A visit to the Invasion Beaches and my tribute to the men and women who landed on those beaches. Many did not make it.
In 2019 we traveled to Europe. Included in the itinerary was a visit to the Normandy Landing beaches. Guided by a very competent guide, we saw and walked on Juno, Sword and Gold beaches. What I saw there stunned me and for the first time I understood the shear horror of those landings. I understood the blind courage required to leap out of the landing craft into the ice cold sea and wade ashore into a hail of bullets. Come with me on a personal trip to those beaches.
Phoenix Bridge: Allied Commandos were instructed to take this bridge at all costs. Three gliders landed nearby and then according to the tour guide three soldiers stormed across the bridge to silence a machine gun nest at the other end.
You can get an idea of just how long that bridge is.
I asked the guide if the bridge was wider in those days but he said, “Narrower.”
I cannot imagine storming a machine gun down a narrow alley of steel and hard road surface.
I have no idea how they survived that crazy run.
The landing craft were mainly wood with the front door being steel and the soldiers packed together shoulder to shoulder inside.
On an aside note, this is the landing craft that was used during the filming of “Saving Private Ryan”.
The tide was out when I was there so the run was longer than during the invasion but as you can see that there is no cover whatsoever.
The guns were positioned to fire directly along the beaches, not down them. There was thus no way of a soldier further down the beach from evading or stopping the the fire.
There are memorials all along the beach.