Normandy

This post is dedicated to all the brave soldiers who served and especially those who were killed or injured while they were liberating Europe.

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Normandy American Cemetary

Normandy and the D Day landing sites have been on our bucket list for many years. We scheduled two days to spend time in the area. If you were to go to every site and museum it would probably take two weeks. Here are some of the sights we saw:

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Omaha, Gold, Juno and sword Beaches to the east

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Omaha Beach

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From the beach looking up the dunes

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The trenches and anti-tank fortifications are still clearly visible. The landings, code named “Operation Overlord” but remembered as D Day occurred on June 6, 1944 – nearly 70 years ago.

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German pillboxes, ammo, artillery, anti-aircraft and bunkers fortifications still line France’s coastline. Hitler wanted a formidable line of defense along the coast, as he was knew allied forces were coming. So, he had young engineers plan and unemployed Germans, Polish prisoners of war and local French men construct the fortified gun emplacements.

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Observation and command bunker

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The upper level’s ceiling was only 6′ tall but viewpoint seemingly went on forever.

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The lower level was the machine gunners nest. As you can see, the opening is considerably smaller.

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The artificial harbor in Arromanches is still clearly visible.

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The facilities were huge, easily covering 5 acres. We saw lots of them on private property, being used as storage sheds and even barns.

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Some were high on bluffs while others were right on the beach. Scallop shells remind us the Camino awaits us.

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On Pointe du Hoc, 225 handpicked US Army Rangers climbed these cliffs, first using ladders borrowed from the London Fire Department, then they shot off engenious rocket fired grappling hooks to rope up to the top. All while under intensive fire and grenade attack. Only 1/3 of the Rangers survived the attack. After overrunning the German soldiers they located some movible artillery hidden away from the facility and destroyed them paving the way for the landings.

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The 20-30′ deep bomb craters from the intensive allied bombing of Pointe du Hoc are still clearly visible.

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A Sherman tank with French markings protects the French landing site

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German gun at the French landing site

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St. Mere Eglise Church.  The Roman mile marker was not damaged despite a nasty battle when our paratroopers landed in the city square loaded with German Soldiers. The church is remembered because one paratroopers got stuck on the church steeple and survived the battle by playing dead.

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Unique stained glass with paratroopers

On our way to Bayonne tomorrow!  Our Camino experience starts in three days!

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2 Comments

Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

2 responses to “Normandy

  1. Kathleen Salvas

    Truly amazing! The Camino you talk about is in Spain right? what will that consist of just hiking?

    • It is an 800K pilgrimage from France across northern Spain to Santiago. We will be staying in alburgues along the way. It will be a difficult challenge mentally, physically and spiritually. Click on the “about” page at the top of our blog’s home page for more. Buencamino2014.wordpress.com

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