Today we left the hotel enroute to the bunkers of Dokumentation Obersalzberg. This bunker complex was started in 1943. It was an underground Fuehrer Headquarters in case the buildings above ground were destroyed or if the Obersalzberg should be taken over by the enemy. The subsystems were connected by long corridors or staircases. All of the important buildings were reachable. The bunkers contained living, work, office, storage and technical space. When the air raid by the British occurred in April, 1945 over Obersalzberg the bunkers were filled with many workers but no Third Reich officials.
We entered the Bunkers from the office on the side of the Hotel sum Türken. The hotel is in use again. It was taken from the owners in 1933 when Hitler moved in next door! After the war, the owner’s daughter got it back and restored it because it was badly damaged during the bombing raid of 1945.
Hotel sum Türken
The hotel side entrance into the bunkers
As we explored the bunkers there were so many ways to go it would be easy to get lost! Luckily, the tunnels are well marked.
One of the tunnels leads to Hitler’s Bunker but the entrance is bricked up so you are unable to get into the Berghof’s Bunker.
Underground prisoner cells
The Berghof (Hitler’s home) was blown up in 1952 by the Bavarian government.
After our exploration of the bunkers, we went to the bus parking lot to switch to a special bus that took us up to Eagle’s Nest! Before getting in the smaller bus to visit Eagle’s Nest we had lunch in Obersalzberg.
It was cloudy and foggy during our visit to Eagle’s Nest which to us seemed appropriate. When you talk about Eagle’s Nest it refers just to the mountaintop chalet. We walked through a tunnel to take the elevator up to the building.
The elevator up to Eagle’s Nest is made of polished brass.
Elevator in the waiting room.
Getting on the elevator to take us up to the chalet.
Eagle’s Nest is now a restaurant. In the dining room is a marble fireplace given to Hitler as a gift from Mussolini.
The dining room where the fireplace is located.
The fireplace with the mantle given to Hitler by Mussolini.
Hitler rarely visited here because he lived at the Berghof. He didn’t like the elevator and he was scared of heights. More pictures from inside Eagle’s Nest are below.
Even though is was cloudy when we were visiting Eagle’s Nest the views were still amazing!
looking down on Eagle’s Nest from the top.
Looking up at Eagle’s Nest.
one of the beautiful flowers we saw
After spending the afternoon at Eagle’s Nest, we headed back to Munich for our group’s farewell cocktails and dinner! It was difficult saying goodbye to such a wonderful group of people!
Our last cocktail together
Our last cocktail together
Tuesday morning began with the first bus ride to the airport! The hotel packed a to-go breakfast for us.
We had a late morning flight back to the U.S. from Munich to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Columbus. Our flights were close to on time and no issues going through customs. It was definitely a trip to remember and share with others.
Today began with a tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp. It is located about 12 1/2 miles NW of Munich. Dachau became the model for other camps that were built. It is now a memorial site on the grounds of the former concentration camp. This memorial site was established in 1965.
Entrance sign to Daschau
Plaque to Liberators
Entrance gate to Dachau
Roll Call/Meeting area
Barracks are in the background
The gate at the main entrance had the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” which translates as “Work Makes You Free”!
Dachau was also the training center for the SS where recruits were indoctrinated into a system that encouraged the torture, humiliation and killing of prisoners.
A model of the layout at Dachua.
Repairing the Dachau memorial sculpture
Daschau Memorial site
Dachau Memorial site
Dachau was built in 1933 as a concentration camp for political prisoners. The camp had 32 barracks, one reserved for clergy and one reserved for the medical experiments. Dachau was designed to hold 6,000 prisoners but by 1944 there were over 30,000 prisoners! In the 12 years of its existence over 200,000 persons from all over Europe were imprisoned there. After only imprisoning political prisoners, it then held criminals, homosexuals, gypsies, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was later that Jews were added. At Dachau some prisoners were used as slave labor to manufacture weapons and other items for Germany’s war effort. Also some prisoners were subjected to brutal medical experiments by the Nazis! Theodor Eicke ran the camp after Sebastian Nefzger. When Eicke took over he enforced a rule that any prisoner deemed guilty of rule breaking would be brutally beaten. And if you tried to escape or shared your political views you were immediately executed! Eicke’s regulations served as a blueprint for all of the other concentration camps.
We saw the cells, barracks and gas chamber. Dachau has rebuilt two of the barracks. The other barracks are indicated by concrete foundations.
A rebuilt barrack.
The beds in one of the barracks.
The only washing area for the entire barrack.
The only toilets for the barrack. (no privacy)
The memorial layout of where the other barracks once stood.
The perimeter defense that was in place at Dachau is shown below. The camp was surrounded by 7 watch towers, an electrified barb-wire fence, a ditch, and a wall.
A picture of the perimeter.
There was a ditch, electrified wire fence and guard towers.
In 1942, construction began on Barrack X, a crematorium that when finished housed 4 sizable ovens used to incinerate corpses.
The “shower” room door locked from the outside!
The fake shower heads that the gas entered through.
Just before the camp was liberated the SS ordered about 7,000 prisoners to embark on a 6 day long death march to Tegernsee, Germany to the south.
On April 29th, 1945 the American military entered the camp where they found 1,000s of emaciated prisoners. They also found several dozen train cars filled with rotting corpses. It was horrific and beyond words.
Plaque to Liberators
There are 4 chapels on the Dachau memorial site. One is the Catholic Church of the Mortal Agony of Christ Chapel which was the first to be built.The second is the Protestant Church of Reconciliation and is set into the ground.The third was the Jewish Memorial.
The fourth and the newest is the Russian Orthodox Chapel.
After the war and the camp had been liberated, it was used from 1945-1948 as a prison for accused war criminals and SS members. Then in 1948 Daschau was used as a refugee camp until the mid-sixties.
Our lunch was in the Dachau Visitor’s Center and when we were finished we took our bus into Munich for our afternoon walking tour of the Third Reich. Our tour started at the Hofbrahaus.
It is a very famous pub and has been at its current location since 1607. In 1920 the German Nationalist Party was founded in the Hofbrahaus. Most famously Hitler delivered his 25-point program.
He threatened to strip the Jews of their civic rights and to set up a dictatorship. Thirteen years later these plans became a sad reality.
Our walking tour continued on with our guide Kurt who also was our guide at Dachau.
He was covering the history of Munich in relation to the birthplace of Nazism!
The square below is dedicated to those that died at the hands of the Nazis. The eternal flame is in a block-like cage atop four T’s.
Königsplatz square was used for the Nazi party’s mass rallies. Below is the Propyläen, which is the city gate on the west side of the Königsplatz.
There are still signs of Nazism on some buildings. The eagle is one of them. We also saw some swastikas in ceiling patterns.
Below, the captions tell you about these photos from our walking tour.
View of the Führerbau, “the Führer’s building”
Palace of Justice
If you look closely there is still damage from the bombing of Munich.
Neptune Fountain by Nazi Sculptor Josef Wackerle in 1937.
View from the Odeonsplatz
Bavarian State Opera
The Feldherrnhalle was commissioned in 1841 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria and was modeled after the loggia in Florence, Italy. In 1923 it was the site of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch which was a very brief battle. When the Nazi’s were in power in Munich it was also a monument commemorating 16 Nazi party members that died because of this battle.
Just remember beer drinkers, Munich is the beer city of the world! We had dinner at the Weisses Brauhaus in the heart of Munich. Many of our group enjoyed trying the different beers!
A few more photos from our time in Munich!
It was another day of different emotions. Spending the morning at Dachau and then the afternoon seeing Hitler’s haunts and the power the Nazi party held in Munich was entirely different set of emotions.
We returned to our hotel and several of us discussed the day and our experiences.
We were on the bus by 7:30 because we were heading to Munich, Germany. Our first stop today was the Luxembourg American Cemetery located in the country of Luxembourg.
Over 5,000 are buried here and about 100 of these are unknown soldiers. The only woman buried here is Nancy Leo, a nurse, her sister also served as a nurse during WWII. Nancy was killed when her jeep overturned on her way to Paris to visit her sister!
Below are some pictures of the cemetery.
Also buried here is General Patton. In the spring of 1947 his grave marker was moved from Plot EE to the front so to save the ground and those buried around him.
Before we left the cemetery the veterans in our group and another tour group did a wreath laying ceremony outside the memorial chapel. Below are pictures from the chapel inside and out.
Today’s weather is much cooler and rainy. The first precipitation that we’ve had! We certainly welcomed the cooler temperatures.
On to Munich we go! Our tour director played an anti-Nazi propaganda cartoon made by Disney and was about Hitler!
Our arrival to the hotel, H4 Hotel Munich Messe, was around 6:30 PM and our dinner was at the hotel. We were glad to have a room with air conditioning after three days of oppressive heat and no air at our hotel.
After dinner we had a great time at the bar with others from our group! After riding on the bus all day it was nice to relax. The bar had these 4 projector screens that had 4 different band and/or singers playing music. It entertained us all!
We were on the bus to go spend the day in and around Bastogne. Below are pictures from the main square in Bastogne which is also called McAuliffe Square. This square honors General McAuliffe who commanded the 101st Airborne. The tank on display is an American Sherman tank and is next to a bust of McAuliffe.
We picked up our guide, Bruno, who is an active duty Belgium soldier. Our first stop was the Bastogne Barracks.
On the right was the building that housed the 101st headquarters.
Liberty Hall is where we started our tour.
Inside Liberty Hall
We went into the Liberty Hall. In the hall we sat and Bruno explained what was happening and where the German Line was and the US troops locations. The Germans had surrounded Bastogne. General McAuliffe was the acting commander of the 101st Airborne and he along with his division arrived in Bastogne on December 19th, 1944. Gen. McAuliffe’s headquarters was here at the Bastogne Barracks. He set up his headquarters in the 2nd Lieutenant barracks Heintz.
General McAuliffe became well known for his answer of “NUTS” when the Germans asked him to surrender on December 22, 1944 because the Germans had the town surrounded.
Entering the 101St Airborne Headquarters
McAuliffe telling the Germans “NUTS” to surrendering
The headquarters of the 101st Airborne was turned into a museum in 2010. They have restored part of the barracks. It is full of exhibits and a vast collection of materials/weapons etc… used in WWII. The “NUTS” basement shows the office where the General spoke the now famous word “NUTS”! After the Normandy invasion, the Germans made one last major offensive to conquer Antwerp. There was a heavy attack by the Germans that pushed the Allied line back! On December 21st the Germans had encircled Bastogne. It was an American air raid that freed the surrounded Americans.
We saw the infamous Christmas letter and a copy of this letter was framed and given to the veterans in our group.
Our guide took us to their other display rooms. We saw the Message Room, the Ops Room, Veterans Room, the Dining Room where the officers had their Christmas meal, and the “Sad Sack Grub” Room.
All the WWII veterans who have returned to visit Bastogne, have their pictures hanging in this room. They cover much of the 4 walls!
The veterans in our group were honored with a framed copy of the Christmas Letter!
Where the officers had their Christmas dinner.
An actual picture of their dinner.
A picture that tells where each officer had dinner
The Sad Sack Grub
Sad Sack Grub
They also had quite a few authentic relics. One was part of a glider.
And the highlight for some in our group was The Vehicle Restoration Center! This is filled with military armoured vehicles. Some weren’t in the building because they were being used for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day.
On our way to visit the foxholes left from the 101st Airborne or Easy Company, our bus stopped so we could visit the memorial to the 506th of the 101st Airborne Division.
The current monument along the road.
Part of the old monument near the foxholes.
You can find the 101st’s foxholes from Bizory to Foy. Easy Company fought here from December, 1944 until January, 1945, against the German forces in Foy, Belgium. The foxholes are well-preserved and accessible. We visited some of these. We were in the woods and looking out toward Foy.
Walking into the forest where the foxholes can be found
101st Airborne foxholes
101st Airborne foxholes
101st Airborne foxholes
Looking out at the village from the foxhole.
Those under 30 in our group posed in the foxhole and pretended they were freezing!
After returning to the city center of Bastogne, we said goodbye to our guide Bruno and walked over to our restaurant, Léo, for a delicious lunch. Many tried the Airborne Beer with their food.
The restaurant also sold bottles with a label that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
We had free time until we were to visit the Bastogne War Museum. We enjoyed our time walking around town and visited the Belgian Chocolate Shop. The chocolate we tried was delicious! We also did a lot of “window shopping” and walking around the town!
The picture below and on the left shows the original photo of General Bradley, General Eisenhower and General Patton surveying the destruction of Bastogne and the picture on the right shows the same spot today!
General Bradley, General Eisenhower, and General Patton
Where they stood today!
The Bastogne War Museum explains the events that lead up to WWII and throughout. You follow 4 ordinary people caught in this conflict and you get their stories from their perspective and see how their stories interconnect during the war. They are fictional characters but are based on facts! It was a Belgian boy, a young Belgian woman teacher, a German WWII officer, and an American paratrooper from the 101st. It is an interactive museum with many WWII relics. We had two hours to visit and could have used at least an other half hour to hour. The museum has 3 immersive shows that help explain the story of Bastogne and its inhabitants during the winter. The four characters tell their story throughout and they each have their own version of the war.
Bastogne War Museum
One of the displays in the museum.
A display that shows damage in a text from the Battle of the Bulge.
One of the 3 shows.
The Mardasson Memorial sits on a hill called Mardasson. It was dedicated in July, 1950 with 10,000 attending including General McAuliffe. This memorial was designed to honor 76,890 American soldiers killed, wounded or missing during the Battle of the Bulge. It is a 5-pointed star shape and is a tribute to the American soldiers by the Belgians. We didn’t have time to explore it or go to the top and look out over the area.
The Mardasson Memorial
Another view of the Mardasson Memorial
This memorial is beside the Mardasson Memorial and it commemorates the men of the 101st Airborne who defended Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
Dinner was at the same restaurant where we had lunch. Our dinner was a hamburger, frites, salad and sorbet with fresh fruit. Our tour director felt that a hamburger would be a good choice because Belgium has really good beef.
It was another full day of learning more about the Battle of the Bulge and exploring this historic area!
This morning we picked up our guide in the center of the town of Bastogne. We will be learning about the Battle of the Bulge or also known as the Ardennes Offensive. It is called a Bulge because the Germans have a bump or bulge around the Ardennes forest in pushing through the American line!
Henri, who is 85 years old and was 9 years old when the Battle of the Bulge occurred.
He watched the Battle from his home on the family farm until it was destroyed. The family never rebuilt the home.
He moved in with his grandparents and his father was killed during the war. He is extremely knowledgeable about the Battle of the Bulge!
Today was focused on the Northern Arc of the Battle of the Bulge. We stopped at the 82nd Airborne memorial at Liege, Belgium. It was surrounded by rolling fields and pastures. This also is another area where our Dad was located.
82nd Airborne Memorial
Plaque on the memorial.
Cow pasture where part of the Battle took place.
We stopped and saw a Sherman tank used by the U.S. in Vith, Belgium. The town of Vith was destroyed during the war and was rebuilt and redesigned after the war.
We saw a monument in honor of the 106th Infantry of the Army who fought in the Ardennes forest. This monument is in front of the St. Vith School.
One of the women on our tour, her father was part of the I&R (Intelligence and Reconnaissance) Platoon and fought in the Battle for Lanzerath. Her father and his small platoon was captured by the Germans.
There also is a memorial to the 82nd Airborne in Lanzerath.
Our next stop was crossing into Germany to see the Siegfried Line which extended from Holland to Switzerland. We walked along a cow pasture and into the woods.
Siegrfried Line Dragon teeth.
Along the pasture and into the woods we could see the dragon teeth along the line. These were placed as obstacles for tanks, trucks, etc… In the woods is a memorial to the 99th U.S. Infantry Division. The German forts that were along the Siegfried Line were destroyed after the war. This line was commissioned by the German government as a lead up to the war. The line included trenches, barbed wire, the line included 22,000 bunkers and pillboxes, and forts.
We went back into Belgium to visit the twin villages where the Germans attempted to advance during the Battle of the Bulge.
A memorial to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division is situated near the church of Krinkett. Also a memorial to the 99th Infantry Division, which were called the “Battle Babies” because they were very green (little battle experience).
We drove around a roundabout a couple of times in Butgenbach-Bullingen to see the memorial in the center which is for the 1st Infantry Division.
Lunch was at La Faitafondue in Waimes, Belgium. It is a fondue restaurant. We had a delicious salad bar, Belgian Frites (french fries), and cooked our own meat (chicken, pork, and beef). For dessert we were served homemade Belgian ice cream: chocolate and vanilla. This restaurant changes its decor once a year. This year the theme was Pirates of the Caribbean.
outside of LaFaitafondue Restaurant
The theme of the restaurant for this year.
Cooking our meat in the fondue pots.
Our homemade ice cream dessert.
After lunch, in Malmedy, we stopped at the Memorial of Baugnez. The U.S. soldiers who were prisoners here were gunned down by the Nazis, December 17, 1944.
Another memorial to these soldiers is near by.
Next to the memorial is the Hotel du Moulin. There is a story written by John Toland, Saturday 29, April, 2006 entitled: “The Brave Innkeeper of ‘The Battle of the Bulge'”. This article was printed in the Coronet magazine in December, 1959. It describes how the innkeeper helped to save the lives of some American prisoners.
Next we saw a German Tiger II tank. It is the most famous tank of WWII. It had a devastating 88 millimeter gun.
Church across from the tank.
Henri had us make a stop in Chenoux at the monument for the 82nd Airborne. Dad was also in this area treating the injured.
We also saw the monument at the 82nd Airborne’s Headquarters during the Battle of the Bulge. They used all of the homes around the square.
A Panther AUSF-G a German tank is a medium tank deployed during WWII on the Eastern and Western Front. The one below was left by the retreating 2nd SS Panzer Division. It was out of fuel and abandoned in a field. The Village of Grandmenil has it as a monument to remember the events of December, 1944 that occurred here.
It was a very warm day with temperatures over 105 degrees. Our entire group was exhausted from another emotional and busy day. We returned to our hotel to freshen up and have dinner but it was difficult to do because of the heat and no air conditioning. Our group made the best of it!
We left this morning at 8:30 AM and are traveling to Belgium. This was definitely a day of riding on the bus!
We stopped at 10:15 AM for a rest stop and are still in France. On the bus, the movie The Longest Day was shown.
Around noon we stopped for lunch at a rest plaza then we were back on the road!
We left France and entered Belgium about 3:30 PM. We had a couple of traffic slow downs due to construction.
Catelyn, our tour director, shared some interesting facts about Belgium. A few that we remember were-
1,100 different beers made in Belgium with an 8-10 % alcohol content
Belgium is known for its chocolate, Godiva is one of the makers in the country
There are different types of Belgian waffles
French fries can be traced back to Belgium. The American soldiers during WWI thought they were in France when they called these frites French fries because they were in the French speaking area of Belgium
There are 3 official languages in Belgium: Flemish (Dutch), French, and German
You can also hear Luxembourgish spoken in the Belgian province called Luxembourg (which borders the country of Luxembourg)
Belgium is within the European Union so there is no border/passport control
Our first rest stop in Belgium and our first time to pay to use the toilet. It cost 70¢.
We arrived at our hotel around 6 PM. Our hotel is the Vayamundo Hotel and is located in the town of Houffalize, Belgium in the Ardennes forest.
our balcony, but it was too hot to enjoy
The view from our room into the forest
We are staying here for 3 nights and our weather is to be even warmer tomorrow, a high of 105º. Also, no air conditioning or any fans. It was difficult to sleep.
The picture below is looking down on the town of Houffalize, Belgium.
Houffalize has been rebuilt since all of the Allied bombing during the Battle of the Bulge. It was important to the Allies to cut off the Germans getting supplies and fuel because the bridges here still remained. The pictures after the bombings show that there wasn’t much left of the town. 189 civilians from Houffalize were killed during the Allied bombing!
REFLECTIONS– As we traveled and explored the Normandy area, it amazed me how the French in this area have embraced what happened here and fly not only their flags but those of the Allies that helped to liberate them.
With this year being the 75th anniversary of D-Day, new memorials and memorial gardens, banners, etc… have been added.
It was quite moving to walk on the beaches the WWII soldiers were on and all the lives that were lost during the invasion and throughout the war.
Our first stop today was Sword Beach. The British objective here was to capture the port city of Caen.
“La Flamme” Memorial is made of metal.
“La Flamme” is in the shape of a flame.
“La Flamme” is housed on top of a German bunker.
Statue of Brigadier Lord Lovat.
These stones have the names of the French commando’s who were killed on D-Day.
We toured the beach with the flame memorial. It was a good place to walk and reflect.
It’s incredible what relics that have been found from D-Day that the French and other countries and groups have preserved and kept as part of our WWII history!
The Pegasus Bridge and Museum was our next stop.
The original Pegasus Bridge is shown below!
We drove over the newer bridge that replaced the original bridge which is now in the museum that we are visiting.
Newer Pegasus Bridge
village by the canal and bridge
The Caen Canal
The town people wanted the new bridge to be very much like the old bridge that existed in WWII. The bridge crosses the Caen Canal. During WWII the Allied troops wanted to get control of this bridge and it was a main objective of the British Airborne troops on D-day. These paratroopers came in on gliders, same as our father with the 82nd Airborne. The bridge was renamed in 1944, the Pegasus Bridge in honor of the Operation Pegasus. The Pegasus was a shoulder emblem worn by the British Airborne forces, which is the flying horse, Pegasus!
Juno Beach was our stop after the Pegasus Bridge.
It was originally called Jelly Beach but it has been told that Churchill thought that name was not appropriate for a beach on which many men might die. He insisted that the code name be more dignified, hence Juno!
We saw an excellent movie about D-Day there. The guide at the Juno Beach Center was named Vincent. He is Canadian and this is the beach the Canadians stormed. There were 1,200 casualties out of 21, 400 Canadians that landed at Juno that day.
Our guide Vincent took us on a tour through the remains of the Atlantic Wall, recounting the history of the D-Day landings. We saw the command post of 1941, to the observation bunker built just before the D-Day invasion. You can only tour the Observation bunker and the German Command Post if you are on the tour!
We finished our tour on the beach itself.
We then went to Gold Beach where we saw footage of the D-Day invasion on a 360° screen. Arromanches 360 movie is shown on nine screens. It shows archival footages collected from around the world that tell the story of the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy.
Our lunch was overlooking Gold Beach and it was delicious.
We also had time to explore the town of Arromanches-les- Bains.
Gold Beach is one of the beaches that became a portable harbor called Mulberry Harbor.
This portable harbor was brought over from England to be put in place! The port was to be temporary but ended up being used for five months! The Arromanches Mulberry Harbor became known as Port Winston, after Winston Churchill. We learned that 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tons of supplies arrived using Port Winston.
More pictures of the beach with remnants of the Mulberry Harbor are below.
The D-Day 75 Garden was gifted by the UK veterans to the town of Arromanches, Normandy on June 6, 2019! It was first on display at the Royal Hospital Chelsea during their flower show. It celebrates the lives of its Normandy veterans.
Our last stop today was to visit part of the Atlantic Wall at Longues-Sur-Mer German Battery. There were four casemates with the original German cannons still in place. They were built between Gold and Omaha Beaches and shelled both of these beaches. This battery was captured on the day after D-Day, June 7th, 1944.
From the German casemates you can walk a short distance toward the forward outpost. This outpost gave the German commanders a perfect view of the Atlantic. We were able to explore it.
As you can see, the opening isn’t very high.
Many had to bend over to get in and out of the post
View from the Outpost
Other views from the area around the casemates and the outpost.
This was another special exhibit that was placed for the 75th D-Day anniversary. This display talked about the archeology of D-Day.
The temperature was over 100° and mostly sunny! Another memorable day that was full of history!
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.
The entrance to the cemetery is a single door.
The only color in the cemetery are the rose bushes around the hill.
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.
A memorial to Higgins, his boat and the men who rode ashore on them.
The harness racing horses were training along Utah Beach.
The tide was out when we arrived.
From the beach looking at the landings.
Monument of the 4th Infantry Division.
In honor of the first combatants of Operation Neptune on Utah beach.
U.S. Navy Monument
The 1st Engineer Special Brigade Monument.
The 90th Infantry Division Monument.
We then visited the Utah Beach Landing Museum.
Looking from a German bunker at the Utah Beach D-Day Museum
The Utah Beach D-Day Museum
Peace Tree sculpture
Close up of a few leaves.
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.
part of the German defenses along the Atlantic Wall
German coastal artillary
We must always remember what happened here on D-day!
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.
Looking out to the tree line where the 4 howitzers connected by trenches.
Sean, our guide, explaining what happened here.
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!
Another view of the glider.
This medic would have been like our dad.
You could walk on to the glider and see what it was like for the soldiers.
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.
John Steele’s medals.
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!
We left our hotel at 9:00 and our first stop was the Normandy American Cemetery with our step-on guide Sean. The cemetery looks over Omaha Beach.
It covers 72 1/2 acres and contains the graves of more than 9,380. On the walls of the missing are the names of more than 1,500 and rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. We toured the grounds and visited the Visitor’s Center.