Thursday, May 31, 2012

Normandy - Pointe du Hoc

Point du Hoc sits between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.  The site overlooks both areas and was considered a key point of the D-Day attack.  The area was bombed with over 10 kilotons of explosives (equivalent to the power of the Hiroshima bomb) which will become evident in the pictures below.

One of the initial craters you see walking in.

This photo gives some perspective on the size of the craters.

Omaha "Beach", what the Rangers had to climb when they arrived.

The Pointe

Bombed out casemate

The view the Nazi's would have had as the Allied force came upon them.

The Pointe du Hoc monument which is perpetually cared for by the American Battle Monument Commission.

The cliffs that the Rangers had to climb while being shot at.

A view of the craters

The bombed out casemates

100 yards later, it was as if we were back in Iowa

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Normandy - American Cemetery

The surreal peacefulness that exists today contrasted with the events of June 6th, 1944 are such diametric and moving opposites.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Normandy - Longues sur Mer

Our second stop in Normandy was at Longues sur Mer which was part of the German Atlantic Wall coastal defense.  The site was home to four 152mm navy guns which were fortified in concrete protection.

A partially bomb fortification.

One of the bombed out guns.

A fully intact 152 mm navy gun.

Inside the cement fortification of the intact navy gun.

The size of the guns were larger than I had anticipated.

An ammunition bunker on the edge of a cornfield.  It was really eerie how similar the land was to that of Iowa.  When you were away from the sea you would not know if you were in Burlington or Bayeux.

Inside the bunker

The base of a piece of artillery.

The living space inside the base

On the horizon you can see the fortified arsenals peaking over the crops.

The view a Nazi commander would have had as the Allied boats arrived on D-Day.

Entrance to the lookout point above.

The view from the seaside of the lookout point.

The cliffs and terrain the Allies faced as they stormed the "beaches".

Monday, May 28, 2012

Normandy - Arromanches

The first stop on our Normandy tour was to Arromanches. The site was the home to the Mulberry Harbors (temporary harbors built to get supplies to the Allies after the landing).  At its peak the Allies unloaded 18,000 tons of supplies each day and in total it was used to land 2.5 million men.

The cliffs that the Allies faced at each beach were one of the most striking things to take in at each stop.

The Mulberry Harbors were designed to last 3 months, but over 60 years later remnants can still be seen.

The town of Arromanches.

A bunker that remains.

In the distance you can see more of the remains of the harbor.