Our next stop was Pointe du Hoc. The area had not been cleaned up after the war, so it still looked like there had been large bombardments there.
It was a pity that we couldn’t visit the fire-control bunker on the Pointe self. It was closed because there was a chance that the cliff would crumble off.
Pointe du Hoc is a 30 m high chalk-cliff and it ends in the sea. The Germans had made an artillery battery under the open sky with 6 guns forming a circle of defense. They could shoot in any direction with accompaniment from a fire-control bunker on the edge of the cliff. The range was approximately 20 km. The Germans still started with building casemates, but they weren’t finished until June 1944.
The 2nd Ranger Battalion under command of Colonel James Rudder would run onto this fortification. An aerial bombardment and shelling from the boats on this fortification prepared on the 5th of June for the attack on the 6th. At 7:10 AM, 225 Rangers landed at the foot of the cliff. The assault was more difficult than expected and for 48 hours the situation was undecided as 135 of the 225 Rangers were seriously wounded or killed in action. At the end of the battle the Rangers received help from a nearby destroyer, which moved in to fire at close range. The Rangers were then able to climb the cliff and finally get the victory.
The Rangers then noticed that the big guns had been moved and replaced with wooden shelves. The guns turned out to be mounted in an orchard several kilometers away.
This terrain is in basically the same state as it was after the battle. The bodies of the Americans and Germans lie still in the ground below the place were they died.