once soldiers got off the beach, they faced even more resistance in the French countryside. The infamous hedgerows provided the perfect cover for retreating Nazi soldiers. Most of the invasion’s casualties were suffered in the weeks and months after D-Day.