Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pointe du Hoc, Normandy

Monuments at the Pointe du Hoc, Normandy.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

The fortifications at the Pointe du Hoc

The photographs seen above show the memorials at the Pointe du Hoc, Normandy. At this point along the Normandy coastline the cliffs are about 30 metres (100 feet) above sea level.

During WW2 the German Occupiers fortified this area with heavy artillery guns (155 mm) originally of French origin. Their disposition at Pointe du Hoc enabled the Germans to fire along the coast in both directions, covering part of the Cotentin peninsula as well as out to sea.

What the Germans did not know in advance of the Allied invasion of N.W. Europe was where or when it would take place. On the other hand the Allies did know. The Allies also knew that Pointe du Hoc was situated between the two main American Landing beaches code-named 'Omaha' and 'Utah'. This position, and its big guns, while remaining in German hands would seriously endanger the ultimate success of the American Landings. Thus, taking Pointe du Hoc was seen by the Allies as one of the key early objectives of the Normandy Landings.

As events turned out at the time of the invasion of N.W. Europe, D-Day, 6 June 1944, the fortified casemates ('blockhause') for the big guns were in place and heavily defended. However, the guns themselves, which had previously been moved a little further back to allow the completion of the fortifications, had not yet been returned to the casemates. The Allies did not know the guns were out of position and so the plan to capture Pointe du Hoc went ahead.

The taking of Pointe du Hoc by the Allies

The Allied assault to take Pointe du Hoc included the following:

(a) A night-time bombardment
(5 / 6 June 1944)

About 700 tonnes of bombs by 124 aircraft
Bombardment from the big guns from Allied Navy vessels standing offshore

(b) Assault by the 2nd U.S. Ranger Battalion
(Began 07.10 a.m., 6 June 1944)

The assault begins by 225 men from the 2nd U.S. Rangers ('Force A') under the command of Colonel James Earl Rudder.

After fierce fighting and having climbed the cliffs to the height of Pointe du Hoc the U.S. Rangers it was then that the U.S. Rangers found the guns had been moved inland. A small patrol then wnet forward, found 5 of the 6 big guns, and destroyed them.

The U.S. Rangers then held on to the clifftop area against fierce German counter-attack for two days. Eventually, they were relieved by units from the U.S. 116th Infantry Division after the breakout from 'Omaha Beach'. Of the 225 Rangers that began the assault under the command of James E. Rudder it is written that all but 90 had been killed, wounded or missing.

Pointe du Hoc as a memorial

In 1979, ownership of the Pointe du Hoc was granted to the U.S. Federal Government. Since then, the American Battle Monuments Commission has maintained the site. Several American Presidents have visited this site since 1979.

The Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument (seen above) is at the cliff edge and is a simple granit pylon on the top of one of the German bunkers. It is dedicated to the U.S. 2nd Rangers under James E. Rudder. The tablets at the base are inscribed with a dedication in both French and English. Below is the dedication in English:

"To the heroic commandoes D2RN, E2RN, F2RN of the 116th Inf. who, under the command of Colonel James E. Rudder of the First American Division attacked and took possession of the Pointe du Hoc".

Nearby, the mortal remains of those young Americans and Germans who briefly met in combat and died at this place in June lie close together. They are united for all eternity.


Wednesday, 17 October, 2012  

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