Above the dunes of Utah Beach looking eastward.
"We'll start the war from here" U.S. Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
On the westernmost parts of the Normandy coastline lies Utah Beach. The allies landed there on June 6th 1944 at 0630 hour. Their objective was to secure a beachhead on the Cotentin Peninsula, the location of important port facilities at Cherbourg 36 miles away. Cherbourg would allow the allies long term succession if they were able to overtake the German occupied area. The US 4th Infantry division would be tasked with the harrowing experience of having to navigate these shorelines. The above mentioned quote from General Roosevelt was in response to the U.S. landing one mile away from their original destination. This would actually work in favor of the US, as heavy German artillery was stationed at their original landing point.
What I remember most about this specific beach was how narrow it was. It reminded me a lot of the beaches in Mantoloking, New Jersey, when the tides were all the way up. There wasn't much room, if any at all to explore. These dunes and the low lying areas behind them, made the German fortifications scarce compared to Omaha Beach, because of the flooding that they had caused. Of the nearly 23,250 American soldiers to have landed there, 197 of them were killed while 67 of them were reported missing. I had visited the beach on a very ominous day in February, as their were barely any other people around and the skies had transitioned from a bright blue, to a dark grey.
Entrance to Utah Beach. Utah Beach looking towards the North.
Utah Beach looking due East. Can you imagine what this shoreline looked like at the time of the invasion? Utah Beach looking towards the South.
Two of my more interesting finds at this location would be a 50mm anti-tank gun in its casemate on the roof of a German shelter and a hedgehog. The 50-mm antitank gun which was stationed behind the dunes but pointed at the shoreline, fired armor-piercing shells, high-explosive shells, and armor-piercing 40 shot. The hedgehog was used to pierce the bottom of landing craft, disabling them and allowing German machine gunners from the cliffs above at Omaha Beach to easily finish them off.
50mm anti-tank gun in its casemate on the roof of a German shelter. Hedgehog defense piece.
While the bloody shores of Omaha beach had still awaited me, I caught a slight taste of what these brave soldiers had to endure during the early summer morning of June 6th, 1944. (To see photos of Utah beach during the invasion, check out this history link by clicking: HERE)
To the officers and sailors of the United States Navy, whose competence, courage and sacrifice enabled operation overlord. The greatest amphibious invasion in history. Their selfless cause was to destroy tyranny and restore freedom and self determination. The called will never be forgotten; The veteran will ever be honored. In grateful appreciation, the Naval Order of the United States.
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Continue to part 3 of my 5 part series describing the the battle at Pointe du Hoc by clicking the link here: HERE
If you're just joining me, the first part of this 5 part series covering my travels to Normandy, France in February of 2018 can be found by clicking the link: HERE
To browse my current inventory of photography prints, click the link: HERE
Blogs About Life Experiences | Beaches of Normandy France | Travel Blog France | Utah Beach | US 4th Infantry Division | Fine Art Photography Print | Normandy 1944