Normandy- D-Day Battlefields PHOTOS.
PURCHASE GREAT MEMORIES OF YOUR VISIT TO NORMANDY - D-DAY BATTLEFIELDS- FOR HOME OR OFFICE!
This gallery features Normandy-D-Day Battlefields Photos.
This charming town is about 160 miles (2.5 hour car drive via Autoroute) from Paris. It is an ideal base to use for visiting the D-Day battlefields and Mont Sainte Michel.
The D-Day Battlefields include much more than Omaha and Utah Beaches. It is important to learn about the battles at La Fiere , Sainte Mere Eglise, Neuville au Plain by Airborne (82nd, 101st) and glider units versus hundreds of Germans who desparately wanted to reinforce units at the beaches to beat the Allies into the sea. Their sacrifices must be remembered.
The battle at La Fiere was described as the costliest small-unit action in the history of the US Army. 254 GIs were killed and 525 were wounded in a battle that raged from June 6-9, 1944 at a location featuring a bridge over the Merderet river. The Americans knocked out three German tanks blocking the bridge and passage by infantry and other armour to Utah Beach, only nine miles away. This battle was regarded as the "costliest small-unit action in the history of the US Army." Approximately 250 GIs were killed and 525 wounded.
Sainte Mere Eglisse
Sainte Mere Eglise was in the 82nd Airborne drop zones. The town square in front of the church hangs a mannequin believed to represent John Steele (the paratrooper portrayed by Red Buttons in the Longest Day film). His parachute really snagged on the back of the church, but Hollywood decided to divert from history. The Airborne Museum located near the town square is very worthy of a visit. Several images of a glider, airborne drop zones taken during the museum visit are included in this gallery. Images of stained glass windows honoring airborne soldiers from the church are included in this gallery.
Defense of Neuville au Plain and blocking Germans from Sainte Mere Eglise.
This village is located on National Road 13 north of Sainte-Mère-Eglise. The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment captures this village with little resistance. Lt. Turner Turnbull and about 40 paratroopers from the 505th face off against 200 Germans at a farm house near Highway N-13. At 10:30 am, a column of German soldiers of about 200 men approached the American positions:
The paratroopers unleash fire that manages to stop the enemy, forcing them to withdraw. The Germans then use mortars to fix the section of paratroopers and try to flank them with infantry. Undergoing heavy losses and soon overwhelmed by the enemy, Turnbull realizes that he can not hold out any longer. 26 of his men fell during the eight hour battle at Neuville-au-Plain of the 28 Wounded GIs in the house who held off a German counter attack. The wounded insisted Turnball and other GIs make their way back to Sainte Mere Eglisse to obtain reinforcements. Turnbull and about 11 of his comrades crawled through hedgerows for three hours making their way back to Sainte Mere Eglisse.
Turnbull was killed on June 7, 1944 by a mortar round. When reinforcement returned, the wounded were gone - surviving prisoners who were taken to Cherbourg where they were subsequently liberated weeks later. Turnbull was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart. Heshould have received the medal of honor since this battle allowed other members of the 82nd Airborne to hold off other German units elsewhere. The action prevented a blood bath at Utah Beach.
Medics at the village of Angoville au Plain
The church located in the village of Angoville au Plain is where two 501st medics saved the lives of many wounded soldiers - American and German. Robert Wright and Kenneth Moore, two medics with the 101st Airborne went into action on the evening of June 5 setting up an aid station inside the 11th century church at Angoville-au-Plain as a battle raged nearby. They went outside the church and carried wounded back to be cared for. By evening, they had 75 wounded personnel in the church as the Americans retreated. The battle for Angoville-au-Plain raged around the church for three days, with possession lurching back and forth between the two sides.At one stage German troops forced their way in, but seeing the medics were impartially treating injured from both sides, withdrew and placed the international symbol of medical aid on the church door; The red cross flag. A German officer entered the church and asked if he could help attend the wounded.
A mortar hit the building causing further injuries but the medics struggled on. To their shock on 7 June two German observers surrendered to them, after hiding all that time in the church tower!
By 8 June the battle was finally over and Angoville-au-Plain became the established headquarters of Robert F Sink, the officer in command of the 506th PIR. This gallery displays stained glass windows honoring Robert and Kenneth and the memorial in front of the church. Out of respect to the church and the dead, I decided not to photograph the still blood-stained pews that served as hospital beds for 80 brutalised casualties of war. Truly, a memorable visit.
Pointe Du Hoc, Omaha Beach and Utah beach photos along with bunkers are featured. I could easily created three galleries of my two day tour of the battlefields, visits to the German Cemetery at Le Cambe, and the American Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer where 9,387 heroes are buried above Omaha Beach. Just spending time on Omaha Beach at low tide vs high tide is educational to understand the logistics of the landings on the five mile stretch of beach. Key images included in this gallery:
Pointe Du Hoc bunkers and bomb craters. Only 90 of the 200 rangers who stormed the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc were able to bear arms two days later on June 8. The German artillery in back of the bunkers could hit ships as well as GIs hitting Omaha Beach to the South.
German WN60 Mortar and Machine gun positons other the otherside of Omaha Beach. A photo taken from a farmer's field at the edge of a bluff shows these German positions and the length of Omaha Beach. Lt. James Monteith Jr. of Virginia was killed on June 6, 1944 in an attack flanking these German positions. He was honored after his death with the Medal of Honor.
Omaha Beach at low tide (when the landings occurred ) and with the tide coming in showing underwater trenches encountered by American forces as they left landing craft. These underwater trenches caused GIs to jettison their gear to avoid drowning. About 1,770 Americans were killed in fighting on Omaha Beach as opposed to about 200 on Utah Beach. About 3,000 citizens lost their lives in the Normandy fighting on June 6-7, 1944. Houses near Omaha Beach from the invasion time still exist and are displayed in this gallery.
The American Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer is where 9,387 heroes are buried above Omaha Beach. Images of the monument, flag lowering and taps late in the day, burial sites of some Jewish GIs, Medal of Honor winners are featured.
Warning: use a tour guide who is a historian to see these important 20th century battlefields. Anything less is a waste of time and money.
Click on the link below for more details on visiting the Normandy area of France.
Normandy Tourism Information