A daring mission in a moonscape
(06:30 am, between Omaha and Utah beaches)
Highlight of the landing beaches tour, this coastal battery was constructed at the top of a sheer cliff. It was equipped with 6 guns, the fire of which would jeopardize the landing operations on both beaches of the American sector.
Photo : Matthieu Blin
The neutralization of the German position was entrusted to the elite troops of the American Army, some Rangers. Too far away from the beaches to be captured in the rear from these last, the 225 Rangers were conveyed on board landing crafts to the bottom of the 100-foot-high cliff. The frontal assault was led as for the seizure of a medieval fortified castle : after throwing the grappling hooks, the Rangers hauled themselves up onto the top of the rock face, with the help of ropes or rope ladders under the German fire.
Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / National Archives USA
Reaching the top, they discovered a ground riddled with hundreds of craters created by the bombardments ; and above all the pieces of ordnance could not be found. While fierce combats were beginning, the search started for the guns.
The capture of the position should not be effective before two days of tough fighting, and the final toll was heavy on both sides.