The most impressive monument for the killed German
soldiers is the war cemetery near the village La Cambe, some 5 kilometers south
of Grandcamp-Maisy (23
kilometers from Bayeux on the N13, heading to Carentan).
It was originally intended as a combined American and German cemetery.
However, in 1947 the American soldiers were reburied at
St-Laurent or were sent back to the USA. The following year
the British and French war grave organisations collected and
brought the German dead to La Cambe and the other five
cemeteries. The Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge was established
to look after the graves. The work was and is manly done by
schoolchildren and students. The Allied could take an example
of this. Young people are here confronted with the uselessness
of war, a lesson to future generations.
Spread over the terrain stand little groups of black stone
crosses, to symbolise the 'comradeship in to death'. A total
of 21.200 death Germans are buried here, out of which 296 in a
mass grave (a hill at the center of the terrain). The hill can be
climbed for a view over the cemetery. It is quite a contrast
in comparison with the Allied war cemeteries. It is very sober and robust,
and that gives the visitor a heaviness to the heart and he
wishes: 'THIS NEVER AGAIN'.
German soldiers buried at La Cambe
(killed on June 6th, 1944)
Probably the most visited grave at La Cambe is that of the German tank
commander Michael Wittmann. This tank-ace became a legend when he singlehandedly
fought against a British unit in Villers-Bocage on June 13, 1944. On August 8, 1944,
Wittmann and his crew were killed in their Tigertank. They where buried next to the road
near Gaumesnil. In 1983 the remains of the men were found and reburied at La Cambe in
lot 47, row 3, grave 120.
Probably the most
visited grave at La Cambe, that of Michael Wittmann
For the complete story on Wittmann
OTHER GERMAN WAR CEMETERIES IN
Champigny-St André, between Evreux and Dreux,
Huisnes-sur-Mer, near Mont St Michel, 11.956
Marigny-la-Chappelle, near St Lô, 11.169
Orglandes, near Valognes, 10.152 graves
St Désir-de-Lisieux, 3.735 graves
In these six war cemeteries about 100.000
dead Germans found their last resting place.
The German cemetery of Orglandes
The German cemetery of Orglandes, a 10 kilometer west of Ste-Mère-Église on the
D 24 (and 10km south of Valognes) was built between 1959 and 1961. Initially this
cemetery was a place where American and German victims of the Allied advance to Cherbourg were buried. But
in 1945 the American victims were reburied in American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer or transferred back to America.
In the cemetery of Orglandes remained 7358 German victims, in later years supplemented by the French burial service, until the present
number of 10,152.
Also on the cemeteries of the Commonwealth War Gravesare Germans buried
Bayeux: 466 graves
Tilly-sur-Seulles: 232 graves
Fontenay-le-Pesnel: 59 graves
Manvieu-Cheux: 556 graves
Brouary: 18 graves
Délivrande, Douvres: 180 graves
Ranville: 322 graves
The Germans lost in Normandy 450.000 men, 240.000 death
and wounded (another 120.000 taken prisoner).... Something to think
Normandy Victory Museum
In Catz a new museum has risen from the ashes of the defunct 'Normandy Tank Museum, A10'.
In the spring of 2017, the 'Normandy Victory Museum' was opened at this spot. Catz can be found at the
D974 between Isigny-sur-Mer and Carentan. What has remained from
the previous museum, is the possibility of a ride on the outside terrain with an armored vehicle
(39 € for 10 minutes).
One of the first eye-catchers is a life-size model of a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber,...
it appears that this is entirely made of wood.
The model of the P-47 Thunderbolt
was still in 'build-up' in 2017
Upon arrival there is an arrangement of 'devices' with one can fly
or drive virtual (10 minutes for 25 €). In 2018 the entrance fee was 9 € for adults
(children under 17, 5 €, under 7 free). The whole setup is that this is a museum that
intends to stay. In the museum is a number of large dioramas who have been decorated in with the usual
manequines in uniform around vehicles or guns. Perhaps the finest diorama is a scale-built
bunker. What is striking is that there is not the usual ‘war year’ music sounds from loudspeakers as in other museums.
One of the beautiful dioramas
The lack of music is compensated with sound effects of explosions and machine gun fire
(which can cause anxiety for very young children). The display cases are full of collections of helmets, equipment, weapons, ammunition, etc. What will appeal to many in this museum,
is that one can handle (replica) weapons, such as an MG42, M1 carbine, or a MP 40. You can also fit different helmets in this museum. There is a small cinema room
which has wooden kitchen chairs and of which the sound system is very poor.
With the StG 44 Sturmgewehr, and a striking tractor
The last piece of the museum has been created with display cases of archelogical finds,
even recently from this year. This runs from
helmets to even a flamethrower. If there is already a downside about it
Victory Museum, then the lack of a theme,
or any explanation where some exhibited items come from, or to whom they originally belonged.
But the museum is still young, and under construction. Very important is the relaxed atmosphere and the extremely friendly people 'behind the counter'. There is a nice store,
but not with really spectacular things. The Victory Museum
is reminiscent of the 'storage depot' Overlord Museum in Colleville-sur-Mer, however
at ‘Overlord’ they could do with a smile to the visitor, and stop putting the exhibitions behind glas! Click on the picture below and
At the Victory Museum there is it often ‘hands on’ and there is still room for temporary exhibitions, which makes visitors willing to return.
continue the trip towards Utah Beach