WW2 & the invasion beaches

Naturally because our house is ON Utah Beach we start our tour from there...

The troops didn’t actually intend to land on Utah Beach - otherwise known before the war as Grand Dune La Madeleine or Madeleine Plage 5 a.m. in the morning a frogman was the 1st American to land on any of the invasion beaches - right on the beach in front of our house, the road named in his honour Angelos T Chatas.

At 6:40 a. m., Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, second-in-command of the 4th Infantry division, landed with the first assault wave, quite a few miles away from where they had aimed for thanks to the currents. This was fortunate as loss of life was much less that the other beaches as they were out of range from the big guns at Azzeville & St Marcouf.

The museum here on Utah Beach is well worth a visit... once you have had a good browse head back inland in St Marie Du Mont take the road to Ste Mere Eglise - this is the town where 101st Airborne came down - one parachutists entangled on the church tower - played by Red Buttons In The Longest Day with John Wayne taking Ste Mere and half of Hollywood the length of the invasion beaches... however we do advise you watch this film before touring as it does explain very well the D Day events - also Band of Brothers. Take in the museum here and the only decent cappuccino in the whole of the area in the C47 cafe.

Head now to the N13 and out to Grandcamp Maisy & Point du Hoc Point du Hoc is where the Rangers stormed the cliffs - Grandcamp Maisy a fishing port was heavily fortified during the war where recently a British Man has unearthed a German big gun site and underground hospital, however the harbour is not only very pretty there are some very good restaurants there along with a few museums one about the Rangers.

Point du Hoc
Point du Hoc is well worth a visit with all the shell holes it does give you an idea of the intensity of the battle. From here you can see Utah Beach & Omaha Beach with Arromanches in the distance. Just outside Grandcamp Maisy is one of the German cemeteries Wittmann the famous Tank Ace is buried here. He was taken out just outside Caen. He was not discovered and moved to here until the 1980’s 21,222 German soldiers are buried here - it was started in 1954 when the remains of 12,000 soldiers were bought from all over Normandy - it was finished in 1961 since then a further 700 have been found in battlefields across Normandy.

American Cemetery
Just a little bit further along the coast is The American Cemetery. Theodore Roosevelt is buried there. A very moving experience especially with the new visitor center

Longues Sur Mer
The Naval Guns... on the way round to Arromanches. part of The Atlantic Wall

Arromanches & Mulberry Harbour
The British Sector near Bayeux, The Mulberry Harbour is still in evidence. Without doubt the 360 degree cinema on top of the cliffs is a place to visit, the film is very powerful and when you come out of the darkness you are hit with the intense light with the Mulberry Harbour just below you. Bayeux for the British Cemetery Carry on up the coast to The Canadian sector and on round to Pegasus Bridge.

Useful web sites to visit

Contact: normandybeaches@mac.com