Tag Archives: Normandy Invasion

D-Day — Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial


All this week I’ll be rerunning my six-part series on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. Next week I’ll return you to our Baltic trip and beyond. In the meantime, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and Operation Overlord (the Battle of Normandy) in the event we now collectively refer to as D-Day:

Map of the D-Day Normandy Invasion

The map depicted above overlooks Omaha Beach. Behind that map lies the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

This military cemetery is a territorial concession granted by France to the United States, so this ground is fully administered and maintained by the U.S. government.

Some of the 1,557 names of unrecovered or missing U.S. servicemen from D-Day

There are 9,387 graves here, of which 307 contain the remains of unknown persons. All but one of those interred lost their lives during WWII. The exception is a grave from a lone casualty from WWI. Quentin Roosevelt, who was reinterred next to his brother Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

The memorial and reflection pond face east toward the closest point of the United States, between Lubec and Eastport in Maine.

The Memorial faces east toward the U.S.

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D-Day — Omaha


All this week I’ll be rerunning my six-part series on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. Next week I’ll return you to our Baltic trip and beyond. In the meantime, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and Operation Overlord (the Battle of Normandy) in the event we now collectively refer to as D-Day:

Omaha Beach

On D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, Omaha Beach was bleak. U.S. V Corps under the direct command of Major General Leonard Gerow would sustain the most casualties by far of any of the five invasion beaches. Between 2,000 and 4,700 U.S. servicemen would lose their lives on the bloody sands of Omaha.

Omaha Beach

Had U.S. forces failed in taking Omaha, the entire invasion would have been a disaster, as Utah would have been completely cut off from Sword, Juno, and Gold. Fortunately, after a long and brutal battle with Army forces caught between the shoreline and the bluffs overlooking the beach, elements of V Corps led heroically by on-site Brigadier General Norman Cota (played by Robert Mitchum in the superlative film The Longest Day) were able to break through stiff German resistance and rush inland.

Killing bluff overlooking Omaha Beach

 

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach

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D-Day — Utah


All this week I’ll be rerunning my six-part series on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. Next week I’ll return you to our Baltic trip and beyond. In the meantime, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and Operation Overlord (the Battle of Normandy) in the event we now collectively refer to as D-Day:

Utah Beach

The beach assaults on D-Day occurred at five locations. Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches lay to the east. The English took Gold and Sword. Canada led the way at Juno. The U.S. Army assaulted the two beaches to the west, Omaha and Utah, with Utah being the western-most invasion site.

M4 Sherman Tank

Leading the assault of Utah Beach was the son of a president, General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. General Roosevelt hid from his superiors a heart condition that would lead to his death just a little over five weeks after the invasion.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

The assault forces at Utah met with surprisingly light resistance. There were 197 casualties out of the 21,000 men who landed there.

 

Utah Beach Navy Memorial

Those who landed on the beach just to their east were not nearly as fortunate. Next up in this series is the assault on Omaha. Until then, here are a more photos of Utah:

Utah Beach

Utah Beach

Utah Beach Memorial

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