On the coast of Normandy there is a place called Pointe du Hoc, a 30 m high cliff, the highest point between Omaha and Utah beaches in the north of France. In 1944 it was part of the biggest sea invasion in history. During the WW2 planning of the assault on Nazi-captured France; Allied commanders saw the big coastal guns at Pointe du Hoc. There were six 155 mm cannons in heavy armored bunkers, that could be dangerous to Allied ships. Allied planes from British airstrips, heavily bombed Pointe du Hoc during air raids, however the artillery guns were barely damaged from the air strikes.
It was decided that the Army Rangers would take possession of Point du Hoc. During the assault of Omaha and Utah beaches, the US Army Rangers climbed the 100-foot cliffs and seized the German artillery pieces to stop the Germans firing on the landing troops of Americans and Omaha and Utah beaches. The rangers put their lives on the line to successfully secure Point du Hoc and stop the Germans from firing on the landing American troops at Omaha and Utah beaches.
We began by watching a short video of interviews of some of the rangers whose job it was to secure Pointe du Hoc, it was pretty sad to listen to their stories and the friends they lost. We then walked to the cliff top, which had craters everywhere from bombs being dropped.
One of the many craters dug by the bombs dropped around Point du Hoc.
On D-day the Americans fired grapples with rope ladders and scaled the cliffs, where they then had to climb barbed wire and fight the Germans for control, with heavy casualties. There is still barbed wire on the cliff tops. How they made it up those cliffs under fire is remarkable.
Left over barbed wire that lines the top of the cliffs at Point du Hoc to stop the Allied forces from gaining control in Normandy.
We walked around to the German command post, where you can go in and have a look. In the photo you can see Max, Tristan and Josh looking out. The purpose of it was to protect from the allied attack while providing a safer way to return fire.
Inside the firing station H636a of the German battery at Point du Hoc
The WW2 Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument is found on a cliff side, eight miles west of the Normandy American Cemetery and looks out on the Omaha Beach in France. It was erected by the French to honor the American Second Ranger Battalion who under the orders of Lt. Col. James E. Rudder, secured Pointe du Hoc for the allies.
The ranger monument at Point du Hoc commemorating Lt. Col. James Rudder and his men taking the German gun point.
The remains of a German gun pit at Point du Hoc, the rangers found the six guns missing but after searching they were later located camouflaged in a nearby lane.
Tourist Information Point du Hoc
- 1st January – 14th April – open 9 am – 5 pm
- 15th April – 15th September – open 9 am – 6 pm
- 16th September – 31st December – open 9 am – 5 pm
Researched and written by Ava
Updated January 2018