Visiting Normandy France
Our main reason for visiting France on this journey was to go to Normandy and visit the D-Day sights.
We have all read stories, seen movies or known someone intimately that served in this battle for freedom. For Jeff, it was his father’s best friend and best man who was D-Day+1 and scaled the chalk cliffs of Pont du Hoc to begin fighting. Vince was a young man when he went into battle in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. He told Jeff a couple funny stories, but never talked about the fighting. He was awarded the French Legion of Merit, among many other US medals well earned.
Below you will find our visit through pictures. There is absolutely no price we can put on freedom because it always costs our nation and it’s people.
German Tiger Tank left behind in Vimoutiers when it ran out of gas. This is the only Tiger Tank left in Normandy. There are only 8 left in the world.
The largest concrete hanger in the world that has been used in three wars. In 1916 it was used to find German subs. In 1944 there was a fierce battle by the US 8th Infantry to liberate it from the Germans and the Americans then used it for a maintenance shed. Between 1967-69 it was used to build dirigibles for nuclear testing. It measures 150 meters long, 40 meters wide and 31 meters high.
The Cauldron of Freedom. Located in the center of Vimoutiers, this cauldron was used to feed soup to the locals. They were left homeless for three months after their town was leveled by Allied Forces.
The Battle of Azeville was a priority target for the US forces on June, 1944. The fighting started on D-Day and it took three days for the US to capture. This battery contained many tunnels and gun housings.
The US Sherman tank is prominently displayed at the French Memorial in St. Martin de Varreville as a tribute to the US 8th Infantry Division who landed at this location on July 4, 1944.
Pont du Hoc was a strategic point for German defense. The 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled the hillside in minutes to find the gun housings empty. Their job was not over yet.
The terrain at Pont du Hoc was riddled with obstacles. This is the remains of the munitions battery that the 2nd Ranger batillion exploded. Guides describe it as concrete confetti flew everywhere. (I’ve never heard exploding concrete described as confetti – very large and heavy confetti)
The coastline of Pont du Hoc.
The cliffs at Pont du Hoc where the US Allied forces scaled in minutes.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. The perfectly aligned headstones of 9,387 soldiers who fell in battle.
The only German radar listening post on the D-Day landing beaches. This listening post is just above Juno Beach.
I believe the Canadian Cemetery was the toughest for me. Every stone tells you the age of the soldier that lost their life – 21, 24, 19, 27. These young men lost their lives in the pursuit for freedom and their mothers lost their sons.
The Pegasus Bridge is located on the eastern edge of the D-Day assault. This bridge was captured by 6th British Airborne Division glider troops. The capture of this bridge was declared one of the most spectacular missions on D-Day.
Today various beaches on the coast still have remnants of the war.