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Omaha Beach, Normandy France

Omaha, commonly known as Omaha Beach, was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. ‘Omaha’ refers to a section of the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel 8 kilometers (5 mi) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary and an estimated 150-foot (45 m) tall cliffs. Landings here were necessary to link the British landings to the east at Gold with the American landing to the west at Utah, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guard, with contributions from the British, Canadian, and Free French navies.

The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of eight kilometres (4.97 miles) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah. Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division. Of the 12,020 men of the division, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53-kilometer (33 mi) front. The German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line, and the defences were mainly deployed in strongpoints along the coast. The untested American 29th Infantry Division, along with nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers redirected from Pointe du Hoc, assaulted the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.

Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared. Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequent delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.

Images of Omaha Beach

Normandy American Cemetery

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 as the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,385 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

The memorial consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing large maps and narratives of the military operations; at the center is the bronze statue, “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” An orientation table overlooking the beach depicts the landings in Normandy. Facing west at the memorial, one sees in the foreground the reflecting pool; beyond is the burial area with a circular chapel and, at the far end, granite statues representing the United States and France.

Address: 14710, Colleville-sur-Mer, France

Overlord Museum

Close to the American landing beach of Omaha Beach and facing the roundabout access the American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer , Overlord Museum traces the period of the Allied landings until the liberation of Paris, the using unprecedented collection largely found on Norman soil and made ​​for over 40 years by a witness and actor of the time of reconstruction of Normandy. From objects of soldiers to bigger tanks of the era, 6 opposing armies in Normandy are presented through scenes reconstructed scale 1 with breathtaking realism and implementing more than 35 vehicles, tanks and guns all belligerents

http://www.overlordmuseum.com

Musée Mémorial d’Omaha beach

The museum is located on Omaha Beach itself where the American naval landing took place on June 6 called Bloody Omaha. The 1200m² Omaha Beach Memorial Museum was founded in memory of all those young men who died in 1944 and whose memory we are duty bound to keep, that future generations may never forget at what cost our freedom came.

The 1200m² museum showcases an important collection of uniforms, vehicles, personal objects, arms, weapons. Many reconsitutions of Amercian and German service life dive you into the heart of the D-day story permitting a peep into the daily lives of all those who landed to liberate us and to whom we owe our profound respect. Superb archival photographs and explanatory notes on the landing at Omaha. Thematic signs depicting all the phases of the period of the occupation until the landing. At the end of the visit a film featuring veteran’s testimonies, will guide you through the story of the D-day landing on Omaha and Point du Hoc.

All various items belonging to soldiers, many of which are personal and were in everyday use. The Museum Collection has been richly endowed and is constantly evolving. The museum is suitable for children.

http://www.musee-memorial-omaha.com

Les Braves Monument

Les Braves (The Braves) is a sculpture in tribute to the Allies that landed on Omaha beach. The sculpture is located in Vierville-sur-Mer on Omaha beach. The sculpture was created by Anilore Banon and consists of three elements.

The wings of hope
So that the spirit which carried these men on June 6th 1944 continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to change the future.

Rise, Freedom!
So that the example of those who rose against barbarity, helps us remain standing strong against all forms of inhumanity.

The Wings of Fraternity
So that this surge of brotherhood always reminds us of our responsibility towards others as well as ourselves. On June 6th 1944 these men were more than soldiers, they were our brothers.

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