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31
Aug-2015

Josh’s Blog. Back 2 Europe. 30th of August. Pointe du Hoc and a lazy afternoon.

Joshua   /  
The memorial to the Rangers

The memorial to the Rangers

Daniel with a closer look at the memorial

Daniel with a closer look at the memorial

One of the planned 6 (only 2 were originally built by D-day) artilliary 'casements' which helped to protect the 155mm guns

One of the planned 6 (only 2 were originally built by D-day) artilliary ‘casements’ which helped to protect the 155mm guns

A replica of the 155mm guns. Matthew thought it was a fire engine!!

A replica of the 155mm guns. Matthew thought it was a fire engine!!

A relaxing afternoon admiring the worlds biggest pumpkin!

A relaxing afternoon admiring the worlds biggest pumpkin!

Another part of our afternoon. Daniel is feeding the chooks that our host has at the house.

Another part of our afternoon. Daniel is feeding the chooks that our host has at the house. 

Hi All,

On our first day in Pointe du Hoc we decided, after waiting at home for 2 hours, to go to the real Pointe du Hoc. This hilltop point, situated in between Utah and Omaha beaches, was a fortified artillery battery which formed part of the German Atlantic wall in WW2. When we got there, we discovered that there was a walk that you could do with information and bunkers everywhere. Being just the thing Dad wanted (and the only way to get to Pointe du Hoc), we elected to start it. On the way, there were hundreds of pockmarked craters, from the ships during the invasion of D-day. As we learned on the walk, The Point was one of the main objectives of the D-day invasion. This was because the 155mm guns posed a serious threat to invading forces on Utah and Omaha beaches. The job of taking these guns (an incredibly difficult job, due to the extremely steep 100 ft cliffs), was left to the Rangers, an American commando unit. On the morning of D-day, 6th of June, 1944, 14 Ranger landing assault craft including 4 ladder carrying boats, were seen approaching the fortified hill of Pointe du Hoc. Because of bad weather, the attacking Rangers were 40 minutes late in their attack, leading to the loss of the element of surprise. Without further delay, the American Rangers commenced their assault. Scaling up the steep cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, many Rangers were killed by the Germans shooting down at them. Eventually though, the American commandos gained the top of the cliffs. What they found there was surprising. Not a single artillery piece was on The Point! But there were still soldiers. A long and bloody battle ensured but eventually the elite Rangers won the ground. ¬†Some advanced groups found the ready but abandoned 6 guns in an apple orchard, about 1 kilometre away from The Point. Blowing the guns up, the advanced commandos came back to The Point, finding it under heavy counter attack from the surviving Germans. Beating them off, a ferocious next couple of days ensured with more counter attacks from the Germans. Eventually 2 or 3 days later, the exhausted Rangers were relieved by more men. I have to say, it was amazing seeing the place where soldiers had battled. The display was very well done and I thought it was quite moving. The cliffs the Americans had to climb up were extremely steep, and I found it hard to imagine if anyone could have climbed up them. After Pointe du Hoc, we decided to have a look around Grand Champ Maisy, the town we are staying near. After one of Dad’s favourite parts about being in France (some patisserie cakes), we bought ourselves a charcoal chicken. What Mum and Dad didn’t realise was that it was expensive ($32!), but the chicken was delicious. After a nice lunch at our rental home, we had a nice relaxing afternoon playing soccer and reading. Bye all,

 

 

Josh

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  1. Linbe /

    Doesn’t the way the historical sites are presented in France make the past come alive Josh. Your blog is great, we are loving waking up and grabbing the iPad to read what you have been seeing and doing. We also bought a BBQ chicken at a market beside the Garome river on our canal boat trip a couple of years ago. It was $10. Guess the $A exchange rate is some of the difference.

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