On January 1943
, Churchill, Roosevelt met at Casablanca and decided to launch the landings on Normandy.
The landing operation began during the night of 5th and 6th when the airborne divisions were dropped on eastern and western flanks of the front. The paratroop's mission was to capture certains keypoints (Merville battery, bridges over the Caen and the Orne canal, locks...).
During the D-Day
more than 150 000 me
n had landed and almost 20 000 vehicules
had been unloaded. On the evening of the D-Day the allied forces had succeeded in establishing a bridgehead on the continent.
There are different itineraries. Many batteries, cemeteries, concrete bunkers remain on the Norman beaches. I suggest a tour from Sword to Utha Beach
(from Bénouville to Ste Mère Eglise). I am at your disposal to create a customized tour for your group.
SWORD BEACH (3rd British Infantery Division)
Bénouville : Pegasus bridge
Shortly after midnight six gliders landed near the briges, code-named Pegasus and Horsa briges, over the Caen and Orne canal. They brought the men from the 6th airborne division. Just recently a new brige which an exact replica of the oldest, was built and is now in use over the river. But for historical reasons, the old one was preserved ans it's located next to the new museum.
The Casino of this city was liberated by a commando of 177 free French soldiers.
Visit of the Memorial. This museum is also called the Peace Museum. It's the biggest museum on the World War II.
JUNO BEACH (3rd Canadian Infantry Division)
The biggest Canadian cemetery in Normandy
A small fishing port used to unload supplies and to bring reinforcements by the Canadians.
Graye-sur mer :
Walk on the beach to see the Lorraine Cross (the landing point of many VIPs : Montgomery, Churchill and General De Gaulle) and the "One Charlie", a canadian tank sank during the fights and rediscovered in the 1970's.
GOLD BEACH (50th British Infantery Division)
The primary task of the soldiers was to build an artificial harbour and to drive inland to seize the road junction at Bayeux as well as contact US forces on the left and Canadians on the right.
You could see the remains of the artificial port code-named Mulberry B and visit the museum showing animated models of the port.
Longues-sur mer :
The battery is located between Gold and Omaha Beach. Its the only one in Normandy where the cannons remain. Its a part of the Atlantik wall erected by the Germans on the shores of Western Europe.
In Normandy a methodical defensive system was only undertaken at the beginning of 1944 under the pressure from Rommel. This battery is on a hill of 215 feet high. There were four 152 mm guns with a range of up 12,5 miles.
OMAHA BEACH (1st American Army and the 29th American Infantery Division)
AT 4.30 a.m, 180 landing crafts were released at about five miles. Many soldiers had to swim until the shore. As soon as they set foot on the beach they came under heavy fire. They had to cross about 600 yards of the beach without any protection, because most of the amphibious tanks which should have support them were to far out and sank, to find shelter under the concrete sea wall.
American cemetery :
9 387 American soldiers are buried here. This site covers 175 acres and has been given to the American government. It's situated on a cliff which is overlooking Omaha Beach.
Walk on the beach
La pointe du Hoc :
It's a splendid site of about 30 acres. The cliff had been fortified by the Germans who had installed a battery equipped with six 155 mm cannons. This stronghold was taken by the 2nd battalion of Rangers. Today this is a 60 acres site protected by the Coastline Conservation Trust. Germans and Americans bodies still lie under the rubble.
La Cambe :
This cemetery is the last resting place of 21 500 German soldiers who fought in 1944.
UTHA BEACH (4th American Infantery Division)
The 82nd and the 101st American Airborne Divison were dropped as the same time as the 6th British Airborne on the eastern front to clear off the terrain from the sea to Ste Mère l'Eglise and to take this town and different bridges.
The task of the infantry troops was to take the coastal positions a establish a solid bridgehead. The mission was to cut the Contentin peninsula in two.
Sainte Mère Eglise :
On June 6th about 1 a.m 15 000 paratroopers were dropped above and around this town. In the church
there is a stained glass window which depicts the arrival of the paratroopers. One of those, John Steele was caught by his parachute on the steeple of the church. In memory of their action a paratrooper museum
has been build.
Sainte Marie du Mont :
General Theodore Roosevelt then aged 57 years landed with the first wave. There is a Landings museum
in a blockhouse of the Atlantic Wall