On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
We will have Normandy posts on Wednesday and Thursday, as well, with submissions from frosty who took a trip to Normandy in 2014.
We will finish up the week on Friday with a post from Steve in Mendocino.
Anyone ready to return to Paris?
Paris After Dark starts again on Thursday of this week. So if you’ve been planning to submit more photos of Paris, now is the time to send those in!
Omaha beach is about 5 miles long. On D-Day the eastern half was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division (aka Big Red One), the oldest serving division in the Regular Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917 during World War I.
This monument sits just above the beach.
They suffered some of the gravest casualties of the first day. Overall it took three days to accomplish the objectives expected to be reached on the first day at Omaha.
La Pointe du Hoc is a promontory with a 100-foot cliff overlooking the English Channel. It was the highest point between the American sector landings at Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. There was a presumed emplacement of heavy guns that would have threatened both the beaches and ships. However, the guns had been recently moved a little inland and were not in use. After the heights were scaled, a small Ranger patrol found the guns under camouflage and disabled them.
The Rangers suffered relatively few casualties in the initial scaling of the cliff and fighting its defenders. However, they were isolated on the cliffs, as planned following troops were diverted to Omaha. They dug in and suffered heavy losses from several counter-attacks from nearby German troops and were only relieved on June 8th.
This monument was erected by the French and later transferred to the American Battle Monuments Commission. The inscription calls out the leadership of Lt. Col. James Rudder. He was wounded twice during the fighting. Documentation of Ranger orders released from the National Archives in 2012 indicates he knew the guns had been removed prior to the assault. One of the majors leading some of his troops heard about this on the ship headed to Normandy and objected that this made the assault unnecessary. Rudder relieved him of command at the last minute. Most of the Rangers didn’t find out the guns were missing until they scaled the cliffs.
Looking down from the top. Utah Beach is to the left facing seaward. The Rangers landed to the right.
Looking out from a bunker.
The Rangers were supported by fire from guns on U.S. and British ships, with the bombardment collapsing a part of the cliff. This made the effort to scale them somewhat easier for some of the troops.
Visiting Normandy was similar for me to visiting Little Round Top in Gettysburg. It makes a difference when you can walk the terrain in order to understand a previous generation’s sacrifice.