Then off to Bloody Omaha!
|Omaha Beach from the US Cemetery. This path leads down to the Wn64 & Wn65 Strongpoints. (a bit too steep for me!)|
We started with the US Cemetery which didn't disappoint. Firstly we had to get through airport style security to get in (guess who's leg brace set the bloody thing off ?). A good display in the visitor's centre before we went outside to take a look around.
|The immaculately laid out rows of crosses.|
|The Spirit of American Youth|
We sought out 4 of significance -
- General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. who won his Medal of honor for outstanding leadership on Utah Beach on the 6th June 1944 only to die aged 57 of a heart attack on 12 July 1944.
- the Niland brothers who's story formed the background for Saving Private Ryan. Their mother received telegrams on the same day to say two of her sons were dead and another one missing in action in the Pacific. On the back of this the remaining son was withdrawn from combat operations in Normandy and returned home. The missing brother survived to return home too.
- General Lesley McNair. Killed by friendly bombs near St. Lo whilst on a fact finding trip to the front. His death was kept totally secret as he was actually supposed to be on Kent having taken over command from Patton of the fictional army about to invade at the Pas de Calais! He was buried in the dead of night, his funeral attended by Bradley and Patton - the latter believed he was attending a dinner party with Bradley.
|Preston & Robert Niland|
|This time a far more original M4 Sherman (an actual D-Day veteran) displayed outside the museum.|
|A Landing craft actually inside the museum building! Also a good selection (inside and out) of beach obstacles.|
Not a bad museum. Small but well stocked and with a very watchable 20 min film. After which the rain had eased so we set off along Omaha to Pointe du Hoc.
|A taste of the devastation that is in evidence everywhere throughout the site. In the distance is an observation platform built on top of one of the covered casemates.|
Fascinating and spooky at the same time. Sadly it rained all the time we were there so after an hour and a half we were soaked through.
|One of the casemates found to be empty when the Rangers finally captured the position.|
|The central mound with sculpture representing mourning parents. La Cambe was originally one of three US cemeteries. It was handed over to the German government in the mid 1950's|
Here we found out the graves of Panzer Ace Michael Wittmann and his 4 man tank crew. They were interred here as recently as 1983 when their remains were discovered during a road widening scheme.
|Wittmann and his crew's graves|
|75mm gun, road wheel and length of track from a Panther Tank.|