Normandy and the D Day Landings
The Second World War D Day landings on the coast of Normandy on 6 June 1944 were the largest and most complex military undertaking in history. To be successful, the Normandy D Day invasion force would have to be overwhelming. The problems involved in planning and undertaking the D Day landings were massive.
The story of the Normandy landings from the coast of Britain was an event that powerfully evokes the courage and sacrifice of those who took part in the D Day battles. Our WW2 Normandy independent self drive tour pack will take you to the sites of some of the most dramatic events of D Day from both the British and American sectors.
These are just some examples of sites which can be included in a D Day tour; however, there are many more:
This is the site of one of the most famous and remarkable events from D Day. Just after midnight, ninety men of the British 6th Airborne Division landed in three gliders within 50 yards of the bridge, which was captured within ten minutes. Despite numerous counter-attacks, the bridge was held until the early afternoon, when the airborne troops were relieved by forces which had landed on the beaches. The whole site is highly atmospheric and a visit to the museum, where the original bridge is located, is a highlight of any tour.
Once ashore it was essential to rapidly build up the strength of Allied forces and to bring ashore enormous quantities of stores. To achieve this, two harbours were built in Britain and towed across the Channel to Normandy. Constructing these harbours and bringing them to Normandy was a colossal task. 2.5 million men and 500,000 vehicles were eventually landed at the harbour at Arromanches and its remains are still quite visible today.
This beach was the landing site of the British 50th Northumbrian Division. A number of the German concrete defences still remain. From the beach, the visitor can follow the advance inland of the Green Howards, to the village of Crépon where Company Sergeant Major Stan Hollis was awarded the only Victoria Cross of D Day. Today, the village is the site of the Green Howards memorial, one of the finest of the many memorials in the area.
Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery
The Allies suffered the highest D Day casualties on Omaha Beach. Although the beach where American troops landed has changed significantly, many features of the German defences remain and it still has a powerful impact on any visitor. The cemetery is probably the most visited of the D Day sites and has featured in numerous films and documentaries. 9,000 American service personnel are buried here and the story on many of them is told in the extensive visitors’ centre.
Pointe du Hoc
This is one of the most striking of the German gun battery sites. Although covered in bomb craters, large sections of the German defences remain, some of which can be entered by visitors. This was the site of the famous cliff assault by American Rangers, who captured the site, only to find that the guns had been removed from the emplacements. Completely surrounded, the Rangers fought off German attacks for two days, until the survivors were relieved by troops from the beaches.