Pointe du Hoc, France
Ninth Air Force Bombers above Pointe du Hoc just after they dropped their bombs.
Courtesy of the US Government this photo is Public Domain, Link
Pointe du Hoc, France
Pointe du Hoc is a cliff of thirthy mtrs high along the coast of Normandy in Northern France. It is situated between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.
The German Army build heavily fortified concrete casements connected to each other with trenches, tunnels and machine gun positions all around the area.
And then you had the six 155mm cannons with a range of almost 2.3 km that could reach Omaha beach at one side and Utah beach at the other side. But the Germans had positioned their weapons for a inland assault. There were around 200 German soldiers, 125 infantry and 85 artillery men, to defend the Point.
The Allied forces started to bomb Pointe du Hoc since may and they increased the raids during the last three days and nights before the invasion. During D-Day the USS Texas bombarded the cliff and also 18 medium bombers of the Ninth Air Force (see photo on top).
At 06.30 hours on june 6th 1944 225 US Rangers should be landing at Pointe du Hoc under commanding Officer Lt. Col. Rudders. But they were 3 miles of course from their main target with their landing crafts. Rudders lost 3 landing crafts before they reached the coast. 2 Sank because of the rough weather and high seas and one sank because to 20mm fire. So 35 minutes later then was planned they set foot on shore at Pointe du Hoc under heavily enemy fire that after the bombings could reenter their positions due do the time they get between the bombing and the landing of the US Rangers. The main force of the US Rangers was planned for landing at 07.00 hours but they didn't get the signal from Rudders so they head for Omaha Beach to land there. So Lt. Col. Rudders and his Rangers were on their own to get to the top of Pointe du Hoc. 35 meters high with on top the Germans. But they reached the top only to find out that the six 155mm cannons of the Germans had been removed from Pointe du Hoc to another place. Rudders split up his rangers. One group was send out to find the cannons and another group stayed on Pointe du Hoc to defend it. The Rangers located the cannons and destroyed them. After two days of defending Pointe du Hoc from German counter attacks, five times in totall, they were finally relieved by the 5th Ranger Battalion. From the 225 US Rangers that started the attack on Pointe du Hoc only 90 did survive.
One of the fortified concrete casements that was set up to defend Pointe du Hoc
After more then seventy years you still see the bomb craters of the Allied attacks. It is a wonder that somebody could survive in that hell. Pointe du Hoc looks more as a moon landscape but the reality is it's just a very small piece of land that's called Pointe du Hoc.
Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument