Pointe du Hoc Ranger Memorial – Normandy, France


Posted: , Last update: January 6 2016, in Atlantic Wall, Bunkers, Fortresses & Strongpoints, D-Day Normandy. No Comments

Situated between the beaches of Utah and Omaha, a strongpoint built by Organisation Todt, with an artillery battery of six captured French 155mm guns at Pointe du Hoc, prestented a major threat for the D-Day landing of the Allied forces. Dispite the fact that the battery received several bombings from the air added with extra naval bombardments, reports indicated the strongpoint was so heavily fortified that it required an attack by ground forces. This dangerous objective was given to the US 2d Ranger battalion which had the task of destroying the battery early before the D-Day landings.

The impressive coastline at Pointe du Hoc - Normandy, France

The impressive coastline at Pointe du Hoc – Normandy, France

On  the 4th of June 1944, two days before the attack, the heavy guns were moved further inland (approximately 1 mile) and replaced with dummies to fool Allied forces, probably due to the concentrated bombings on Pointe du Hoc prior to the attack. When the Rangers found out the guns were moved, they sent out a small patrol to find them. Five of the six guns were found in nearby locations and destroyed. On the 7th of June, after holding off several German counterattacks and with heavy losses, the Rangers were relieved from their isolated position by the US 116th Infantry Regiment, which broke through from Omaha Beach.

Visit the Ranger Memorial

At Pointe du Hoc it becomes very clear what hardships the US 2nd Rangers had to endure to get a foothold on this part of the Atlantik Wall, between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. Once you have witnessed the height and the steipness of these cliff walls (20 metres) the Rangers had to overcome and the German ingenuity of this part of the coastal defenceline, it seems like an almost undoable task. The traces of the bombardment haven’t faded the slightest and it is very impressive to see the enormous impact craters of the bombings, still marking the countryside.

View from one of the bunkers – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
An impact crater next to a pillbox – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
The site is littered with craters – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
A group of visitors passing a large crater – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Reconstruction of the observation bunker – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy
Bunker entrance guarded by a MG stand – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy
Almost like it was constructed yesterday – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
One of the gun emplacements, slightly hit by artillery – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Not so lucky, a direct hit – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Gun emplacement with concrete debris – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Ammunition shelters next to a gun emplacement – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Ammunition shelters – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Impact crater – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Same impact crater next to gun emplacement – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Another direct hit – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Tobruk – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Bunker entrance blocked with barbed wire – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
An overview of the site towards Omaha Beach – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
One of the gun emplacements more inland – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
This bunker survived a direct impact on its flank – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
AA gun emplacement towards Utah Beach – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Stone walls built in more peaceful times – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Signs of heavy fighting or strafing fire? – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Inside a Tobruk – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France
Inside the AA gun emplacement – Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France

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