Continue your tour heading west, through
to Pointe du Hoc via the D 514.
When you leave this sector (DOG) behind you and move upwards, towards Vierville-sur-Mer,
you will see some interesting monuments. On the right you see a plaque against the wall which
commemorates the heroism of the Rangers (but no mention of the help they got from men of the
116th Regiment, 29th Division). Central on the dividing of the road are two large erected
monuments. The first is for the 29th Infantry Division, and another stands some hundred meters
behind this, for 6th Engineer Special Brigade.
The former HQ of 'Eleventh Port'
To the right side of the road stands a distinctive relic. It’s an offloading bridge from
a Mulberry harbour. A short distant further, direction of Pointe du Hoc, you’ll find the Chateau
de Vierville. This was after the landings the headquarters of the so called ‘Eleventh Port’.
They had the command of building the Mulberry ‘A’ harbour just in front of Vierville-sur-Mer,
at Exit D-1. They were located here from 8 June untill 21 July, 1944.
Some preserved parts of the Mulberry harbour.
As mentioned befor, Mulberry ‘B’ was at Arromanches. On 7 June work was started to
construct the artificial harbours. On 18 June they were fully functional. On 19 June, the next day,
a severe storm was hitting Normandy for three days. The Mulberry harbour at Vierville-sur-Mer was
almost complete destroyed. Useful parts were brought over to Arromanches.
Mulberry 'A' is operational
At low tide you can see some fragments of the Mulberry ‘A’ harbour. Also, encapsulated in the shore is an offloading dock as a remnant of the huge harbour
Mulberry 'A' is almost totally destroyed
Before you take a right turn onto the D 541 , you can go to the left and move into the suburb
of Vierville-sur-Mer. It is worth the search, but if you go somewhere again to the left, than you are
on top of the cliff. In the far corner to the left is Wn 71. At a stone throw of each other, are a
Tobruk and a personalbunker.
A Tobruk in Wn 71
You can walk all the way to the edge of the cliff for a magnifecant view over Omaha Beach.
More to the right on this hill, towards St Laurent-sur-Mer, was a temporary airfield situated.
Nowadays all traces are gone and it is farmer land once again.
A great view over Omaha Beach looking towards the sector EASY
(Yours truly rented the house in front of the picture once for a week)
FOUR MUSEUMS FOR OMAHA
To illustrate the battle for the beaches here, there are
three museums near Omaha Beach. The first on our route
is the Big Red One Assault Museum in Colleville-sur-Mer.
It's mainly about the exploits of the 1st Infantry Division. It's privately owned, and the owner
found himself a lot of objects on the beaches, and collected personal items from
The Big Red One Assault Museum in
It is not that big and has the obvious
displays, such as, uniforms, some weapons and photo- and document material. The whole display of
the objects is to be found on the ground floor, nicely displayed in cabinets. The one thing
that is missing is a history how the 1st Division worked towards the landings. Outside
stands as an eye-catcher a ramp from an LCVP.
Nice displayed are the donated objects by veterans
The second museum on you trip at Omaha Beach, ‘Overlord
Museum' , was opened in June 2013. It is located on the large roundabout
towards the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. In front of the large grey concrete
building, stands a Sherman tank, an M10 tank destroyer and a Sexton. The name suggest more
than just Omaha Beach, and yes the collection and displays are of the fighting on and beyond the beaches.
het vreemde aan dit museum, het rommelige karakter van het geheel.
A Sherman tank in front of 'Overlord Museum'
The outside promises more than you’ll find inside. There are plenty of vehicles and guns
(35 in total), and some 10.000 items (according the brochure) in this collection. But most
of the items are just dumped into cabinets without any information what the item are,… Also,
the lightning is not that great, it is very dark inside. Another point of criticism is the
reminder near every vehicle, not to touch them. At the German vehicles this by the way impossible,
because they are behind tall sheets of Plexiglas. And that is a pity, because for these unique
vehicles, it is not ideal for the photographer. Beside that, the American and British vehicles
are in a ‘muddy’ state, and this makes it a messy display. Under the German vehicles are some
very rare ones to be found, such as a PzKpfw IV Ausf G, and a couple of SdKfz 251's, and a wreck
of Panther tank.
With the wreck of the Panther in the background,
left one of the many cabinets with the ‘dumped items’
This museum was ones part of the collection of Michel Leloup, who displayed it at a former
cheese factory in Falaise, until his death in 2011. That his collection is saved, is great,
and that it has the facilities to show it in, but it is far from mind boggling.
The suggesting that it is about operation ‘Overlord' is far from correct, it stretches
over the whole of Normandy. Even the lifelike puppets can not bring the emotion of war
to the public. Both parties suffered, soldiers and civilians alike, but the suffering is
nowhere to be found. The museum has no room to spare, so a switch in collection is out
of the question. Ergo, when someone has visited this museum, he will likely never to return.
The displays are very impressive, but ‘empty’
The museum is open daily, low-season from 10.00 hours till 17.00 hours, mid-season from
10.00 hours till 18.00 hours. During the summer, from 09.30 hours till 19.00 hours. For
2013 the entrance fee had the strange price of €6.90 (adults) and €4.90 (children, students,
military service and disabled).
'The landing on Omaha Beach'
(on the right an M4A1(76)W Sherman tank, a type which did not come ashore on June 6, 1944.
Better was to use a Sherman 75mm, a type which can be found in another room)
The museum is new, and maybe still in the process of finishing touches, so, who knows what
the future holds. Other, than for example Big Red One Assault Museum
, there is no personal touch, almost no item has a history to hold, it is unknown
where the items are found, or to who it belonged. These are the times that museums are allowing
the public to go ‘hands-on’ and bring virtual video into the displays, but not here. No beamers
and monitors with short clips of some showing how the battle was fought in Normandy (such as
Musée Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux). Because the theme 'Overlord' is used,
then why are the British and the Canadians not wider used in the collection? There are some
nice items, but not that many of the Commonwealth. Because this museum is new, big and on
a great side to be found, it will be a stiff competitor to the existing museums. I hope sincere
that the museums in this region will take up the glove and keep up there collection for the
future generations. Less is more,… in the smaller museums they are sincere and show the history
as it really was, something ‘Overlord’ could have learned a lesson.
The third museum on our tour is the ‘Omaha Beach Memorial
Museum, Musée Omaha 6 Juin 1944'
at St-Laurent-sur-Mer (see picture below).
show are also uniforms, pictures and weapons. In comparison with
other greater museums it gives not that much extra, but it is a
sincere museum. A while ago, the museums LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle
Personel) was restored and placed in a sort of window-shop. Of the three museum with Omaha
Beach as a theme, this is the best.
An M4 Sherman at the Musée Omaha 6 Juin
The fourth, 'Musée D-Day, Omaha'
is located just on the edge of Vierville-sur-Mer, towards Pointe-du-Hoc.
The objects are displayed in a large Nissenhut, but it is the larger objects
that are laying outside that are worth the visit. But it is left to the
elements are slowly decaying. Noticeable are the LCVP’s that are fast
rotting away. Despite the decline of the exhibition, the owners are placing
still new found objects, such as two guns salvaged from the French Chacal'
(on display from 2010).
In the Nissenhut it is more then full, and there is no room to bring in new objects,
and that is a reason that a First visit is also the last one. My first visit was in 1995,
and my second (and probably my last) in 1915, because nothing had changed, except maybe
the dust, there is more of it now. There is only one object that has some provenance,
a German ‘Enigma’ code machine. The exhibition looks a bit like the 'Overlord Museum'
in Colleville-sur-Mer, everything is thrown together and it is a puzzle what you are
looking at and where the objects were obtained.
In decline,…. Two LCVP's at 'Musée D-Day, Omaha',
(top, in 2010 and below in 2015)
The 'Musée D-Day, Omaha' is also responsible for
the restoration of a small section of a Mulberry Harbour that can be found just
outside Vierville, near 'Exit DOG-1'.
POINTE DU RAZ DE LA PERCÉE
A couple of kilometers out of Vierville, on the D514, there
is a small road on the right side of the road. This leads to a
cliff called Pointe de Raz de la Percée. Halfway this road,
there is on the left a marker as a remembrance for one of the
first temporarily airstrips, Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) A1.
From this field operated the 366th Fighter Group (more on the construction of an ALG, click; HERE). At the end
of the road is barely room to park a car, but with some
improvisation you will manage it. From this spot runs a small
hiking path to the right (eastwards) to a former German radar
post. Unfortunately, the path is in a bad state and you will
need a machete, because the path ends in a small bush.
Monument for ALG.A1, right; a piece of the
Just before you enter this bush, you notice a 'tobruk' bunker on the right.
Halfway in the bush to the right you can see, in the field, a
last remnant of a Würtzburg radar. Because of the overgrowth
there is little left to be found of this old German
Kriegsmarine side. This hike is only worth to them who wants
to visit every aspect of Omaha Beach.
On the next page we head for
Pointe du Hoc en
on the gun of Pointe du Hoc