Pointe du Hoc Omaha Beach and American Cemetery
Visit in just a few hours the most remarkable and moving sites around Omaha Beach. You will have the opportunity during this tour of walking on this famous beach. It was in this sector that the Allies suffered the heaviest casualties of D-Day earning the beach the nickname of “Bloody Omaha”.
You will see the impressive site of the German gun battery at Pointe du Hoc where the Rangers famously scaled the 100-foot cliffs to destroy the battery that should have been in place. You will also experience the American Cemetery where the young soldiers who died for their country and for the freedom of Western Europe are buried at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking the eastern end of Omaha Beach itself.
POINTE DU HOC : Re-live on this exceptional site the exploits of the 2nd Battalion of the US Rangers. After having scaled the 100-foot cliffs under heavy enemy fire the Rangers pushed on through this lunar landscape to capture and destroy the 6 heavy guns capable of firing their shells to a maximum range of nearly 15 miles. Colonel Rudder and his men only realised upon capturing the battery that the Germans under the orders of Rommel had moved the guns half a mile inland and hidden them while bunkers were being constructed to protect them.
The taking of Pointe du Hoc was a long and laborious fight with the Rangers being left to fend for themselves two days longer than had been planned. The 2nd Battalion suffered very heavy casualties during the two and a half days they were at Pointe du Hoc only 90 of the original 225 still fighting when they were finally relieved.
OMAHA BEACH : Approximately 34 000 soldiers of the famous 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions landed on this beach on D-Day. The beach was covered in anti-tank and anti-landing craft obstacles. Nearly all of the pre-invasion bombardment had missed the fortifications along the beach and the geography of the beach itself consisting of 80 to 100-foot bluffs rising up from the shore was very easily defendable terrain for the Germans. One of the only good quality front line Infantry Divisions available to the Germans was also present on the beach purely by coincidence.
This made the assault the most difficult of all the beaches on D-Day earning the nickname “Bloody Omaha”. Only a few days after the landings the Americans had transformed nearly the entire beach into a vast artificial harbour code named “Mulberry A”. It was used for less than a week before it was destroyed in a very heavy storm between the 19th and 22nd of June 1944. There is only one piece of this harbour left to be seen today.
AMERICAN CEMETERY : Overlooking the eastern end of Omaha Beach the American cemetery holds the bodies of 9 387 soldiers who came from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to liberate Western Europe from the Germans. This immense place of memory and reflexion will impress you with its calm and serenity. You can see the graves of some of the 307 unknown soldiers or visit the resting places of the more famous such as the Niland brothers the family who inspired the film “Saving Private Ryan” as well as the three Medals of Honor winners one of whom is General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
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