Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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  Historic Site
Normandy, France - May 25, 2008
This is a series of photos I took on this Sunday, which was the day before Memorial Day back in The United States.  Having only one day allocated for the D-Day landing beach areas, I had to do a cursory tour that missed four of the five beaches, and just touched on Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.  If I were to return again I would allocate at least two days to revisit the area, if not more.  This is a very long page with lots of photos that captures my day from the start of the tour at 9:30 in the morning until late afternoon when I had to head back to the Paris area to catch a plane flight back home the next day.

Sainte Mere Eglise  It was here in the courtyard and surrounding town that the some of the paratroopers of the 82nd airborne landed at 1:40 in the morning of June 6, 1944, although the town was not in the drop zone.  Hanging from the church steeple is a parachute with a dummy representing Private John Steele who spent several hours snagged on the tower.  John Steele was played by Red Buttons in the movie "The Longest Day".  Right across the street is the Airborne Museum which is an excellent location to learn in depth about the Airborne landings in Normandy.




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Point Du Hoc Ranger Memorial The next stop was at Pointe Du Hoc, where 225 Rangers landed to neutralize three German gun positions.  This now American soil.


The Point itself is now closed to visitors for safety reasons.  Note the Memorial on the left and the fisherman on the right that did not get the word the area is restricted. 


The Memorial behind a fence.


The cliffs to the left are the ones the Rangers had to climb under fire.


Another shot showing more of the cliffs that were climbed.


One of the gun emplacements that were found empty of the cannon.


This particular gun emplacement was used by Lt. Col. Rudder as his HQ during the battle that lasted several days.


The third gun emplacement.


This would have been the location of a heavy anti-aircraft gun.


This and the next two photos show all of the craters from the air bombardment, which still could destroy the gun bunkers.

Beach "Dog Red"  Omaha Beach was the landing point for the First US Infantry Division.  Below are two of the many memorials up and down the beach.  Saint Laurent has an excellent museum that explains the battle for the town and the surrounding area. 


All of the towns in Normandy that I was in designated when they were liberated.  In the case of Saint-Laurent, it was on June 7, 1944 at 9 AM.

American Cemetery and Memorial  There are 9,387 Americans buried on this 172.5 acre site and was used in the opening and final scenes of the movie "Saving Private Ryan".  Also located at the site is a museum which tells the story of many of the men that are buried here.


The English Channel in the background that all of those interned here had to cross.

The Beach below the American Cemetery - Easy Red  This is beach that the elements of the 1st Infantry Division that landed out in front of what is now the American Cemetery would have seen.  Hopefully my photos help those that have not stood on the beach understand what the young soldiers faced in the way of terrain and why it became "Bloody Omaha".


Along the ridge line on the right end is a 75mm gun emplacement.  I did not realize it was there until I started editing the photos.  Note the person sitting on the left as the soldiers would have taken cover on the morning June 6, 1944.


Magnified View of the 75mm gun emplacement.  There is a Monument to the US Fifth Special Engineering Brigade on top of it.


Looking to the east.  It is hard to imagine the carnage and suffering that occurred here on D-Day.  One can see the end of Omaha Beach in the distance where the cliffs come right out to the sea.


Right at the base of the sand dunes is a bed of large gravel.


Looking east along the dunes that provided some cover but not much from the German positions above.


Looking west with Pointe Du Hoc in the background.


The next series of photos captures my walk back up to The American Cemetery which the advancing US 1st Division Infantry would have had to made under fire from the ridge that is 100 feet above the beach.


Looking up to the right or west.


The view from the German vantage point on June 6, 1944.


Note the steepness to get over the top.

German Position WN62 - Fox Green  This was my last stop and is just to the east of The American Cemetery.  The explanation and photos below give the German prospective.


There are the names of 627 American Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division killed on D-Day or the subsequent battles inscribed on this memorial.


This sits on top of the 75mm gun emplacement we showed previously.


The German view of the landing beaches from this area.


Two more monuments on the beach.


The end of Omaha Beach to the east.


Looking back towards The American Cemetery.


To the west is Point Du Hoc, which could have fired down Omaha Beach.

Bastogne, Belgium    Battleground, IN   Book Depository, Dallas, TX    Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL   Fallen Timbers, OH   Harpers Ferry, WV   Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, LA   Jesse Owens Memorial, AL   LBJ Ranch, TX   Luxembourg American Cemetery    Normandy, France   Oklahoma City National Memorial, OK   Wendover Air Field, UT   Wilbur Wright Birthplace, IN
 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
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