LENS

October 10, 2015

Normandy, France – 5 October, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — wally426 @ 9:04 pm

 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

   

Bunkerface

 
View from the German bunker atop Pointe du Hoc

   

Roonz


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I was amazed at how clear and beautiful the water was

 
Scars of battle can still be seen here from the aerial bombardment prior to the Rangers’ assault
   

Signs of Life

 
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Rebarred

 
These sandbags were frozen in time, most likely dropped by German soldiers when the bombardment commenced
   

Life finds a way

 
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Omaha Beach – Dog One Sector

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  
 
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The American Cemetery
   

The ground of the main memorial is made of pebbles collected on Omaha Beach

 
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Remembering 
   

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.
 

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2 Comments »

  1. Very moving when I heard of your experience verbally. Much more emotional as I viewed your pics. Uncle Peter became more real to me. My generation and those that followed knew him only from stories passed on from long ago. Thanks for bringing the story of your Great Uncle Peter home to us.

    Comment by Mom — October 10, 2015 @ 10:12 pm

  2. Great post and pics man, as usual. Whenever I think of Normandy and D-Day, a few things come to mind immediately. First was my grandfather who landed on Utah Beach on June 10th with the 39th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division. He had already spent that previous two years making his way across North Africa and Sicily. Thankfully he made it back home or I wouldn’t be writing this.

    Second I think of Brigadier General Ted Roosevelt Jr, who landed with the 4th Infantry Division on Utah Beach on June 6th. Roosevelt was the only General officer coming off landing craft in the first wave, and believed to be the first or second officer to step on the beach on D-Day. A few days before the invasion, he wrote his wife from England, knowing these would likely be his last written words to her: “We’ve had a grand life and I hope there’ll be more. Should it chance that there’s not, at least we can say that in our years together we’ve packed enough for ten ordinary lives. We’ve known joy and sorrow, triumph and disaster, all that goes to fill the pattern of human existence… Our feet were placed in a large room, and we did not bury our talent in a napkin.”

    Also check out these other pics on decaying WWII Nazi bunkers along Europe’s coast: http://www.wired.com/2014/05/stephan-vanfleteren-atlantic-wall/

    Comment by Nick — January 16, 2016 @ 6:41 pm


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