The Normandy beaches were chosen by planners because they lay within range of air cover, and were less heavily defended than the Pas de Calais, the shortest distance between Great Britain and the Continent. Airborne drops at both ends of the beachheads were to protect the flanks, as well as open up roadways to the interior. Six divisions were to land on the first day; three U.S., two British and one Canadian. Two more British and one U.S. division were to follow up after the assault division had cleared the way through the beach defenses.
Disorganization, confusion, incomplete or faulty implementation of plans characterized the initial phases of the landings. This was especially true of the airborne landings which were badly scattered, as well as the first wave units landing on the assault beaches. To their credit, most of the troops were able to adapt to the disorganization. In the end, the Allies achieved their objective.
The airborne assault into Normandy as part of the D Day Allied invasion of Europe was the largest use of airborne troops up to that time. Please remember all our troops that have fought to save our independence.
"The Pointe du Hoc was a vital position on the Atlantic Wall manned by the troops of Field-Marshall Rommel; its casemates of concrete several feet thick, contained six 155 mm guns, capable of firing on Omaha Beach and, even further away on Utah Beach at the foot of the Cherbourg Peninsula.."
"On June 6th, at 7:10 am, 225 Rangers, quite unexpected, landed and heroically scaled the 90 foot cliffs."
"The Rangers struggled on for two long days and when these heroes were finally reinforced by troops which landed on the night of June 7th and 8th, only 90 of them remained, many of whom were wounded."
The Normandy American Cemetery is one of 14 permanent American World War II military cemeteries on foreign soil.
The grave area contains ten grave plots, five on each side of the main mall. Within them are the remains of 9,387 servicemen and women. Three hundred and seven of which are unknowns (whose remains could not be identified). The Precisely aligned headstones against the immaculately maintained emerald green lawn convey an unforgettable feeling of peace and serenity. Overlooking Omaha Beach, this place is conducive to meditation and remembrance. A chapel and a memorial add the finishing touch to this moving scene.
The Caen Peace Memorial is a unique site dedicated to the history of the 20th century, from the Second World War through to the end of the Cold War, and a reflection on the challenges of the 21st century, including peace, geopolitical stakes, the environment.
Tours available from Paris:
There are various tours including a 12 hour trip which ranges from $225 to $300.
T09A - Normandy D Day Tour : Battlefields and Landing Beaches day trip from Paris
An experienced driver-guide picks you up at your Paris hotel for a journey through the history of World War II. You will travel to the Beach of Normandy in a deluxe air-conditioned vehicle. First you will stop at "The Pointe du Hoc", 90 feet high cliffs, where 225 Rangers landed on the morning of June 6, 1944. It was one of the strong points of the German fortifications. Then you will continue your day of remembrance and stop at Colleville sur Mer to visit the American Cemetery, Overlooking Omaha Beach, which contains over 9,000 white crosses perfectly aligned on 170 acres. A chapel and memorial add the finishing touches to this moving scene allowing visitors to reflect on the price of war. You will then leave and stop at other famous WWII locations such as Arromanches and the vestiges of the artificial harbour (Mulberry Bridge), Longues-sur-Mer and the German artillery battery, which gave the allied a pounding on the morning of 6th June. It is actually the only coastal battery to have kept its guns, giving an impressive picture of what an atlantic wall gun emplacement was really like. Before returning to your Paris hotel, you will visit the Caen Memorial, a place for reflecting on war in general and on what WWII meant, and still means, to the world.
CONTENT: extract from The D-Day Landings and The Battle of Normandy; Normandy American Cemetery Documentation; Pointe du Hoc Rangers Museum Documentation
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