THE KIDS DIDN’T want to go to Pointe du Hoc. After seeing the beach for the first time it was hard to get them to think of something else…but in the end for all of us – even the kids – this ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. Gave Dad some cred again.
In 1944 large guns protected by concrete casemates had been placed at the top of the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. The guns – capable of reaching both Utah and Omaha beaches – were taken out by the storied 2nd Ranger Battalion. Army rangers scaled the cliffs and suffered heavy casualties, only to find the guns had already been moved inland and wooden planks stood in their place as a disguise. The Pointe du Hoc landscape is forever scarred with craters, evidence of the massive naval and arial bombardment it endured in preparation for D-Day…shown in a few of our photos. It also provides people (kids) a chance to observe (climb down into) craters and through some of the casemates to get a better idea of the combat conditions (play). Fun for the whole family.
On the other side of Omaha beach is Arromanches, a costal town on Gold Beach where the British navy installed a temporary harbor (Mulberries). The remains of the harbor are still visible from the coasts (photos), and Arromanches, a town of 500, now thrives on the visitors that come annually to see the remnants of D-Day. On a warm summer day this would be a fantastic place to spend a day exploring shops or enjoying the beach. On a cold blustery fall day, I recommend sitting huddled in one of the pedestrian restaurants trying to keep warm by holding a piece of pizza and then moving back to the van as quickly as possible. We elected to do the latter.
The last stop of the day was to Longues sur Mer, where a gun battery (photos) remains. Unlike Pointe du Hoc the casements avoided destructions and the original guns are still in place.