Monday, July 22nd, 2019
Our first stop today was the WWII German soldier cemetery. It was a stark contrast to the Normandy American cemetery that we visited yesterday. The cemetery is called La Cambe German War Military Cemetery. It is the largest German War Cemetery in Normandy. It contains over 21,200 German Military personnel.
From there we went to visit Utah Beach. Sean, our guide, took us out on the beach and explained the invasion that took place here. Utah Beach is the westernmost of the landing areas on D-Day. The 4th Infantry Division arrived for the assault at Utah Beach. The 82nd and the 101st airborne divisions were air-dropped inland from the landing beach.
We then visited the Utah Beach Landing Museum.
It contains an original B26 Bomber (one of six remaining). We watched the film “Victory in the Sand”- a documentary of the Utah Beach invasion.
More pictures from inside the museum which chronicles the invasion and contains many relics from D-day. We were very interested in the medical relics as our dad/father-in-law was with the 82nd airborne as part of the medical detachment. He was a surgical tech.
We walked over to a field of cattle and there was another German bunker to explore.
Le Roosevelt is the only restaurant/bar at Utah Beach. It has a rich WWII history because it is partly in a former bunker. WW2 memorabilia and signatures of hundreds of veterans cover the walls. It was originally a fisherman’s house and then used by the Germans who were building and strengthening the Atlantic Wall. After D-day the occupation of this building was held by the Americans and the US Navy used it as a communications center. The pictures below were taken inside the bar area. Many veterans have signed on the wall!
Another stop was the Brecourt Monument near Brecourt Manor that honors Easy Company. This monument was dedicated in 2008. It commemorates the action against four guns aiming at Utah Beach. This is a scene that is highlighted in the TV series Band of Brothers.
We had a delicious lunch at a B&B called Le Grand Hard.
As we drove around Normandy we saw road signs in memory of various military heroes and banners with the name and picture of other WWII heroes. It was quite moving to see.
After lunch we went to St. Mére-Eglise.
We visited the infamous church where the paratrooper, John Steele, had his parachute caught on its spire. The replica shown below is actually on the other side of the church. They moved the paratrooper so it would be more visible.
Inside the church we saw the stained glass window that honors the paratroopers.
The Airborne museum was informative for us because it is dedicated to the 82nd and 101st Airborne paratroopers! It was filled with many WWII relics.
The first building is all about the Gliders and their use during the invasion in Normandy. Dad flew in a glider on D-day. We saw a sample of a WACO glider. These planes did not have motors!
The drawings below showed the 82nd Airborne Division’s operations. It was so interesting to read this.
More items from the museum that were interesting to see and/or read about.
From there we went to Dead Man’s Corner Museum in St.-Come-du-Mont.
It’s called Dead Man’s Corner because on June 8th an American Stuart tank was knocked out at the intersection outside the building. The tank commander tried to get out but was unable and died there. The tank remained there as a help to guide the Allied troops coming inland because the Germans had taken down all of the road signs.
We watched a 3-D movie about D-Day and then did a C-47 simulation that was very good.
It was another emotional and historically busy day!
10,943 steps, 4.26 miles, 5 flights