. Yesterday was an amazing day. I visited the American Cemetary at Omaha Beach and Point du Hoc. As I said, words really cannot describe the feelings I experienced during those visits. Today was a much less demanding day from an emotional standpoint. My goal today was to visit Utah beach and the Ranger museum. Those plans got a little derailed, but it was an interesting day nonetheless.
. I'm going to stay in order (of my visits) here, because it's my blog and I can. The last visit of the day yesterday was Pointe du Hoc. This is a spit of land that has an overlook of the (water) approaches to both Omaha and Utah Beaches. Pointe du Hoc's view is attributed to the 100 ft cliffs upon which it sits.
. The mission of the 2nd Ranger battalion was to scale those cliffs and neutralize the guns that were providing covering fire to those beaches. The mission was accomplished, however, the Germans had moved the guns an additional 1km inland, so the original positions on Point du Hoc were not utilized.
. Despite the fact the guns had been moved, the Rangers did recieve strong resistance from the German troops stationed at the Pointe. Not only did they receive heavy resistance, they were not relieved until June 8th - 2 days after they had successfully assaulted the Pointe. In fact, the Rangers were down to only 90 peeps capable of fighting (out of the original 225 on 6 June) when the reinforcements finally arrived. The most incredible part of this is the Germans were on their way to finish off the Rangers. If not for those reinforcements, the story could have been very different.
. The 2nd Ranger Battallion was the unit I was assigned to when I served between 1984 and 1987. To stand on the ground those brave men fought so valiantly to secure was amazing. I can't imagine how difficult it was for those guys. Here are some images I took.
. Part of Presedent Reagan's speach on June 6, 1984.This is a reproduction of an intelligence map of Pointe du Hoc. Note it is classified 'Top Secret - Bigot'. This is the English version of absolutely top secret - eyes only.
A view of the craters atop Pointe du Hoc as well as the crane that is working to make 'repairs' to the cliff face. Erosion is taking the cliff away and for historical reasons, it is valuable to keep the cliff secure. Unfortunately for me, the repairs to the cliff prevented me from seeing the Memorial to the Rangers. The primary reason I came to the Normandie Region.
A view of the cliffs climbed by the Rangers. Imagine climbing those cliffs while taking fire from the enemy... The respect and admiration I have for the guys who made this assault has increased tenfold after seeing what they were up against.
Hoot stands at the edge of one of the MANY bomb craters at Pointe du Hoc.
Hoot checks out one of the gun emplacements.
That's me standing in the ruins of a German Bunker. The bunkers were amazing. I can't imagine how this may have looked in the weeks leading up to the assault.
One of the gun emplacements that actually had a 'dummy' gun made of wood. The Germans had actually moved the guns 1km behind the emplacements at Pointe du Hoc.