Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Normandy trip – day 2 – Pointe du Hoc

Next stop on day two was Pointe du Hoc, sort of between Utah and Omaha beaches. It’s a steep cliff where the Germans were supposed to have an artillery battery. They had had a battery of six 155 mm guns there, in open topped emplacements, but these were bombed earlier and the Germans started building covered bunkers and removed the guns to avoid losses. This was unknown by the allies, and they planned heavy bombardment and an attack by US Rangers. The latter were supposed to embark, scale the cliffs and attack. Everything went downhill from the beginning. 2/3 of the Rangers didn’t show up, the grappling hooks didn’t get all the way up… Anyway the Rangers did what Rangers are supposed to do; they scaled the cliffs, attacked the troops present, secured the area, survived counterattacks and were cut off for far too long. Read more on Wikipedia.
A dramatic view of Pointe du Hoc in the distance. The weather was something like it was that day 69 years ago.
The top off the cliff was heavily bombarded, and the craters are still there but covered with grass. It must have been hell up there…
One of the emplacements
View towards the monument
One of the gun-bunkers under construction
Splendid view from the observation and machine gun bunker just by the cliff side. The monument is on top of this bunker
The monument, a granite dagger
A steep drop
The way this site is preserved makes it rather unique, and it is a must if you ever make a battlefield tour in these parts. Very good!

Even more of day two to come soon…

Rest of the trip:
Part 1 – Day 1