Academic Normandy battlefields tours of Arnhem and Market Garden, The Somme 1916, the Ardennes and Cassino
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours

World War 2
Collectors
Memorabilia


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours
Click to visit website


Imperial
War Museum


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours
Click to visit website


D Day
Wikipedia


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours
Click to visit website


UK Battlefields
Resource Centre


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours
Click to visit website


The Children
of World War 2


The Children of World War 2
Click to visit website


D Day - Hell on the Beach: Tours of the Normandy Battlefields

A message sent on June 9th and read by Hitler himself, warned that D Day was a trap designed to draw off German reserves so that the Allies could launch a decisive attack.. 'probably in the Pas de Calais area'.

The ruse would keep German forces in Calais for weeks after D Day, awaiting the 'real' invasion.

While the Germans built up their forces around Calais, Field Marshall Rommel placed underwater obstacles at Normandy. Rommel had asked in vain for more cement and mines for Normandy. Denied, he made do with obstacles of timber and steel. "Our only possible chance will be at the beaches", he said. If the invaders came to Normandy, he would stop them there. He expected them to come in on high tide and impale their craft on his barriers.

By late May, Rommel's men were in their bunkers overlooking the Normandy beaches, wondering if the invaders would land there or hundreds of miles away.


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Restored battery at Longues-sur-Mer
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours A Burning, Bullet Riddled Landing Craft

click on the photographs to view larger images

At Widerstandsnest (strongpoint) 62, overlooking what would be Omaha Beach, German troops were listening to popular music on a wind up gramophone and reading letters by candlelight. Around the same time, invasion troops were pouring into sealed-off camouflaged camps on the English coast.

At a camp in Weymouth the King and Queen of England paid a surprise visit that took them among men of the Sixth Naval Beach Battalion.


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Landing Troops
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours DUKWs Bring in Supplies - but not enough

click on the photographs to view larger images

On June 1st armed officer-messengers boarded the Allied vessels at the departure ports. Each commanding officer was handed a sealed envelope marked 'Top Secret'. Inside was another sealed envelope. the operation Neptune message inside revealed the date of D-Day: June 5th with a possible change to June 6th or 7th.

The message ended: "Destroy this by burning when you have read and understood".

Soon after dawn on June 6th, a fleet of Allied warships appeared in the steel grey fog off Normandy and prepared to bombard the German fortifications detailed in the BIGOT map.


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Vessel Shattered by a Mine
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours The Assault Goes In

click on the photographs to view larger images

Behind Utah Beach, German shore batteries fired first, some guns zeroing in on the US destroyers 'Fitch' and 'Corry'. The ships were turning to starboard to line up parallel with the beach. They would then anchor to become steady gun platforms for the shore bombardment.

At 6.10am, exactly on schedule, Allied planes began laying smoke screens to hide the destroyers. But one of the planes was shot down before it could hide the 'Corry'.


German guns immediately targeted the ship, which, whilst still firing, began twisting past plumes of near misses. Then, a little after 6.30, she struck a mine. Eight minutes later, with the main deck underwater and the 'Corry' breaking in half, the captain, Lt. Comdr. George Dewey Hoffman, ordered his 18 officers and 265 men to abandon ship.

When all the living were in the 54 degree water, Hoffman joined them.

The shelling continued, and more men died while struggling in the cold sea.

By the time rescuing destroyers appeared two hours later, firing at Germans from one side of their ship while saving men on the other. the 'Corry's' survivors were near death.

At about 7.30 am the Sixth Naval Beach Battalion began to land on Omaha Beach, at a site designated as Easy Red Sector.


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Omaha Beach in the Afternoon
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Beach-master's command post

click on the photographs to view larger images


Invasion was on a five division front with three AB Divs dropped to protect the flanks. The 6 AB Div dropped between Cabourg and the River Orne - 82 and 101 US AB Divs dropped at and near St Mere Eglise to seal off the Cherbourg Peninsula. The Americans had two landing beaches - Utah and Omaha - and the British three - Gold, Juno and Sword, a landing strip of some twenty four miles. The total invasion force was forty divisions - twenty three in Bradley’s 12 (US) Army Group, seventeen in Montgomery’s 21 Army Group (thirteen British, one Polish and three Canadian). Six were armoured and eleven infantry (incl one AB division). However there were Army Group reserves - eight independent armoured and tank brigades (about 1400 tanks) and the Army Group RA - in effect six brigades of heavy, medium and field artillery ( some 700 guns) and six Engineer Groups.In other words another half dozen Divisions in the ORBAT - but no extra infantry AND the infantry took the brunt of the casualties.


tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours German prisoners load their wounded onto LCIs for transport to a hospital ship
tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours Wounded on Omaha Beach

click on the photographs to view larger images

During the three months before D Day 66,ooo tons of bombs were dropped behind the beaches to create 'a railway desert' a further 14,000 tons were dropped on D Day together with a massive sea bombardment from some fifty ships lying off shore.

On the right XXX Corps was directed on Bayeux, on the left 1 Corps was directed on Caen. By ten thirty in the morning, unimpeeded by enemy air, fifteen battalions, seven commandoes, seven tank regiments, two assault engineer regiments and nine field regiments RA were ashore. By evening 50 Div was within two miles of Bayeux and the remainder had all joined hands some three miles north of Caen. The 21 Pz Div had intervened north of Caen but was beaten off by the RAF and armour and anti tank guns of 3 Div. The casualty count that evening was 3000 out of 75000. The AB lost 1200 out of 8000.

tours of the Normandy battlefields D Day tours
Utah Beach

click on the photographs to view larger images



Academic Normandy battlefields tours of Arnhem and Market Garden, D Day tours, The Somme 1916, the Ardennes and Cassino All of Normandy 1944 and St Valery 1940 Calais, Boulogne and the retreat to Dunkirk 1940. Dieppe and Bruneval 1942 The Ardennes winter 1944 ( The Bulge) and May 1940,The Fall of France, Sedan 1940. The Somme,1916 Vimy Ridge, Ypres 1915-1917, Verdun and the Americans in the Argonne 1918.The Canadians along the North Coast to Antwerp Market Garden 1944 incl Nijmegen, Arnhem-Oosterbeek and Eindhoven Patton in Alsace-Lorraine to the Eagles Nest. The Franco Prussian War Rommel, the last act 1944. Berlin 1939-1945. Crete 1941 The Tunisian Campaign 1943 All of Italy 1943 - 1945 incl Salerno, Monte Cassino, Anzio, The Gothic Line A look at SOE. The Fall of Constantinople 1453

Website design: Webgloss Web Design Hampshire: Copyright © - All Rights Reserved