Continuing on from yesterday, we took 4 June to visit Point Du Hoc, the famous assault up the cliffs by the Rangers and the ceremony at Utah Beach.
The French Government has spent millions to shore up the cliffs at Point Du Hoc so this key piece of history is not lost to time. We came too early to see the museum there, but it was pretty spectacular nonetheless. Hard to imaging being given the mission to climb these cliffs by hand and assault the bunkers there. Not surprising that out of 225 Rangers, only 90 were standing by 8 June. Here is there incredible story. As my boss said when we were looking at the cliffs, “when they drop you off in the boat and tell you the enemy is up there – what choice do you have but to go up?”
Yeah, that’s what they had to climb while being shot at and grenades drop on them.
The bunkers are mostly intact and you can go down in them to get a sense of the fields of fire.
At the Utah Beach ceremony, GEN Milley, the Army Chief of Staff gave a nice speech followed by one from one of the veterans. They have a new museum there which was very nice and a must see.
It was a nice sunny day in the afternoon and you could really see the enormity of the beach. Tides fluctuate a lot in Normandy. The attackers had to land at low tide so the boats could avoid all the obstacles that might have sunk them. However this meant that the Soldiers had to cross about 400 yards of open beach before they could get to the bluffs where I took these photos. They were luck that the beach was not well defended and did not take the high casualties of Omaha Beach. Pretty impressive to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they had to go through. Read more about it here.