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NORMANDY AMERICAN CEMETERY
Pointe du Hoc
DESCRIPTION
Name
Countries involved
Normandy American Cemetery
United States
Important date in history
Location
June 6th 1944
Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France
Historical significance

The Normandy American Cemetery is situated on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel in Colleville-sur Mer, France. It is just east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux about one hundred and seventy miles west of Paris. The cemetery can be reached from Paris by automobile via Highway A-13 to Caen, then Highway N-13 through Bayeux to Formigny, then following D-517 to St. Laurent-sur-Mer and D-514 to Colleville-sur-Mer. The cemetery is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery is at the north end of its one half mile access road and covers one hundred and seventy-two acres. It contains the graves of 9,387 American military Dead, most of whom gave their lives during the landings and ensuing operations of World War II.

Memorial site
Traces of battle
Visitors Building
LONGUES-SUR-MER BATTERY
Pointe du Hoc
DESCRIPTION
Name
Countries involved
Longues-sur-Mer Battery
Germany
Important date in history
Location
June 6th 1944
Longues-sur-Mer, Normandy, France
Historical significance

The Longues-sur-Mer battery was a World War II artillery battery constructed by the Wehrmacht near the French village of Longues-sur-Mer in Normandy. It formed a part of Germany's Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications. The battery was completed by April 1944. Although constructed and manned initially by the Kriegsmarine, the battery was later transferred to the German army. The site consisted of four 150-mm navy guns, each protected by a large concrete casemate, a command post, shelters for personnel and ammunition, and several defensive machine-gun emplacements.

The battery at Longues was situated between the landing beaches Omaha and Gold. On the night before the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944, the battery was subject to heavy bombing from allied air forces. The bombing was followed from 0537hrs on the morning of the landings by bombardment from the French cruiser Georges Leygues as well as the U.S. battleship Arkansas. The battery itself opened fire at 0605hrs, forcing the headquarters ship HMS Bulolo to retreat to safer water. Three of the four guns were eventually disabled by British cruisers Ajax and Argonaut, though a single gun continued to operate intermittently until 1900hrs that evening. The site was captured by the 231st Infantry Brigade the following day.

Memorial site
Traces of battle
Visitors Building
POINTE DU HOC
Pointe du Hoc
DESCRIPTION
Name
Countries involved
Pointe du Hoc
United States, Germany
Important date in history
Location
June 6th 1944
Normandy, France
Historical significance

Pointe du Hoc is a clifftop location on the coast of Normandy in northern France. It lies 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Omaha Beach, and stands on 100 ft (30 m) tall cliffs overlooking the sea. It was a point of attack by the United States Army Ranger Assault Group during Operation Overlord in World War II. The Germans had built, as part of the Atlantic Wall, six casemates to house a battery of captured French 155mm guns. With Pointe Du Hoc situated between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east, these guns threatened Allied landings on both beaches, risking heavy casualties in the landing forces. Although there were several bombardments from the air and by naval guns, intelligence reports assumed that the fortifications were too strong, and would also require attack by ground forces.

The U.S. 2nd Ranger Battalion was therefore given the task of destroying the strongpoint early on D-Day. Prior to the attack, the guns were moved approximately 1 mile away; however, the concrete fortifications were intact, and would still present a major threat to the landings if they were occupied by artillery forward observers. The Ranger Battalion commanders and executive officers knew the guns had moved, but the rest of the Rangers were not informed prior to the attack. The popular perception that the guns were "missing" on D-Day may be attributed to this decision not to inform the troops prior to the attack

Memorial site
Traces of battle
Visitors Building
LA CAMBE CEMETERY
Pointe du Hoc
DESCRIPTION
Name
Countries involved
La Cambe German War Cemetery
Germany
Important date in history
Location
1954
Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France
Historical significance

La Cambe was originally the site of a battlefield cemetery, established by the United States Army Graves Registration Service during the war, where American and German soldiers, sailors and airmen were buried in two adjacent fields. After the war had ended on the continent and paralleling the work undertaken to repair all the devastation that the war had caused, work began on exhuming the American remains and transferring them in accordance with the wishes of their families. Beginning in 1945, the Americans transferred two-thirds of their fallen from this site back to the United States while the remainder were reinterred at the new permanent American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer, which overlooks the Omaha Beach landing site.

Because of the pace of the war, the German war dead in Normandy were scattered over a wide area, many of them buried in isolated field graves - or small battlefield cemeteries. In the years following the war, the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfüsorge) sought to establish six main German cemeteries in the Normandy area. La Cambe, as an existing site of German war dead that was already informally cared for by the German War Graves Commission, was a natural choice for one of the six formal sites. After the signing in 1954 of the Franco-German Treaty on War Graves, La Combe was formally cared for, allowing the remains of 12,000 German soldiers to be moved in from 1,400 locations in the French departments of Calvados and the Orne.

Memorial site
Traces of battle
Visitors Building
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