Saturday, January 12, 2013

Visiting D-Day Sites in Normandy: Omaha Beach

After visiting Pointe du Hoc, Eva, tooks us on the short trip to Omaha Beach. I watched an incredible movie title Surviving D-Day and I'll use it for some of my facts. Again, Eva shared so much with us! But, I didn't write it down and have forgotten a lot of it.

The drive to the beach takes you past a little community of rental property. At the top of these cliffs which overlook the beach, you can see two openings (in top, bare area near center left) where Germans hid and shot their guns. As the Allies made landfall, many of them believed they would not survive. And, many didn't. Four hours before the landing, Allied planes dropped 13,000 bombs intending to knock out much of the German resistance. The Allies had bragged about their accuracy. But, there were low clouds and the planes were forced to use new radar equipment. To protect the Allied ships in the English Channel, orders were given to wait 5-30 seconds after getting to where the airmen though the target. The planes dropped their bombs too late, and not a single one of the 13,000 bombs hit the targets!

(outside of museum near Omaha beach which we unfortunately didn't have time to visit)
When the landing craft opened the doors to let the soldiers attack the beach, many were shot immediately. The open doors were a target for the incredible MG42's of the Germans. These machine guns could shoot 25 bullet per second! Many who survived did not go through the opened gate, but jumped over the sides of their landing craft. Many of these drowned in their heavy gear. And, many were seasick because of the huge breakfast they'd eaten. When they reached the beaches, there were obstacles like these hedgehogs in my photo above. These had been placed on the beach to prevent a high-tide landing by the Allies.
Besides the machine guns, the Germans also fired with these artillery. This one overlooks the beach and is behind a heavy fence. The beach, when the Allies landed, wa 1000 feet long - or 3 football fields long. Besides the machinegun fire, artillery fire, and obstacles like the hedgehogs (which could also be used to hide behind somewhat), there were over 17,000 mines!
We visited at high tide and didn't actually step foot on the beach, which I regret now. The tide was going out and we aw a few people on the beach later. As the Allies fought to take the beach, the tide came in squishing the surviving soldiers together.

After capturing the beach and losing over 2,000 soldiers, the Allies would build a man-made harbor called a Mulberry Harbour. But, about 10 days later, a storm came up and destroyed this harbor. This is part of the remains of that structure.

As we left Omaha beach, we drove past this monument which says: The Allied forces landing on this shore which they call Omaha beach liberate Europe June 6th 1944. Surrounding the monument are 8 flags. It was noon, and they were having a flag raising ceremony! The flags were raised one by one while the national anthem of that country was played.

The raising of the United States flag was a very moving experience. I'm glad my mom 'insisted' that we stopped as we were ready to drive on by! I was, and am, proud to be an American! Thank you to those who serve in the military to defend us and defend freedom!


lahbluebonnet said...

With all those obstacles it's amazing that they conquered!

Anonymous said...

Seu Blog é muito bom, parabéns, que pena que esta inativo.

Gostei muito dessa matéria sobre o "Omaha Beach", sempre gostei de memoriais de guerras.

Tudo de bom para você. Abraço!

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